Petria Thomas OAM (swimming) won nine Commonwealth Games gold medals in total beginning with two gold medals, in the 100-metre butterfly and 4×100-metre freestyle, at the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Canada. Despite battling shoulder problems, Petria defended both of those titles at the 1998 Games in Kuala Lumpur. At the 2002 Commonwealth Games, Thomas won five gold, one silver and one bronze medals. Her victory made her the first female swimmer ever to win the same event – the 100-metre butterfly – at three consecutive Commonwealth Games. During a representative swimming career that spanned eight years Petria also won three Olympic and three world championship gold medals. Her tally of eight Olympic medals (three gold, four silver, one bronze) is equal with two other Commonwealth Games legends, Dawn Fraser and Susie O’Neill, as the best by an Australian woman. She was Australian swim team captain from 2001-2004, was three times crowned AIS Athlete of the Year (2001, 2002 and 2004), won the 2004 ‘The Don’ Award and was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 2007. Following retirement from swimming after winning Olympic gold in Athens in 2004, Petria became Team Leader at three Commonwealth Youth Games and was on the headquaters staff at four Commonwealth Games. The Deputy Chef de Mission on the Gold Coast, Petria was appointed Australia’s first female Chef de Mission for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
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