Shirley Strickland

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Shirley Strickland was an Australian athlete; she won more Olympic medals than any other Australian in running sports.

Shirley was born, a farm girl, in 1925 – the second oldest of dive children.  The town of Pithara in Western Australia’s wheat belt had no idea of the talent they were about to nurture.

Yet she had pedigree: her father, Dave, has been an athlete: the only thing that had stopped him from taking part in the 1900 Olympics in Paris was the distance and the money that would have had to be spent to get him there.

Shirley would set the record straight for her family – and for Australia too.

Shirley Strickland’s early education was by correspondence. From 1934 to 1937 she attended the newly established local East Pithara School, winning a scholarship to attend Northam High School, where, in 1939, she won 47 out of 49 events as a schoolgirl athlete.

After high school she entered the University of Western Australia from where in 1946 she graduated with a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Physics.

In her spare time she lectured mathematics and physics to returned servicemen at Perth Technical College, played wing in the university hockey team and gained a reputation as an extremely gifted sprinter and hurdler.

A young Shirley Strickland
A young Shirley Strickland

Living on an isolated farm, Shirley Strickland received her early education by correspondence – but she did later go on to attend the Northam High School.

It was here that her promise as an athlete was first recognised – she won all but two of the 49 events that she entered while she was studying there.

The University of Western Australia was her next stop – she graduated from there in 1946 and went on to lecture in physics and mathematics at Perth Technical College.

While there she was the wing in the hockey team but what really marked her out was her ability as a hurdler and sprinter.

The former world professional sprint champion, Austin Robertson, coached her during her time at Perth.

As a result her 100m yards time went from 11.8 to 11 and she went on to win four Western Australian titles in 1947 – throwing in the shot put as a casual fifth. It was time to take things seriously.

Also Read:  Is this Bruce Lee Statue the Best Sports-related Monument in the World?

shirleystricklandaustraliangoldolympicathleteIn 1948 she took the national title in the 80m.  That gave her a ticket to the first post Second World War Summer Olympics in London where she competed in the 100m, 80m hurdles and took part in the 4×100 relay.

She came third in her solo events, taking silver with the team in the relay.

shirley20strickland203

The British Empire was on the wane but that did not stop her from taking three gold medals at the Games in 1950.  Following this up, she participated in the 1950 Helsinki games where a gold medal in the 80m hurdles beckoned – a world record time of 10.9 seconds.  She also collected silver and bronze in the 4x100m relay and the 100m hurdles.

Another world record was beaten in 1955 where she was times at 11.3 seconds for the 100m hurdles.  The Olympics of 1956 on home territory in Melbourne brought gold in both the 80m hurdles and the 4.100m relay.

Following her athletic career she became fully involved with athlete administration in the Olympic movement and participated in this role in the 1968 and 1976 Olympics in Mexico and Canada.  She was one of the torch bearers at the opening ceremony of the Summer Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia in 2000.

The following year she gained some notoriety when she sold off all her memorabilia, including her Olympic medals.

The collection was acquired by the MCG Museum in Melbourne, purchased but a group of business people who remained anonymous but who, like Shirley, wished to see her outstanding collection remain in Australia.

Shirley Strickland died on 16th February 2004 when she was found on her kitchen floor, but the coroner determined that she died on the evening of 11 February.

There was no full autopsy and the coroner said the cause of death was “unascertainable”, though “not inconsistent with natural causes”.

She was honoured with a state funeral.

1 COMMENT

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
1 Comment
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

America’s Largest Amateur League Shines in Baseball’s “Lost Season”

2020 will forever be remembered as baseball’s lost season. The sport was shattered due to the COVID-19 pandemic virus outbreak. Baseball fans were out of luck this summer as they were entirely restricted from attending any professional or semi-pro live games. Watching on television or live stream wasn’t much better.
Also Read:  Is this Bruce Lee Statue the Best Sports-related Monument in the World?
Most of the MLB season was cancelled including the pre-season, the much anticipated Iowa Field of Dreams game, Puerto Rico series, London Series and All...

IPL: Mumbai Indians Lose Season Opener

Mumbai Indians lost an Indian Premier League (IPL) opener for the 8th successive year following a 5-wicket loss to Chennai Super Kings. Having lost the first game of the season in the last 7 years, Mumbai might have thought this was their time, as they were on a 5-game winning run against CSK. However, ex Mumbai Indians player Ambati Rayudu and South African superstars Faf du Plessis and Lungi Ngidi ensured that it didn’t...

When Did Formula One Begin?

If you ask virtually anyone the world over a simple question – “What is Formula One” they will probably get the answer correct.  It’s a car race!  Even though that might be a very simple reply (a better answer would be it’s the highest class of international single-seater auto-racing!) there is another question that will probably stump them.  That question is “When did Formula One begin?”. In order to answer the question properly we need...

Stanley Cup Finals: Tampa Bay Lightning vs Dallas Stars

After nearly two months of play in the hub cities of Toronto and Edmonton, one more team, either the Tampa Bay Lightning or the Dallas Stars will have their bubble burst as the other emerges as the 2020 Stanley Cup Finals champions. The Stars won two games against the Lightning in the regular season, each in overtime (4-3 on December 19; 3-2 on January 27) The Lightning representing the Eastern Conference made it to the...

The Cleveland Browns Are Looking Up

The Cleveland Browns have a team that had a ton of questions this year. They came into the game against the Bengals unsure of how they were going to get their offense going. While the Bengals aren't at all a good defense, it's still hard to play those divisional games and win. The AFC North is known for brutally cold weather that makes it nearly impossible to stay sharp, yet they were sharp offensively....

The Case For Rocky Marciano

You wouldn't think, not even for a second, that you would have to defend a world champion boxer who retired with an unblemished record of 49-0 (43 KO's), but if it's Rocky Marciano we're talking about then yep, he needs to be defended. It's ridiculous, but true. Marciano seems to have as many naysayers as he does fans. "He was too small", "He never fought anybody in their prime", "He'd get killed today"; etc....

Fantasy Basketball: The Best Draft Pick Techniques You Should Know

Image Source Fantasy Basketball gives everyone the anticipation that keeps you up at night just to draft the ultimate fantasy basketball line-up. Your ultimate goal is to dominate any opponent all season. Sadly, not everyone has the skills and experience to win. Remember that if you are considering joining a fantasy basketball league, you need to consider some factors. Successful players and experts choose more than their favorite team or a player's value. Even if you...

2020 NBA Western Conference Finals: A Victor Emerges

The Los Angeles Lakers and the Denver Nuggets will meet for the second time in the NBA Western Conference Finals. The Lakers managed to breeze through Portland and Houston in the first two rounds, while Denver has proven themselves to be true underdogs, coming back from a 3-1 deficit against Utah and the L.A. Clippers. Will the Lakers blow past the Nuggets, or will Denver pull off another unimaginable moment in the playoffs?   Point Guard:...

Why Did the Clippers Fail in the NBA Playoffs?

Lets make one thing clear; the Nuggets won that series because they were a better team than the Clippers. They outplayed the Clippers in the NBA playoffs, plain and simple. Yes the Clippers did underperform, it was due to the Nuggets were elite. They were one of the hottest teams in the bubble and they've gotten it done. Jamal Murray has developed into an elite scorer, the Joker has kept up his elite play, and...

Leinster VS Ulster: Pro 14 Champions Final 2020

The annual Pro 14 tournament was wrapped up as the final whistle blew at The Aviva Stadium in Dublin this past weekend. Leinster reigned in as the Pro 14 Champions 2020 against an enthusiastic Ulster team, winning 27-5, to become the first side ever to win three consecutive Pro 14 titles. The Dublin side held their remarkable reputation as the most successful provincial Irish rugby sides following their victory on Saturday, and have once again...

Social Connect

1,183FansLike
3,702FollowersFollow

Trending Now

America’s Largest Amateur League Shines in Baseball’s “Lost Season”

2020 will forever be remembered as baseball’s lost season. The sport was shattered due to the COVID-19 pandemic virus outbreak. Baseball fans were out...
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!
1
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x