1906 - 1996
Edgar 'Dunc' Gray became Australia’s first Olympic cycling gold medallist when he won the 1000 metres time trial at the Los Angeles Games in 1932. He also won a bronze medal in the same event in Amsterdam in 1928, and carried the Australian flag at the Opening Ceremony of the Berlin Games in 1936. Strangely, he had never ridden in a time trial before the Games of 1928. He was selected for the team because he won the Australian one-mile championship, and allocated the time trial because another rider was preferred for the sprint.
Gray was the only cyclist chosen in Australia’s 12-person team for Los Angeles, and was entered for both the sprint and the time trial. A week before he was due to ride he was admitted to hospital with influenza, but still reached the semi-final of the sprint. He qualified to ride off for the bronze medal, on the same night as he was due to tackle the time trial. Concerned that he didn’t have the strength for two hard rides in a short space of time, he chose to withdraw from the medal race… and later watched as his Italian rival rode the course alone. But his decision to concentrate on the time trial was prudent - he won the gold medal in world record time. Four years later in Berlin, at a Games where Australia won no gold, Gray reached the quarter-finals of his only event, the sprint. But, as the team’s only gold medallist, he had the honour of carrying the flag.
Harry Gordon, AOC historian