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Bond at the Olympics: Jon Sieben

Jon Sieben OAM – Swimming – 1984, 1988, 1992   

Jon Sieben
Pic supplied by Hanson Media 

When it comes to sporting upsets, Jon Sieben may well lay claim to the greatest of them all.

Seventeen years old. An Olympic final against not one but two world record holders. A boy from Brisbane hoping for a medal of any colour. 

Instead, the teenager returned from the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics with the 200m butterfly gold, a world record of his own and a place in swimming immortality.

“I knew he could go good but I didn’t realise he could get the world record,” coach Laurie Lawrence told the world after his star pupil swam a spellbinding 1:57:04 to clip the wings of West German world record holder Michael ‘The Albatross’ Gross and American Pablo Morales, who held the 100m butterfly record.

Sieben’s come-from-behind performance was a life-changer. Having made his international debut as a 15-year-old at the 1982 Commonwealth Games in Brisbane, his stunning performance at the LA Olympics saw him named the ABC Sports Star of the Year and Young Australian of the Year.

Sieben returned to the Olympic stage in Seoul (1988) and Barcelona (1992) but was unable to repeat his heroics. By the latter event, he had also enrolled at Bond University as part of a journey that saw him go on to become CEO of the North Queensland Sports Foundation.


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