Post-war prosperity in Australia was accompanied by a golden age of international sporting achievement. Gideon Haigh and Bob Hawke tell us about the genesis of this era in Australian sport. The Melbourne Olympics in 1956 was the big bang in the relationship between sport and Australian culture and identity. Legends were created left, right and centre. This was the classical age in Australian sport, characterised by pure natural talent, supreme physical fitness and mental toughness. Its apotheosis is Herb Elliott. Elliott won every mile and every 1500m race he ever competed in, finishing with a world record victory in the 1500m at the 1960 Rome Olympics. After the triumphs of Herb Elliott and others at the Rome Olympics, Australia cemented an international reputation and generated a national mythology based on geography and sport. But our confidence was accompanied by hubris. Australian sports administration at the time was based on the theory that our sporting talent was God-given and...