Raelene Boyle AM MBE - Athletics
To this day, Raelene Boyle remains one of the modern era's greatest female sprinters. A Melbourne local, she first took to the international stage at the age of 16, when she won silver in the 200m at the 1968 Mexico City Olympic Games.
Selected in every Australian Olympic and Commonwealth Games team between 1968 and 1982, Boyle won a total of 12 medals. She reached the finals of six individual Olympic short sprints finals, winning three silver medals.
Boyle dominated sprinting events at the 1970 Edinburgh and 1974 Christchurch Commonwealth Games, winning gold medals in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay on each occasion. At the 1972 Munich Olympics, she repeated her silver medal success of four years before. At the 1978 Edmonton Commonwealth Games, Boyle only contested the 100m sprint due to injury, and won silver.
Boyle hit the headlines when she apparently broke twice in the 200m semi-finals in the 1976 Montreal Olympics. Film of the start later showed that she in fact had not jumped the gun on her first start. In tears, all Boyle could do was watch as the others battled it out for the medals. Earlier, she had become the first Australian woman to be selected as flag bearer for the opening ceremony.
The controversy of the 1980 Moscow Olympics led to much indecision amongst prospective competitors. Boyle was one of those who decided to stand by the boycott, and she did not take part.
Perhaps the greatest moment in Boyle's career was her last competitive run at the 1982 Brisbane Commonwealth Games, which saw her win gold in the 400m.
Boyle won 14 individual Australian championships, taking out the 100m and 200m double in 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1976 and 1977, and the 400m in 1980 and 1982. Throughout her career, Boyle set a number of Australian and Commonwealth records, and was a member of two world record breaking Australian relay teams.
In 1974, Boyle was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in recognition of her service to athletics. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, she remained involved with sport in a variety of capacities, ranging from being a member of the Victorian State Sports Council to Assistant Manager Australian World Junior Athletics team. Diagnosed with breast cancer in 1996, she has worked assiduously since that time to raise awareness of the disease.