Topics:  dawn fraser, editors picks, olympics

She’s laughin’: Dawny’s our No.1

INSPIRATIONAL CAREER: Dawn Fraser, who captured four gold and three silver Olympic medals, has been named Australia’s greatest ever female athlete.
INSPIRATIONAL CAREER: Dawn Fraser, who captured four gold and three silver Olympic medals, has been named Australia’s greatest ever female athlete. DEAN LEWINS

LONDON Olympic gold medallist Melanie Schlanger has praised Dawn Fraser for her lasting legacy after the swimming legend was named Australia's greatest ever female athlete.

Coast product Schlanger says she draws inspiration from the Noosa resident's achievements.

"(Growing up) I also knew about the history and tradition of swimming, and obviously Dawn's a big part of that," she said.

Schlanger, part of the 4x100m freestyle gold medal winning team in London, met Fraser at the 2012 Games.

She said the 75-year-old, who watched her anchor the relay team to gold, gave her words of encouragement.

"It was pretty inspirational just to meet her," she said.

"It wasn't a big conversation or anything.

"Just being in her presence. It's pretty inspirational her history and the mark that she's left on swimming."

Like Schlanger, Fraser was a freestyle sprint specialist - the 100m her pet event.

She captured four gold and three silver Olympic medals between 1956 and 1964, and is one of a handful of swimmers to win the same Olympic event three times.

Fraser won the greatest athlete award ahead of athletics legend Betty Cuthbert and surfer Layne Beachley.

Awarded in Canberra, it was decided by a combination of public vote, expert input from fellow athletes and research conducted by advocacy group Sports for Women.



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