Topics:  award, dawn fraser, sport, swimming

Fraser named nation's greatest female athlete of all time

Former Australian swimming great Dawn Fraser.
Former Australian swimming great Dawn Fraser. Bradley Kanaris / Getty Images

SWIMMING legend Dawn Fraser has edged out athletics great Betty Cuthbert and surfer Layne Beachley to be named Australia's greatest female athlete.

The honour was bestowed at a ball in Canberra where the top 100 female athletes of all time were unveiled.

The list was decided by a public vote, input from athletes and research by advocacy group Sports for Women.

Fraser won four gold and three silver Olympic medals between 1956 and 1964, the first of only three swimmers in Olympic history to win individual gold medals for the same event at three successive Games, winning the 100m freestyle each time.

She said she was "extremely proud" to have been named the No.1 athlete.

As well as her swimming exploits, Fraser is also remembered for her rebellious streak - she was arrested at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics for stealing an Olympic flag and defying orders not to march in the opening ceremony.

Margaret Court (tennis), Lauren Jackson (basketball), Heather McKay (squash), Rechelle Hawkes (hockey), Shirley Strickland (athletics), Anna Meares (cycling), Cathy Freeman (athletics), Karrie Webb (golf) and Liz Ellis (netball) made the top 12.
 



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