EducationDaily Booklist: Autobiographies by Australia’s champion sportswomen

Charlie
Charlie

The Matildas’ journey to the finals of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World cup sparked an outpouring of admiration and respect for their skill and work ethic.

As a newly curious nation scours the internet for more information on these rising stars, it’s worth remembering that Australian sportswomen have long been telling their stories, in their own words.

Here are ten sporting biographies from the GOATs to get you started.

My Journey To the World Cup

Author: Sam Kerr

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Sam Kerr is the captain of the Matildas, after making her debut against Italy in 2009. She also plays for UK team Chelsea in the English FA Women’s Super League. Sam has been playing in the W-League sonce her days as a 15-year-old with Perth Glory. She played for the Matildas at the 2016 Olympics in Brazil, was named Young Australian of the Year in 2018, and joined Chelsea in 2019.
In My Journey To the World Cup she shares her incredible journey from the kid playing Aussie Rules to captaining the Matildas in the FIFA Women’s World Cup. The pages are packed with FIFA World Cup facts, and a detailed look at Sam’s childhood, family, teammates, and life amazing facts about Sam – her early days, family, teams, and her life as she represents both Chelsea and the Matildas. on the world stage.

More Than a Kick

Written by: Tayla Harris

Book cover for More than a kick by Tayla Harris
Tayla Harris is an Australian rules footballer who first made waves representing Melbourne during the AFL Women’s Exhibition Series. That opportunity won Tayla a marquee Brisbane signing for the inaugural season of the competition.

In March 2019 Tayla was propelled into the spotlight when Michael Willson’s photo of her signature airborne kick captured the nation’s attention – for all the wrong reasons. It went viral on social media for receiving aggressively sexist comments, but Tayla didn’t take it lying down. Instead she chose to call out the online harassment and that journey led her to the unveiling of a bronze statue of her kick in the Melbourne city centre, and the Prime Video documentary Kick Like Tayla.

More Than a Kick is co-authored with Jennifer Allan and it’s a candid look at Harris’s journey from young athlete to a trailblazing AFLW player, inspiring girls and women globally to quite literally ‘stand strong’. The book also shares valuable advice for young people navigating the fickle rollercoaster of social media.

“The best way to show them is to show them up.” Warren Harris (Tayla’s dad)

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My Story

Written by: Lauren Jackson AO

Book cover for My Story by Lauren Jackson
Lauren Jackson is a celebrated WNBA basketball player with four Olympic medals, multiple MVP awards, and a spot in the FIBA and Naismith Halls of Fame under her belt

In My Story Lauren delves into the life and career of one of Australia’s greatest female basketball players, and her achievements in breaking boundaries in the sport.

The book explores her battle with anxiety, set-backs, comebacks, and stints in the US, Russia, Spain, Korea and China.

Believe

Written by: Sally Pearson OAM

book cover for believe by sally pearson
Sally Pearson is a 100m hurdles Olympic gold medalist and World Champion She retired in 2019 after a career in track and field that was punctuated by comebacks from injuries.

In her autobiography Believe, Sally shares the inspirational story of her rise to the top, guided by a single mum who worked two jobs to support her dream of becoming one of the greatest hurdlers in history.

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Life As I Know It

Written by: Michelle Payne OAM

book cover for Life As I Know It by Michelle Payne
Michelle Payne mowed down the ‘grass’ ceiling in horse racing when she became the first female jockey to win Australia’s Melbourne Cup. She rode to victory in 2015 on Prince of Penzance and inspired a generation of female equestrians.

Life As I Know It was adapted for the screen in Ride Like A Girl and in the book Michelle takes readers on a more in depth version of her journey to the Melbourne Cup. Her story begins with farm life at Miners Rest, near Ballarat in Victoria as the youngest daughter of the ten children. The book explores the many life-altering challenges Michelle faced along the way, from the death of her mum when she was just 6 months old, to the severe fall she took aged 18 that fractured her skull and bruised her brain. Events that culminate in her success in a male-dominated industry with her historic Melbourne Cup win.

My Story

Written by: Nova Peris OAM

Book cover for My Story by Nova Peris
Nova Peris is the first Indigenous Australian to win an Olympic gold medal.

She represented Australia in athletics and won gold for field hockey at the 1996 Summer Olympics. Nova went on to become the first Aboriginal woman elected to Federal parliament and an Australian senator .

In My Story Nova discusses her achievements in sports and her advocacy for Indigenous rights. It begins woth he first ever memory, of Cyclone Tracy, and traces her life as a child of the stolen generations who travelled to Perth as a single mother, determined to become a champion athlete. Nova’s story is one of determination and redemption as she fights for her people, and makes peace with her complex personal life.

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Now

Written by: Anna Meares OAM

Book cover for Anna Meares Now
Anna Meares is the only Australian to have won individual medals at four consecutive Olympics. In 2004 she won a place in the track cycling Olympic team over her sister Kerrie and became the first Australian female track cyclist to win Olympic gold.

4 years later she broke her neck in a cycling accident – but she came back to win the silver medal in Beijing 8 months after that.

In Now Anna shares the study of life on and off the track, including the death of her coach Gary West from motor neurone disease. It’s the inspiring story of a four-time Olympian, five-time Commonwealth Games champion, and 35-time Australian track champion, who now mentors Australia’s up and coming athletes.

Unbreakable

Written by: Jelena Dokic

book cover for unbreakable by jelena dokic
Jelena Dokic earned a place representing Australia at the Wimbledon quarter-finals aged just 16. At 17 she reached the semi-finals, in 2000 she became an Olympian and finished in fourth place at the Sydney Games. At 18 she was in the world’s top 10 – by 19, she was world No.4.

In Unbreakable Jelena charts her evolution from Yugoslavian refugee in Sydney to world class tennis player, and now much loved commentator. . All while surviving domestic abuse at the hands of her father, Damir Dokic.

Perspective

Written by: Ellyse Perry

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book cover for Elvis lyes Perry Perspective
Ellyse Perry is the only player (female or male) to represent Australia in both cricket and football World Cups. She made both debuts at 16 and she was the youngest ever Test debut at the age of 17.

Perspective is an illustrated book featuring childhood stories and reflections on her career with themes such as self-belief, resilience, acceptance, balance and perseverance. Read it for a unique view of what it really means to be an elite Australian athlete.

Running Strong

Written by: Candace Warner

Book cover for Candace Warner Running Strong
Candice Warner is a champion Ironwoman, athlete and former surf life saver. She began competing as the youngest ever professional competitor, aged 14, and was NSW state champion by 16. She’s won three World Championship gold medals and 60 state championship medals (36 of them being gold and two NSW board titles). She has won the Queen of Nelson Mandela Bay (South Africa), was Round 5 Ironwoman Series Race Champion (2012), the 2013 NSW Ironwoman Champion and has won 20 Australian Championship medals.

In Running Strong Candace talks competing in the hypermasculine Iron man and woman community and how she turned physical and metaphorical bruises into pivotal moments for her career, thanks to the transformative, regenerative power of running.


These biographies and stories highlight the diverse and impactful journeys of Australian sportswomen, offering insight into their achievements, struggles, and contributions to the world of sports.

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Charlie
By Charlie
Charlie Writes is a Sydney based, London born, Caribbean writer, interviewer and poet. A colourful 27 year career has taken Charlie from typing poems on the spot on her 1970’s typerwiter named June, to donning a hard hat as a roving reporter in the construction industry. All while living out her favourite quote that the greatest adventures begin with a simple conversation.