Nova Peris

Athlete Biography

1971 -

Nova Peris became the first indigenous Australian to win an Olympic gold medal when she was a member of the victorious Hockeyroos in Atlanta. She also became the first mother to be a gold medallist for Australia since Shirley Strickland in 1956. The Northern Territorian was an outstanding talent as a hockey player, with her pace, agility and attacking skills making her a distinguished player on the international stage. After the team’s Atlanta success, Peris made a decision to turn her remarkable talents to athletics. She excelled on the track, winning two gold medals at the 1998 Commonwealth Games before the climax of her athletics career: a return to the Olympics in Sydney, where she reached the semi-finals of the 400m and was a member of Australia’s 4 x 400m relay team, which placed fifth. Her twin achievements, being our first indigenous Olympic champion and achieving in two different sports at Olympic level, marks her as one of our finest athletes.