Razzle Dazzle Olympics: Durack and Wylie, first women to compete for Australia
She beat Mina in the Stockholm dash by seconds, but Mina went on to fame!
ADAPTED BY FRANK MORRIS
Mina Wylie and Fanny Durack were the first women to compete for Australia at the Stockholm Olympics Games in 1912. But Fanny notched a mark in sporting history when she became the first ever women Olympics swimming champion.
Fanny won the Gold medal in the 100 metres freestyle, the only women’s event held.
In the 100 metres pool, built specifically for the Games in Stockholm Harbour, she clocked 1min. 22.2 sec when defeating fellow Australian Mina Wylie, her greatest rival, by 3.2 sec.
Previously she won a heat, breaking the World record held by Daisy Curwen, from England, by 0.8sec. Swimming 1min 16.2secs in 1915, Fanny retained that record for eight years.
Fanny, who hailed from Sydney’s Haymarket, broke twelve World record between 1912 and 1918 in distances ranging from 100 metres to one mile. She dominated women’s swimming for a longer period than anyone else.
Her best times were: 100 yards 1 min 06 sec, 100 metres 1min 16.2 sec; 220 yards 2 min 56 sec; 300 metres 4 min 43.6 sec; and one mile 26min 08.sec.
Fanny extensively promoted women’s swimming with world tours, demonstration the trudge and the Australian crawl stroke. She took on and beat all comers the world over for eight years in the formative stages of women’s swimming.
She was honoured in the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1967. She was born in 1894 and died in 1956.
Coached by her father at his Coogee Baths, Mina first gained recognition at Australia’s inaugural Ladies Championship, Brisbane. In 1903, she won the Championship for the 60 yards dash for aged 13 years.
Two years later she held the Australian record for 100 yards in the then amazing time of
1min 5 secs. Mina maintained her top status in Australian swimming over many years, becoming adept at the various strokes.
In 1920, she met Fanny Durack in a 100 yards event at Sydney Domain Baths, and came out a clear winner. She had learnt a few things since going down to Durack at the Stockholm Games.
Mina, in 1922, held the Australian Championship in all styles of swimming. But Fanny became the first Aussie to receive the highest monument – the Royal Life Saving Society Award.
In 1974, Mina was honoured by gaining a place in the International Hall of Fame. It’s been 100 years since Mina Wylie, from Coogee, NSW, and Fanny Durack won right to swim.
The two women had an exhibition, including photos, memorabilia, Mina’s silver medal and one of her swimming costumes which was held at Maroubra, NSW.
Mina was born in 1891 and died in 1984.
Dunk Gray was Australia’s
first Olympic cycling
champion. Dunk won a
Gold medal in the 1000m
at the 1932 Los Angeles
Games. He also competed
at the historic 1936 Berlin
Olympics Games. He won the
1000m sprint at the 1938
Empire Games, Sydney.
Born in 1906; died 1996.
The best rider he’s ever
ridden against? He replied:
Aries Van Ville, Holland.
Razzle Dazzle Olympics: Snowy Baker – boxing champ who became a film star
After the 1908 Games he became an international celebrity!
ADAPTED BY FRANK MORRIS
His name is Reginald Leslie “Snowy” Baker – and he is the greatest sportsman in the world. And that’s indisputably so.
Baker proved his class in world competition as a champion boxer, footballer, swimmer, sculler, diver, gymnast and horseman.
He won Australian amateur boxing championships
in several divisions. At the 1908 London Games he won the silver medal in the middleweight boxing division, losing a disputed division to the Englishman, J.W.H.T Douglas. Douglas later went on to become captain of the cricket team.
In Rugby Union he was only 16 when he played half-back for NSW in 1900. The following year he gained his Australian cap against England.
Between 1901 and 1906 he excelled in swimming, water polo, diving and rowing and winning many championships in individual and team events.
With the NSW Lancers he was outstanding in military competitions, such as horseback wrestling and tent pegging.
Baker attended Crown Street Public School in Surry Hills. He was a quadruple blue at Sydney University – cricket, rowing, athletics and football.
After the 1908 Olympics Games, he became an international celebrity. He toured extensively throughout Europe, successfully competing and demonstrating in many sports – and horseback riding.
Later, he became a successful entrepreneur and film star in Australia and America.
Snowy Baker will always be one of this country’s most legendary sporting figures. Baker was born in 1884 and died in 1953.
Coming: For the next few weeks, starting on July 27, you can switch over to the Nine Network or Foxtel, and enjoy the 2012 London Olympics Games. On the other hand, you can also join Grand Years and take part in the Olympics Games all ready run.