Olympics for Australia started way back in 1896 when the country sent representatives to the Summer Olympics of Athens in Greece. In the very year that Australia made its appearance at the modern Olympics it won gold owing to athlete Teddy Flack who held the lead both in the 800 and the 1500 meters of race. After its initial success story at the Olympics, Australia had to compete jointly with New Zealand under the name of Australasia in the 1908 and the 1912 Olympics. Australia could only get to host the Summer Olympics twice in its entire Olympic history. The first time when Australia independently hosted the summer Olympics was in 1956 in Melbourne, later on it was granted a similar opportunity in 2000 when Australia once again hosted the summer counterpart of the event in 2000 at Sydney. In the summer Olympics, Australia had been able to gain significant ranks due to the swimming division which has always been a strong point of the Australian Olympics team. Some significant names in swimming are Ian Thorpe and Dawn Fraser.
Other departments where the Australia Olympics team has remained strong and have won laurels for the country are in rowing, cycling, field hockey, shooting and equestrian events. Although these departments have always been Australia's strong points in the Olympics event, it has simultaneously also had a bad share in track games. Among track athletes of Australia, the most mentionable are the names of Betty Cuthbert and Cathy Freeman. Australia's fate at the Winter Olympics has not been so fortunate as in the Summer Olympics and the country could not manage to gain a gold for itself until 2002 when Steven Bradbury won the 1000 meters and Alisa Caplin could become winner in the aerial event. Although Australia began its Winter Olympics campaign in 1936, a medal eluded the players until 1994 when the men's relay team won the bronze. 1998 was the year which brought the first individual medal to any Australian player at the Olympics, and the winner was bronze medalist Zali Steggall for slalom.
Australia also encourages Special Olympics and the country gives equal importance to this special sporting event. The fate of the country at the Special Olympics has also been very encouraging and has shown a prospect for a bright future.