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Wednesday, 9 May 2012
Page: 4465

Ms GAMBARO (Brisbane) (18:08): I would also like to pay tribute to Murray Rose and express my condolences on his death. Murray Rose was an Olympic great, and he is remembered as the best swimmer of his generation and the embodiment of the Olympic movement. But, most importantly, he will be remembered by those who loved him the most as a true gentleman. His humility, his kindness and his decency were the hallmarks of his life.

Murray Rose was born in Scotland in 1939. His family moved to Australia soon after World War II, when he was very young. He started swimming as a young child, showing a natural ability. At the age of 17, Rose participated in the 1956 Melbourne Summer Olympics. He won the 1,500-metre freestyle and was a member of the winning team in the four-by-200-metre relay. For a 17-year-old to compete in the Olympics is an amazing feat on its own; to also get three medals is truly an incredible and amazing achievement. As you can imagine, winning three gold medals in his home country immediately made him a national hero. He was the youngest Olympian to be awarded three gold medals in one Olympic Games.

At the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome, Italy, Rose again won an Olympic gold medal as well as a silver and a bronze, bringing his haul to six medals. He set an incredible record in the world of swimming. He eventually set 15 world records, including the world record in the 800-metre freestyle in 1962, and this was not broken until 1966.

They kindly named a venue at the Sydney Olympic complex after him in 2000. As we all remember, he was one of the eight amazing bearers of the Olympic flag at the opening ceremony of the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney.

He was a talented actor and went on to have an acting career. He starred in many films, including Ice Station Zebra. The current President of the Australian Olympic Committee, Mr John Coates, stated at his funeral that Murray Rose was simply peerless—the finest swimmer throughout his era. He went on to say:

… throughout his career and life, through his generosity of spirit, his sense of fair play, his modesty, his dignity, his respect for his opposition, his innate sense of decency, his attitude to life, Murray Rose embodied all the values and the virtues that the Olympic movement treasures.

Australia has lost a true champion and I wish to extend my deepest condolences to his family and the friends of this great sporting legend, Murray Rose.