Australia has a long and illustrious history when it comes to creating runners of all distances. From sprinters to marathon runners, Australia has produced some of the most iconic athletes to have ever taken to the track or road. 

Peter Norman is one of the most famous Australian runners ever. Norman hailed from Coburg, Melbourne, in 1942 and first competed at an international level when he represented Australia at the 1962 Commonwealth Games. He won his first medal, a bronze, in the 4×110 yards relay at the 1966 Commonwealth Games in Jamaica. However, it was at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico that Norman became a household name.

Norman won Heat 6 of the 200m in a time of 20.17s, which was an Olympic record at the time. Had the online sports betting site Bet99 been around in those days, Norman would have been one of the favourites to win Olympic gold. Norman won Quarterfinal 2 in a time of 20.44s before finishing second in the Semifinal 1 in 20.22. The final saw Norman win the silver medal in an Australian record of 20.06s, which remains the fastest today.

Of course, the medal ceremony in this event where the famous 1968 Olympics Black Power Salute happened. Both champion Tommie Smith and third-place finish John Carlos raised a black-gloved fist during the playing of the American national anthem. Norman showed support for the cause by wearing a human rights badge on his jacket, something that did not sit comfortably with the Australian Olympic Committee at the time. However, he received a posthumous apology that acknowledged Norman’s bravery in standing up against racism.

One of the Greatest Marathon Runners of All Time

Steve Moneghetti began running in primary school but was not considered a good runner. He attempted to join Little Athletics, but they told Moneghetti’s father he was not wanted. Running was Moneghetti’s passion, and he continued running to the point he developed into an excellent endurance runner by the time he reached high school.

Moneghetti started as a 10,000-meter runner who finished fifth at the 1986 Commonwealth Games. He ran his first marathon at the same meeting and came away with the bronze medal. Moneghetti went on to win silver in the 1990 Commonwealth Games in Auckland before getting his hands on the gold at the 1994 games in Victoria. His last Commonwealth Games medal was bronze in 1998 in Kuala Lumpur in the 10,000 meters.

His last race representing Australia was at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Marathon. Moneghetti met some trouble in the middle of the race but recovered to finish tenth.

Running is still a major part of Moneghetti’s life.

2011 Falls Creek with Mona

Australia’s Only Sub-10 Second 100 Meter Sprinter

You have Moneghetti at one end of the running distance scale and Patrick Johnson at the other. Johnson is the current Oceanian and Australian record holder in the 100 meters with a lightning-fast time of 9.93 seconds. Johnson achieved this record time in Mito, Japan, in May 2003. After breaking through the sub-10-second barrier, Johnson became the first person not of African ancestry to achieve such a time. It made him the 17th fastest man in history and only the 38th person to run 100 meters sub-10-seconds.

Despite this incredible time, Johnson ended his professional career with a solitary medal to show for his efforts. He won bronze in the 4x100m relay at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester, United Kingdom.

Rohan Browning also broke the 10-second-barrier in January 2021. However, the +3.3 m/s tailwind means Browning’s run is not legal for record purposes. It is undoubtedly only a matter of time before Browning does join Johnson in the sub-10 second club because he ran a 10.01 at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, the fastest-ever time run by an Australian at the Olympics.

Photo by Mark Button see