The 10 greatest moments in Australian sporting history

From iconic gold medals at the Olympic Games to various World Cup triumphs, Australia is a nation with a rich sporting history.

Here, we attempt the difficult task of ranking the 10 greatest moments in Australian sport. There were many notable events and memorable milestones which failed to make the cut (sorry Don Bradman, Tim Cahill, Anna Mears, Jeff Horn and Makybe Diva), but this list attempts to highlight the absolute pinnacle of Australian sporting achievement.

10. Clutch Eales delivers Bledisloe glory for Australia

"What a player, John Eales. His kick has retained the Bledisloe Cup!" - Grant Nisbett

Every kid dreams of winning a trophy for their country in the dying seconds of a match, and that's exactly what Wallabies captain John Eales did in 2000.

Down 21-23 in Wellington, and with 84 minutes already on the clock, the Aussies earned a penalty in their attacking half, much to the disapproval of the Kiwi locals. With regular kicker Stirling Mortlock off the field, Eales stepped up and converted one of the most memorable penalties in rugby history to hand Australia the Bledisloe Cup, capping off what had been a spellbinding series.

The image of Eales standing on the field with his arms raised in triumph is one of the most iconic in Australian sport.

9. Shane Warne's 'Ball of the Century'

"That's a beautiful delivery. I can understand Mike Gatting being disbelieving." - Ian Chappell

There may not be an Australian sporting moment mimicked as much in backyards across the nation as Shane Warne's outrageous delivery to England's Mike Gatting on Day 2 of the first Test of the 1993 Ashes series.

In his maiden Ashes Test, and with his first ball against England, Warne delivered a leg break for the ages. The ball initially travelled straight down the pitch towards the right-handed Gatting, before rapidly drifting to the legside. The ball then gripped the pitch and spun across the outside edge of the bat, clipping the top of the off stump to send the left bail flying.

Gatting's reaction, where he stares at the pitch in utter disbelief, is a thing of beauty and cricket may never see a better ball bowled for as long as we continue to play the game.

8. Peter Norman's stand against racism

"There's no-one in the nation of Australia that should be honoured, recognised, appreciated more than Peter Norman." - John Carlos

The only non-winner on this list, might have left the greatest legacy of all.

At the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, Australian sprinter Peter Norman made a monumental stand against racism. While accepting his silver medal for finishing second in the 200m sprint, Norman wore a human rights badge on his jacket, joining in the black power and human rights protest of African American race winner Tommie Smith and bronze medalist John Carlos.

The silent protest ended up costing Norman his career as he was not selected to represent Australia at the 1972 Olympics, despite repeatedly qualifying. In 2012, the Australian House of Representatives passed on an official apology to Norman, saying sorry for "the treatment he received upon his return to Australia, and the failure to fully recognise his inspirational role."

7. Steven Bradbury's miracle on Olympic ice

"I don't think I'll take the medal as the minute and a half of the race I actually won. I'll take it as the last decade of the hard slog I put in." - Steven Bradbury

Never. Give. Up.

It's the one important life lesson we all learned from Steven Bradbury's unexpected gold medal in the 1,000m speed skating event at the 2002 Winter Olympics.

The Australian skater was bringing up the rear in his Salt Lake City final when the unthinkable happened. On the final turn, all four of Bradbury's rivals tangled and fell to the ice, allowing the Queenslander to skate over the line and become the first person from the southern hemisphere to win a gold medal at the Winter Olympics.

Bradbury has since gone on to become a motivational speaker, while the phrase "doing a Bradbury" still remains part of Australian vernacular.

6. Cadel Evans wins 2011 Tour de France

"I hope I brought a great deal of joy to my countrymen, my country. It's been a pleasure and an honor to fly the flag over here." - Cadel Evans

There may not be a more physically demanding challenge in the world than the Tour de France. Riders compete over 21 stages, cycling almost 3,500km through some of France's most treacherous terrain. The prize? The famous yellow jersey.

In 2011, 34-year-old Australian Cadel Evans became the oldest rider since World War 2 to win the event. Evans didn't hold the overall race lead until the penultimate stage, where he set the second-fastest time in the time trial to ensure he would ride into Paris as the new champion.

Former Prime Minister of Australia Tony Abbott declared Evans "Australia's toughest sportsman" after his triumph, and the rockstar reception he received upon returning to Australia highlighted his stunning, historic accomplishment.

5. Adam Scott's US Masters playoff win

"It's 9:35 in the morning in Australia. The whole nation is watching and hoping this is the long-awaited moment." - Jim Nantz

In 2013, on a rainy Sunday afternoon at August National, Australian golfer Adam Scott became the Wizard of Oz.

Scott was placed in the top 10 all weekend, but birdies at 13 and 15 in his final round catapulted him into title contention. On the 18th hole, needing to make a 16 foot birdie putt to stay alive and force a playoff against Argentine Angel Cabrera, Scott came up with the goods, shouting "C'mon Aussies" in front of a wild gallery.

The Queenslander then held his nerve against 2009 champion Cabrera, sinking another birdie putt from range on the first playoff hole to earn himself the prized green jacket and a place in Australian sporting folklore.

4. Thorpe mows down Hall, Australia wins gold

"Thorpe's coming after Hall. They've got about 15 metres left to swim Thorpe's in front, Thorpe goes in, Australia win!" - Dennis Cometti

Australia's greatest ever moment in the pool came at the Sydney Olympics when Michael Klim, Chris Fydler, Ashley Callus and Ian Thorpe teamed up to defeat the Americans in the 4×100m freestyle relay.

The United States had never lost this race at any Olympic Games, but the Thorpedo wasn't about to settle for second best in front of a raucous home crowd.

Anchoring the relay, Thorpe came from half a body length back on American rival Gary Hall Jr as the pair turned for home. He edged ahead in the final 10 metres and touched the wall first to not only win gold for Australia, but also set a new world record in the event.

3. Australia II wins the 1983 America's Cup

"I'll tell you what, any boss who sacks anyone for not turning up today is a bum. This is a day for all Australians." - Bob Hawke

For 132 years, the America's Cup was America's event. From 1870, yachts representing the United States won 25 consecutive titles - the longest winning streak in the history of professional sport.

But on September 26th, 1983 the streak was snapped when a group of men from Fremantle sailed 'Australia II' to victory around Newport. The yacht, which sported a boxing Kangaroo flag in the rigging, was designed with a winged keel which gave the 12-metre boat superior speed to what the Americans had engineered.

The 'Men from Down Under,' as they were known, clawed their way back from a 3-1 deficit to win the America's Cup, landing the oldest trophy in international sports.

2. Aloisi books Australia's ticket to the 2006 World Cup

"Here's Aloisi for a place in the World Cup ... YEEAAAAAAH! Australia have done it!" - Simon Hill

Are you really Australian if you didn't run around your living room waving your shirt about in the air and mimicking John Aloisi?

It was November 16th, 2005 when a 29-year-old Aloisi struck the most important penalty kick in Australian football history. The nation held its collective breath and then erupted as a place at the 2006 FIFA World Cup was earned - the Socceroos' first appearance at football's showpiece event since 1974.

To this day, Aloisi's penalty is a moment which evokes pure emotion for millions of Australians and one which transcends sport. It's undoubtedly Australia's greatest ever moment in football.

1. Cathy Freeman wins gold in Sydney

"This is a famous victory, a magnificent performance. What a legend. What a champion." - Bruce McAvaney

Iconic Australian sports commentator Bruce McAvaney declared it "a famous victory" and 20 years on the very thought of the women's 400m final at the Sydney Olympics is enough to give many Australians goosebumps.

Cathy Freeman became a household name and an instant icon of Australian sport when she pulled away from her rivals in the closing stages of the race to win gold in 2000. The post-race scenes were equally memorable where Freeman draped herself in the Australian and Aboriginal flags and paraded around ANZ Stadium.

The term 'legendary' is thrown around a lot these days, but it's the only way to describe Freeman's feat on September 25th, 2000.