A quarter of the population of Australians over the age of 15 years old actively participate in sports.
This is good news for the country, since Australians struggle with poor eating habits and weight issues much like other developed countries of the world. Australians have the highest rates of skin cancer in the world, and one of the highest proportions of obesity. Many Aussies are also smokers, and smoking is the largest preventable cause of death and disease. The younger generation is more health-aware and making significant lifestyle changes that will benefit them and help to change these dynamics.
Australians have always loved sport, and the country has strong international teams in cricket, field hockey, netball, rugby and soccer. They are also contenders in cycling, rowing and swimming, having been consistently in the top five medal winners at the World Championships and Olympics since 2000. Australian citizens have been the second most prolific Olympic swimming medal winners in history, with greats in the sport like Shane Gould, Ian Thorpe, and Dawn Fraser among the most well-known.
Australian children have many sports icons to look up to: tennis greats Rod Laver, Ken Rosewall, Evonne Goolagong and Margaret Court, sprinters Cathy Freeman and Betty Cuthbert, golfers Greg Norman and Karrie Webb, cricketers Donald Bradman and Shane Warne. Australia produced three-time Formula One World Champion Jack Brabham, five-time motorcycle Grand Prix World Champion Mick Doohan, and famed cyclists Hubert Opperman and Cadel Evans.
Australia has participated in every summer Olympics in the modern era, and hosted the 1956 games in Melbourne and the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney. They’ve also played host to countless Commonwealth Games and many other international sporting events, such as the annual Australian Open tennis championships.
The temperate climate and hundreds of miles of ocean and beach make Australia perfectly suited for warm weather sport, training for elite athletes, and offer recreational opportunities for all the citizens. Children in Australia learn to swim at a very early age, and some of these water-babies become involved with competitive swimming, surfing, sailing and yachting as they grow older. Others simply begin a life-long enjoyment of the many pleasures provided by the abundant ocean and beach venues, and take part in a variety of available water recreation: swimming, wind surfing, para-sailing, deep sea diving, snorkeling and body surfing. The annual Hobart Yacht Race attracts intense interest throughout the country, and all forms of boating and kayaking are very popular down under. Fun and recreation in the sun is an important element woven into the fabric of daily life in Australia.