I stand to speak on the sad passing of one of the true legends of Olympic sport in Australia, Bill Roycroft, who died on Sunday in Camperdown at the age of 95. Bill was Australia’s oldest surviving Olympian and the patriarch of equestrian sports in this country.
Grant Baldock, Equestrian Australia chief executive officer, said:
“He was a legend. The term does get thrown around lightly at different times, but he was certainly a legend in our sport and Australian sport.”
Many would recall the story of Bill’s infamous gold medal win at the 1960 Rome Olympics when he signed himself out of the hospital, where he was nursing a broken collarbone as a result of a steeplechase event, to then go on to win in a flawless final round of the equestrian event.
Bill grew up in rural Victoria as a farm worker in the tough conditions of the Great Depression and also served in the Second World War. It was not until Bill turned 45 that he could realise his dream and compete in the Olympic Games, which he did on many occasions.
I think I speak for all members in saying our thoughts and sympathies are with the Roycroft family. He will be sadly missed. Vale Bill Roycroft.