Ms Susan O'Neill OAM
As a dancer, SUSIE O’NEILL was a flop.
So it was just as well her career was built on her golden pool feats rather than the famous yet daggy victory jog she performed on the pool deck in 2000 after breaking American Mary T. Meagher’s 200m butterfly world record.
Having narrowly missed selection for the 1988 Seoul Olympics, her career took off at the 1990 Commonwealth Games and she won bronze at her first Olympics in Barcelona.
It was the Atlanta Olympics that helped boost “Madam Butterfly” to superstar status.
The 1996 Olympics was the stage for her to win gold, silver and bronze medals and she became Australia’s most outstanding Olympic performer since Shane Gould in Kuala Lumpur, winning a record eight medals. Six were gold.
Sydney 2000 was O’Neill’s Olympic farewell. She won a gold and three silver medals. Her career tally was eight Olympic medals, equally Dawn Fraser’s Australian record for the highest medal aggregate.