Aboriginal Sport Heroes Essay Research Paper Despite

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Aboriginal Sport Heroes Essay, Research Paper Despite their small numbers, Aborigines have produced some of Australia s most famous sporting champions. Names such as Catherine Freeman, Evonne Goolagong-Cawley, Lionel Rose, Arthur Beetson and the Ella brothers have become legends. Whether it be in league, hockey, tennis or even squash there have been great contributions made by the either Aborigines or Torres Strait Islanders. And it s not only their successes that make their contributions to sport significant, but also how they were able to make those successes under the conditions and opportunities that were available to them. For every Aborigine who makes it to the top, there are thousands who could have made it but never had the opportunity. Many Aborigines have had to

compete on uneven playing fields without a sporting chance, having to overcome the hurdles of racism and poverty. The first mention of an Aboriginal sportsman was in 1835 when Shinney played cricket in Hobart Town. Upon his death, he was beheaded and his head was sent to an Irish museum for preservation. However, recent agitation by Tasmanian Aborigines resulted in his remains being returned and being cremated ceremonially in 1992. Sport flourished when there was relative freedom from legislative control, however so did genocide. Aborigines began to need protection from the murderous impulses from the settlers. Although today Aborigines don t need to worry about genocide, many still are subject to course racism and on-field sledging. As time went on, Aborigines discovered their

prowess in sport, particularly in boxing, football and running. It gave them a passport to the white man s world, giving them respect and friendship. Cathy Freeman is probably the most distinguished Aboriginal sports person of all time. At the age of sixteen, she won the gold medal at the Commonwealth Games as part of the 4×100m relay team. In 1992 she became the first Aboriginal track and field athlete to represent Australia at an Olympic Games. In 1994 she won double gold in the 200m and 400m events at the Commonwealth Games. In 1996 she became the first Australian woman to run the 400m under 50sec, and then at the Atlanta Olympics she became the sixth fastest woman to ever run the 400m. She then went on to win back-to-back world championships in 1997 and 1999. However she is

not just a fast runner. In 1990 she was awarded the Young Australian of the Year and then in 1998 she was awarded the Australian of the Year becoming the first person to receive both awards. She has become an idol for many Aborigines, showing them what determination can achieve and giving them hope. Along with Cathy Freeman, Evonne Goolagong-Cawley has become one of Australia s most successful sportswomen and Aboriginal sports person. Starting off with no shoes, equipment or training, Evonne found it very difficult to get into tennis. However after much persistence, she was finally noticed and went on with much success. Her records include seventeen state titles, four Australian singles championships, the French Open, the Italian Open, the South African Open and two -times

Wimbledon singles titles. Rugby Union has seen three of their finest players come from the one family. Garry, Glenn and Mark Ella were of Aboriginal descent. All three brothers played for the Australian Schoolboy s Team in 1977-78, which was known to be the greatest school side to have ever existed. They also played for the Randwick Club in which they were key members of several premierships. Mark Ella is still noted as being the most celebrated Australian rugby player in history, being the only Australian to be inducted into the International Rugby Hall of Fame. He played twenty-three games for NSW and a further twenty-six for Australia, captaining his last nine. In 1983 he was awarded the Young Australian of the Year to reward his dedication and determination that he invested