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First Australian Olympic Medals 1896

First Australian Olympic Medals 1896

First Australian Olympic Medals 1896

The “First Australian Olympic Medals” were won during the 1896 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece. Officially known as the Games of the I Olympiad, it was the first international Olympic Games held in modern history. These medals were awarded to Edwin Flack (1873–1935) Australia’s first Olympian, and only representative in 1896, and the first Olympic champion in the 800 meters and the 1500 meters running events. As the Australian colonies had not yet federated, there was no Australian national anthem or uniform. Flack competed in his Melbourne Grammar School colors.

On the opening day of the Games, Flack won his first race in the first heat of the 800 meters run. On the second day, he won a first-place medal in the 1500 meters run, and on the fourth day of the Games, Flack won his second first-place medal in the 800 meters race. A day later Flack tied for a treble, in the marathon, even though he had never run or trained for the marathon distance.  Flack also competed in the tennis singles and doubles at the Athens Olympics. He placed third, but medals for third places were not yet awarded in 1896.

In 1896, a silver medal was awarded to the first-place winner 
In 1896, the silver medal was awarded to the first-place winner 

In the 1896 Summer Olympics,  first-place winners were given a silver medal, while runners-up received a copper medal. Retroactively, the IOC has converted these to gold and silver and awarded bronze medals to third-placed athletes.

Rank Nation Gold Silver Bronze Total
1 U.S. 11 7 2 20
2 Greece 10 17 19 46
3 Germany 6 5 2 13
4 France 5 4 2 11
5 Great Britain 2 3 2 7
6 Hungary 2 1 3 6
7 Austria 2 1 2 5
8 Australia 2 0 0 2
9 Denmark 1 2 3 6
10 Switzerland 1 2 0 3

Medal count of the 1896 Summer Olympics

First Australian Olympic Medals 1896

  • Title:               First Australian Olympic Medals
  • Year:               1896 Summer Olympics
  • Winner:          Edwin Harold “Teddy” Flack (1873 – 1935)
  • Medium:        Silver
  • Museum:        National Sports Museum

Highlights of the National Sports Museum


“The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part.”
– Pierre de Coubertin


Photo Credits: 1) JOM 2) Public Domain, Link


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