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Boyle, Raelene Ann (1951 - )


24 June 1951
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Commonwealth or Empire Games Gold Medalist, Track and Field Athlete and Olympian


Raelene Boyle represented Australia at four Olympic games as a sprinter. She was appointed a Member of the British Empire on 15 June 1974 for services to athletics, and was named ABC Sportsperson of the Year in 1974. Named by the National Trust as one of '100 Living Treasures in 1998', Raelene Boyle was an Olympic torchbearer at the Opening Ceremony of the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000.


Raelene Boyle, daughter of Gilbert MacDonald and Irene Joy (née Wilkinson) Boyle was educated at Coburg High School. At 17 years of age she was selected to represent Australia in the 1968 Mexico City Olympics. She won a silver medal in the 200-metre sprint and ran fourth in the 100m. She also won medals at the Munich (1972) and the Montreal (1976) Olympics. She did not complete in the 1980 Moscow Olympics.

At the Montreal Games in 1976, Raelene Boyle was the first Australian woman to be given the honour of carrying the Australian flag into the opening ceremony. She finished fourth in the 100 metre final after a slow start and was disqualified for a false start in the 200 metre semi-final. Raelene Boyle had been favourite to win the gold medal in her favourite event. The electronic starting device registered a clean start, but the starter, Jack Fisher, recalled the athletes. He claimed Boyle had jumped the gun. Film of the incident later showed she hadn't - even though she did move her shoulders.

Raelene Boyle completed in the Edinburgh (1970), Christchurch (1974), Edmonton (1978) and at Brisbane (1982) Commonwealth Games. After retiring from competitive athletics, she completed a horticulture course at the Victorian College of Agriculture and Horticulture (Burnley) and worked as a landscape gardener for the then Prahran Council. She has also been involved with coaching and television commentary.

Raelene Boyle was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1996 and has since assisted in raising awareness of the disease, becoming a founding member of Sporting Chance Cancer Foundation in 1997.


Silver Medalist at the Mexico City Olympic Games - Athletics - 200m Sprint Event
Gold Medalist at Edinburgh Commonwealth Games - Athletics - 100 and 200 meters, 4 x 100m relay
Silver Medalist at the Munich Olympic Games - Athletics - 100m and 200m sprint events
Gold Medalist at Christchurch Commonwealth Games - Athletics - 100 and 200 meters, 4 x 100m relay
Participated at the Montreal Olympic Games
Gold Medalist at Brisbane Commonwealth Games - Athletics - 400 meters
Order of Australia Medal

Sources used to compile this entry:,,2173,00.html accessed 06/02/2003, Who's Who in Australia 2002, p. 287 and Monash Biographical Dictionary of 20th Century Australia, p. 61.

Anne Heywood and Nikki Henningham

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