VALE five-time Olympian Dennis Green
5 September 2018
AOC: The Australian Olympic family is mourning the death of five-time Olympian Dennis Green OAM, BEM.
Dennis’ remarkable Olympic career saw him become the first Australian to compete at five Olympic Games, from 1956 to 1972, leading the team as flagbearer at his final Games in Munich 1972.
Dennis was the first Australian to win an Olympic medal in canoeing, taking bronze with partner Wally Brown in the Men’s K2 10,000m at the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games in a self-built canoe.
His contribution to the Olympic movement continued long after the 1972 Games, returning as coach and mentor for generations of Australia’s top canoe athletes.
In an enduring career, Dennis won 64 Australian championships over 21 years.
AOC President John Coates AC said Dennis Green perfectly embodied the Olympic spirit.
“Dennis was a truly great Olympian. He was a born competitor and won our first canoeing medal in a canoe he and colleague Wally Brown built themselves,” Mr Coates said.
“As a coach he brought through generations of Australian Olympians in the sport he loved. His contribution to athletes continued throughout his life, right up to addressing the Australian Team before they set out for Rio 2016.
“Dennis’ spirit, competitiveness and generosity will be sorely missed by all who have been lucky enough to meet him.
“The AOC extends its sincere condolences to Dennis’ wife Shirley and his family.”
In 1978 Dennis was among the first recipients of the AOC Order of Merit, in recognition of remarkable merit for his personal achievements and great contribution to the development of sport.
Dennis also had a remarkable surf lifesaving career. After joining the Maroubra surf club as a 15-year-old in 1946, he won eight Australian open double ski championships and two Australian open single ski championships.
Inducted into the Paddle Australia Hall of Fame in 2017 and Surf Lifesaving’s Walk of Fame in 2014, Dennis is the first Australian to be in the Hall of Fame for two sports. He was also inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 1986.
1972 Olympic canoeist and Maroubra Surf Club teammate Graham Johnson said Dennis was one of the fiercest competitors he’s ever seen.
“I’ve known Dennis for more than 60 years, competed against him and worked with him and he was always a fierce fighter. He fought right to the end,” Johnson said.
“He was a fantastic role model for all young athletes. He had such a passion for canoeing and lifesaving and he passed that on through decades of coaching and mentoring.
“The athletes he’s worked with will miss him deeply.”