With such a vast coastline and so many warm days, it’s hardly surprising that sports and athletic outdoor activities are a common component in the Australian lifestyle.
Aussies like to play and watch a variety of sports, and can boast of great individual sportsmen and women native to Australia.
The Australian Open Tennis Tournament draws a worldwide television audience and full stadiums to watch top-ranked players compete in this Grand Slam event each January. Australia has an enviable record of tennis greats: Evonne Goolagong Cawley, of Aboriginal decent and the winner of seven grand slams stands alongside Lleyton Hewitt, the youngest ever player to be crowned #1 in the world, and tennis legends Rod Laver and Ken Rosewall, winners of 11 and 12 grand slams respectively.
Aussie children take to the water in pools and at the beach almost as soon as they can walk! And it’s these water-babies who rule the world of competitive surfing. Australia’s Mark Richards has four world titles in the sport. Australian-born swimmers have come away from the Olympics with multiple gold medals: Dawn Frasier is the only swimmer in the world to win the same event at three consecutive Olympic Games, Shane Gould is a hero for his three wins – each in world record times, and the media favourite Ian “the Thorpedo” Thorpe, who broke four world records in as many days was just 14 years old when he dived into the record books as the youngest male swimmer to represent Australia.
The country is dotted with world-class golf courses, where citizen-duffers can sharpen their games and tourists often enjoy a day on the links. Competition brought out the best in the professional golfers who learned the game in their native Australia – Greg Norman, Bruce Devlin, and on the women’s tour Jan Stephenson.
As a nation, Australia has competed in international events including the Olympics and Paralympics, the Commonwealth Games, and the World Cup. The country has national teams in soccer, basketball, hockey, netball, rugby, softball, and water polo. These teams draw huge crowds to their competitions and are loyally followed on television. Horse racing is wildly popular as well, and famous racehorses of Australian turf – Phar Lap, Cardigan Bay, and Carbine – have historic wins that were celebrated throughout Australia.
The warm climate, stunning scenery and long coastlines of sandy beaches provide ideal conditions for sports and sports fans in Australia, and citizens take full advantage of those opportunities every day.