Nova Peris was the first Aboriginal Australian to win a gold medal at the Olympic Games. She is also one of a very few athletes who have represented their country in two different sports; hockey & athletics, and separate Olympic Games.
In 1996, in Atlanta she was a member of the gold medal winning Hockeyroos team. She also represented Australia in athletics at the Sydney Olympics. A gold medalist in track and field at the Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur, Nova Peris also had the honour of being chosen to run the first leg of the Sydney Olympic torch relay when it arrived in Australia.
Nova Peris is a staunch campaigner for indigenous rights and reconciliation in Australia. She was the first Aboriginal Australian (and the first Northern Territorian) to win an Olympic gold medal. It was a remarkable achievement, given the difficult circumstances of Nova’s early life, not the least of them being single motherhood at the age of eighteen.
Pride in her Aboriginal identity is a vital ingredient in the ultimate success story that Nova Peris has become. She inspires other Aboriginal people to take pride in who they are, but she also works hard at changing attitudes throughout the Australian community.
In recent years, she has fought for Aboriginals to have a better life and to heal Australian society in many ways. As a treaty ambassador for the former Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC), she has traveled around the country, campaigning for a treaty between black and white so that a fundamental understanding between two groups can be forged. Her aim is to build the foundations for a fairer society for all.
Nova Peris is a truly remarkable Australian.