Long may the green and gold shine! The top 10 sports moments in Australia’s history
Whether it’s beating England 5-0 in the Ashes or fighting like the Socceroos did at the 2006 World Cup, Australia is without doubt a great sports nation.
And with the Commonwealth Games soon to be another stage on which the green and gold will shine, there is no better time to look back at some of the country’s most memorable and inspiring moments of sport.
From classic cricket to the Tour de France and even an unexpected victory at the Winter Olympics, these are our top sport moments …
Legendary: John Aloisi celebrates victory over Japan in the group stages of the 2006 World Cup … an iconic moment for Socceroo
Kill the samurai
John Aloisi’s punishment against Uruguay in 2005 was the iconic image of Socceroos’ playoff win to qualify for a first World Cup final since 1974. But the 2006 group stage win over Japan was equally unforgettable. At 0-1 strikers Tim Cahill, Josh Kennedy and Aloisi came in. Two goals from Cahill and a late from Aloisi made history.
Speed skater Steven Bradbury struggled all his life to reach a final of the Winter Olympics, but he is more known for his opponents’ accident in Salt Lake City 2002. He headed to Australia’s first individual Winter Olympics gold when the other four finalists fell on the last turn.
Sliding to the finish: Steve Bradbury celebrates his unexpected win at the 2002 Winter Olympics
Everyone is Cathy
If Cathy Freeman felt the weight of a country’s expectations on her shoulders in Sydney 2000 after lighting the Olympic Opening Ceremony Flame, the skin-friendly hero didn’t show it as she kicked away in the last 400-meter turn. However, her relief when she paraded with the Aboriginal and Australian flags was clear and just as special as the race itself.
Nation’s sweetheart: Cathy Freeman made Australia proud with her multiple gold medals at Olympic and Commonwealth Games
Ian Thorpe’s special swimming in the Sydney 2000 4x100m freestyle relay – which the US had not lost since its introduction in 1964 – was special. Klim took the lead, Fydler and Kallus held on … then Thorpe. Fresh from 400 yards of gold, he gave a master class to rival Gary Hall Jr, giving up half a body length before flooding him when it came to the gold.
Moment of triumph: Ian Thorpe is jubilant after winning the 200m men’s freestyle final at the 2004 Olympics at the Olympic Aquatic Center in Athens
Going for Gold: Ian Thorpe’s brilliant career included some spectacular Olympic victories
David defeats Goliath
Australia II’s victory in the 1983 America’s Cup captured the nation’s imagination.
David defeated Goliath – the US – ending their 132 years of dominance.
The scenes at the Constitution Dock were inspiring when the John Bertrand ship docked with a skipper.
Prime Minister Bob Hawke famously stated, “Any boss who fires someone for not showing up today is a bum.”
Setting a new standard
Pat Cash was more than an underdog to beat Ivan Lendl’s No. 1 in the 1987 Wimbledon final.
Melbourne volleyball was expected to fold, but he declined and won in straight sets.
With his iconic plaid headband, Cash also became the first champion to enter the stands of the All England Club.
Tennis Champion: Pat Cash started the trend of climbing to the box after winning Wimbledon in 1987
Ball of the century
Shane Warne took 708 wickets in 145 career tests, but his first delivery in Ashes cricket at Old Trafford in 1993 has to be the most memorable. Mike Gatting had no idea when Warne threw his “looser” outer leg stump, turning it like a demon and cutting the top of the stump. Gatting was stunned. Fans are still amazed.
Cricketing Legend: Shane Warne’s first delivery in the 1993 Ashes was arguably his most memorable
The Don dominates
The greatest achievement of cricket’s best batsman cannot be called. Sir Donald Bradman’s 334, which failed to hit Headingley in 1930, was furious. He tore up the attack in England that won the previous Ashes series 4-1 and scored 309 runs in the opening day’s game – even with modern progress, no one has matched that feat.
The greatest batsman of all time: Sir Donald Bradman tore the English team apart in Ashes in 1930
Above the pack
Alex Jesaulenko’s 1970 ‘mark of the century’ was topped off by Leo Barry’s intrepid grasp in the 2005 AFL Grand Final that ended Sydney’s 72-year title drought. The fullback showed no attention to personal safety that threw itself into the pack and invented the pill – a decisive act for the swans and an exclamation point in a man-of-the-match effort.
Wrapping up the yellow jersey: Cadel Evans dazzled the crowd with a word of thanks in both French and English when he won the 2011 Tour de France
Cadel Evans captured the chances of winning the 2011 Tour de France. He reached the height of his sport through determination and deception, fighting the elements and politics that make the race such a race. Then he accepted his crown with class – a speech in French and then in English earned him admiration far beyond his home borders