1889 - 1956
Australia’s only gold medal at the 1908 Olympic Games in London came in the sport of rugby union. Rugby was played in the Olympics only four times - in 1900, 1908, 1920 and 1924. The Australian team, which became known as the Wallabies, did not play in the now-traditional green-and-gold colours, but wore light-blue jerseys with a waratah on the left breast. At 20, Dan Carroll was the “baby” of the Wallabies, and he went on to have a record unparalleled in Olympic rugby becoming a gold medallist for two countries.
Carroll - an elusive ball-carrier, blessed with great acceleration - was born in Melbourne and educated in Sydney. He played for St George while he studied dentistry, and his performances for NSW against Queensland and an Anglo-Welsh team in his first representative year won him selection in the first Wallaby team. He scored 15 tries in the British Isles, two of them for the Australian team which beat Cornwall (representing England) in the Olympic tournament.
He later toured British Colombia and the US with the 1912 Australian team, and settled in America at the end of the tour. He served as a lieutenant with the US Army during the first World War. In 1920 he was coaching Stanford University when selected as playing coach of the US team that won the Olympic championship in Antwerp. He thus became the recipient of two gold medals for different countries - the only Australian athlete to have done so. He was non-playing coach of the US team which won again at the Paris Olympics in 1924.
Harry Gordon, AOC Historian