Sporting Legend Susie O'Neill honoured by Australia Post

12 October 2012

Champion Australian swimmer, Susie O'Neill OAM is being honoured in a new stamp issue, which is part of Australia Post's Australian Legends program. Created in partnership with the Sport Australia Hall of Fame, the stamp issue honours an outstanding Australian athlete who has made a significant contribution to our sporting culture.

Since its founding in 1985, the Sport Australia Hall of Fame has inducted more than 500 individuals, each year elevating one Member to Legend. This year Susie O'Neill, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2002, joins a select group of 33 athletes, becoming the Sport Australia Hall of Fame Legend.

There are two domestic base-rate (60c) stamps, one featuring a portrait of Susie O'Neill in her current role as sports commentator. The second stamp shows O'Neill swimming in the 200-metres butterfly final at the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000.

O'Neill says of the stamp issue: "I am delighted to be honoured by Australia Post in this way. I hope these stamps inspire young athletes to pursue their dreams of sporting excellence."

Susie O'Neill was a dominant force in the pool throughout the 1990s. She holds 35 Australian titles, eight Olympic medals and a raft of international victories.

Susie's international swimming career was launched at the 1990 Commonwealth Games, where at just 16 years of age she won both gold and silver in the pool. At the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur her stellar performance resulted in eight medals, six of which were gold. The six at a single Commonwealth Games remains a record, shared with Ian Thorpe since 2002.

The 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona were the first Olympics at which Susie competed. Her performance earned her a bronze medal in the 200-metres butterfly. In Atlanta, four years later, she took home gold in this event, also winning silver and bronze medals.

Her Olympic reputation soared at Sydney in 2000, when she took her total Olympic medal count to eight, securing one gold medal for the 200-metres freestyle, and three silver medals for the 200-metres butterfly, the 4 x 100-metres medley relay and the 4 x 200-metres freestyle relay. This made Susie the first Australian woman to win Olympic gold in the pool in successive Olympics since Dawn Fraser.

It was at the trials for the Sydney Olympics that this remarkable swimmer etched her name in sporting history by breaking the world record in the women's 200-metres butterfly, which had been set by the USA's Mary T Meagher 19 years earlier.

Susie O'Neill has made a huge contribution to Australian sport and has been recognised through a range of honours, one of which was receiving the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in 1997.

The 2012 Sporting Legends stamps and products were designed by Jo Muré of the Australia Post Design Studio. They feature photographs by Tarsha Hosking (portrait) and Adam Pretty/Getty Images (swimming). The products include a first day cover, stamp pack and maxicard set of two. The stamps and associated products are available from participating Australia Post retail outlets, via mail order on 1800 331 794 and online at auspost.com.au/stamps from 12 October 2012 while stocks last.