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Who is the fittest athlete in Australia?

Undoubtedly one of the fittest athletes Australia has ever produced, Tour de France winner Cadel Evans.

Undoubtedly one of the fittest athletes Australia has ever produced, Tour de France winner Cadel Evans.

The Logies have just wrapped, The Voice has begun, and My Kitchen Rules is still cooking in what feels like its 50th week of compe-kitchen-tition. Therefore, it's Boot Camp's turn to run an awards show. It's time to determine (drumroll please, maestro) ... who is the fittest of the fit in Australia?

We could argue the semantics and definition of "fitness" until MKR cooks its final dessert, so let's keep it simple and describe being physically fit as possessing speed, muscular strength and quickness, along with cardio and muscular endurance.

So who's the fittest athlete in Australia? The nominees are:


The Tour de France is a 21-day race, covering approximately 3200 kilometres. There are downhills with bends that flirt with death, steep climbs up mountains, sprints, and long endurance stretches that test riders to the limit. 2011's winner certainly deserves to be high on this list of the fittest of Australian athletes.


Winning five medals in the pool at the 2012 Olympics means Coutts is one of Australia's fittest swimmers ever. To compete and score medals in the freestyle, butterfly, and medley requires incredible technique, making her a master in the pool and one fit athlete.


A tennis player that can ready himself to battle five-set matches with the likes of Nadal, Djokovic, and Federer is damn fit. Tomic is Australia's top-ranked tennis player, and matches that include long baseline rallies, powerful serves, and sprints to the net require serious fitness throughout a gruelling international season.


To excel as an AFL athlete, one must display a repitoire of athletic skills combined with world-class fitness. To sprint, run medium distances, catch, kick, jump, catch, pass, and hit (on offence and defence) with success is a serious athletic feat. AFL athletes might not be known internationally, but their fitness demands athletes such as Ablett Jr be placed at the top of any Australian (or international) list.


CrossFit athletes aren't household names, but the sport's popularity is growing worldwide. Chad Mackay is one fit chap. In 2012, Chad finished 9th at the CrossFit World Games in the USA. CrossFit competitions are varied and unique, combining many (if not all) elements of an athletic endeavour, crowning the self-proclaimed 'Fittest on Earth'.


Middleweight boxing world champion Geale (sporting a 29-1 win-loss record) is at the top of Australian boxing. Preparing for 12, three-minute rounds of professional boxing is a bit more serious than entering boxing class at the gym. The strength, speed, and cardio fitness required to stand toe-to-toe for 12 rounds with a respected boxer like German Felix Sturm (and win) proves his incredible fitness.


A car driver? Yes indeed. Coping with shifting G-forces between three and five times your own body weight requires critical fitness, and Webber has done it for years. Historically, Formula 1 drivers partied throughout a season, but modern requirements dictate that drivers are lean, agile, endurance athletes with a level of fitness that cannot be ignored.


To play either code of rugby, you’ve gotta be strong, fast, agile, damn tough … and fit.  Sonny Bill is all of the above, and playing for both the All-Blacks and The Roosters is an impressive feat.  Add a pretty good start to a boxing career, and you’ve got one fit hombre.


World and Olympic 100m hurdle champion Pearson combines speed, power and brilliant technique like few others. She won the IAAF's 2011 Female Athlete of the Year Award, becoming the first Australian to receive it. Check her physique and watch her run and you gotta say 'that woman is fit'.


Meares' inspirational journey is a story in itself, and since we're here to talk about her fitness, you can't dismiss that she came back from a broken neck in 2008. Her sprint event is short, but the power and speed required to win Olympic Gold mirrors the fitness levels of top 100m sprinters. Meares' victory over the UK's Victoria Pendleton shows she is one strong, fit athlete.


At 188cm and 93kg, Te Huna is a Sydney-based Kiwi fighting as a UFC athlete. Opponents' fighting styles vary, and so will Te Huna's fitness requirements from match to match. UFC athletes kick, wrestle, and punch with the additional mental fitness required to handle "I might get my face kicked in". To enter a UFC octagon, you better be seriously fit – or you might be watching the morning news from a hospital bed.


The Hawaii Ironman is a race made up of a 3.86km swim, a 180.25km bike ride and a 42.2km run. Add some Hawaiian heat, and only incredibly fit competitors will even finish. Jacobs from Sydney's northern beaches is the 2012 champion, finishing with a 2hr 48min marathon. Incredibly fit.

Certainly, this list could contain more names from the worlds of rowing and middle distance and marathon running. Women's soccer and cricket star Ellyse Perry is another, and then there's seriously fit Paralympic athletes such as Matthew Cowdrey (23 medals), Jacqueline Freney (eight gold medals) and Kurt Fearnley (gold and CRAWLED the Kokoda Track, if you don't mind). This shortlist remains open to debate. However …

The envelope has arrived. Ripped open. And the award goes to?

I would love to see an objective fitness competition between them all. Ultimately, I believe the AFL's best, a top UFC athlete, and Australia's top CrossFit competitor would be there in the end to fight - make that 'fit' - it out. To excel in those three sports, you must be the fittest in Australia.

But this is a people's choice award, so it's really up to you, the readers. Who's the fittest athlete in Australia?

Follow Michael Jarosky on Twitter: @michaeljarosky

200 comments so far

  • All great athletes no doubt and great representatives for Australia but my vote goes to Pete Jacobs. 3 sports all at top level. It would be interesting to see VO2 max figures for these sports men and women to give an objective comparison.

    Date and time
    April 10, 2013, 8:44AM
    • Geale should be number one. For pro boxing, you need aerobic (need to 12 x 3 minute rounds), and anaerobic (quick punches and body movement) fitness as well the pressure of having someone trying to knock your team off each round.

      He is all alone in the ring with no teammates to back him up. He also needs to fight for his paycheck as there is no week in and week out weekly wage. A very high risk and high reward sport.

      urban hipster
      Date and time
      April 10, 2013, 9:53AM
    • "He is all alone in the ring with no teammates to back him up"
      True, but there are no team mates in Ironman triathlon - an individual sport.

      I would have to sit out on Pete Jacobs, it is awesome he won Hawaii last year and he may win next years etc, we already have Craig Alexander winning it more than once (2 years in a row ('08 & '09) then again in '11).

      Date and time
      April 10, 2013, 10:42AM
    • meh. cadel evans looks like a boiled chicken ...

      Date and time
      April 10, 2013, 11:00AM
    • Agree with you Bree but Alexander wasn't a choice nor was McCormack, Welch, Carfrae or Jones. Ironman Triathlon is a fringe sport and not many people know what it takes to be at the top. More's the pity as these great ambassadors don't get anywhere near the recognition or sponsorship that they deserve for their efforts.

      Date and time
      April 10, 2013, 11:18AM
    • I have three outright official Guinness World Records in fitness/strength events....I broke (& still hold) strength records held by Olympic gymnasts - I have also trained a few other guys to break Guinness World fitness records - I have a great, simple effective system that works (obviously) .... If you want to know how to be stronger and fitter than you have ever been, just google me..

      And anyone can be 'fit' at 21.... I'm 47 LOL!

      Date and time
      April 10, 2013, 11:55AM
    • Cadel has recorded the highest ever VO2 max at the AIS.

      Date and time
      April 10, 2013, 11:57AM
    • Vote 1 David Boon

      52 Tinnies
      Sydney to London
      Date and time
      April 10, 2013, 12:44PM
    • I'd agree, while Cadel has the highest VO2Max of all athetes tested at the AIS and I admire his endurance and undeniable fitness, I think this is a false comparison - apples and pears, Anna Meares has explosive power, all of the other sportspeople are at the top of their game.

      Date and time
      April 10, 2013, 12:54PM
    • Scientific analysis would be the only provable way to determine the fittest. V02, heart rate, etc, but then other factors would be fast versus slow twitch muscles, recuperation times, age, and also is the mind and heart taken into account for superhuman feats that can sometimes happen in individuals. Specializing in a sport adds another dimension.

      Date and time
      April 10, 2013, 12:56PM

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