Norman Read
Inducted in 1990
For older New Zealanders, the lasting image of the Melbourne Olympics in 1956 is of the smiling face of Norman Read as he strode into the Melbourne Cricket Ground to win the 50km walk, one of two gold medals won by New Zealanders in Melbourne.
Sporting Category:
  • Athletics
But he was very nearly not a New Zealander. Read was born in England and arrived in New Zealand in 1953 to quickly establish himself as the leading walker.

He sought inclusion in the British team for the Olympics, but they’d already chosen their team so he turned to New Zealand. The New Zealand Olympic and Empire Games Association (as it was then) secretary, George Craig, had to seek clearance from the International Olympic Committee for Read to compete for his adopted country.

Read, who had qualified by winning the Australian 50km title, took the lead at the 42km mark in the Games race and strode home a happy and easy winner.

Ten years later, he won a bronze medal at the 1966 Commonwealth Games.

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