The Roar
The Roar


47 days to Rio: Australia’s (and America’s) rugby champion

Daniel Carroll won gold for Australia and the USA. (Public domain image)
19th June, 2016

For the first time in more than 90 years, 2016 will see rugby played at the Olympic Games, albeit in its abbreviated, sevens format. With that in mind, today we look back at rugby’s first dual gold medallist, a former Wallaby who also played for the USA.

Only three athletes have won gold medals for two different countries. One of them was Australian.


Daniel Carroll was just a teenager during the 1908 Olympics in London, but that didn’t stop the winger bagging a double in the gold medal match against England’s representatives.

Admittedly, the match wasn’t actually against a national English side, but rather Cornwall, who were representing the United Kingdom.

Still, two tries while dishing out a 32-3 shellacking in an Olympic Gold medal match is no mean feat.

After a 1912 tour of North America with the Waratahs, Carroll decided to move to the States on a permanent basis, where he studied geology and enlisted in the army for World War I.

Despite being injured in the war, Carroll continued playing rugby and became the captain-coach of USA for the 1920 Olympics, leading them to an 8-0 victory over the only other entrants, France, to claim gold.

Carroll had become the first player to win the Olympic rugby tournament twice, with one gold medal as a player and one as a player-coach. You’d think that would be enough for an Olympic career, right?


Wrong. In 1924, Carroll completed his personal trifecta by coaching the USA as they defended their Olympic crown. Again, it was France who were brushed aside by the USA in the final, this time by the more comprehensive scoreline of 17-3.

There hasn’t been another game of rugby played at the Olympics since, although with the sevens tournament at Rio looming, that streak is about to end.

Who knows, if Fiji claim the gold in the men’s competition, maybe Jarryd Hayne will look to fulfil his lifelong dream of emulating Daniel Carroll’s achievements.

Be sure to follow The Roar as we look back on some of the most memorable moments in Olympic history – be they weird and wacky or brilliant and significant – and count down the days until the Rio Olympics opening ceremony.

The Roar’s countdown to the Rio Olympics

50 days to go: Australia’s first Olympian, Edwin Flack
49 days to go: Brazil capitulate at the 2012 Olympics
48 days to go: Blood in the water during the 1956 Melbourne Olympics
47 days to go: Daniel Carroll, the man who won rugby gold with Australia and America
46 days to go: Margaret Abbott – the golfer who didn’t know she had won gold
45 days to go: Where did all the amateurs go?
44 days to go: Australia’s oarsome foursome
43 days to go: When Korea stood as one
42 Days to go: Oscar Swahn, the oldest Olympian
41 days to go: Edith Bosch – the Olympian not known for her medals
40 days to go: Jane Saville’s heartbreaking Sydney Olympics
39 days to go: Herb Elliot dominates in Rome 1960
38 days to go: Teofilo Stevenson, the boxer who might have beaten Ali
37 days to go: Betty Cuthbert steals the show in Melbourne
36 days to go: Jesse Owens’ heroic performance in Berlin
35 days to go: Eric the Eel steals Sydney’s heart
34 days to go: What happened to Cassius Clay’s gold medal?
33 days to go: Australia’s equestrian brilliance at Barcelona
32 days to go: The Olympic sports which are no longer with us
31 days to go: Debbie Flintoff-King wins on the line
30 days to go: The dominance of basketball’s Dream Team
29 days to go: Nadia Comenaci scores gymnastics’ first-ever perfect score
28 days to go: The man who stopped for a duck
27 days to go: The upset of the Sydney Olympics
26 days to go: Murray Rose’s scintilating Melbourne performance
25 days to go: Greg Louganis’ heroic comeback win
24 days to go: Fencing turns to duelling in Paris
23 days to go: Dawn Fraser’s flag-stealing shenanigans
22 days to go: The most prolific Olympic competitor
21 days to go: Duncan Armstrong’s underdog win in Seoul
20 days to go: Johnny Weissmuller: A brilliant swimmer and Hollywood actor
19 days to go: Majorie Jackson – the Lithgow Flash
18 days to go: Larisa Latynina, the most successful female Olympian
17 days to go: Dimitrios Loundras, the child who won an Olympic medal
16 days to go: Roy Jones Jr is robbed of an Olympic gold
15 days to go: Shane Gould’s superstar performance in Munich
14 days to go: The Kookaburras finally fly to the top of the world
13 days to go: Matthew Mitcham’s historic dive
12 days to go: Even Olympians are prone to the odd fail
11 days to go: Abebe Bikila wins the Olympic marathon running in bare feet
10 days to go: Track cycling’s greatest rivalry
9 days to go: Kieran Perkins’ gold medal from lane eight
8 days to go: Sally Pearson’s awesome run in London
7 days to go: Mark Spitz’ perfect seven gold medals in ’72
6 days to go: Usain Bolt torches the field in Beijing
5 days to go: Michael Klim and Ian Thorpe help smash America’s 4x100m world record like a guitar
4 days to go: Tommie Smith and John Carlos’ defiant black power salute
3 days to go: Michael Phelps – the best to ever grace the Olympics
2 days to go: Cathy Freeman delivers with the weight of a country on her back
1 day to go: Ian Thorpe – Australia’s finest Olympian