1 August 2022

Which athlete is the Canberra region’s biggest name in international sport?

| Tim Gavel
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Michael Matthews

Michael Matthews has 39 career wins and took out stage 14 of this year’s Tour de France. Photo: Filip Bossuyt.

When Nick Kyrgios made the Wimbledon final, there was a perception that he was alone on top of the list of Canberra’s global sporting superstars.

His personality possibly adds to that belief as he dominated sports news in Australia and the UK as much for his antics as for his on-court ability.

As such, the coverage afforded Kyrgios was far greater than any other player in the tournament.

Nick Kyrgios

Nick Kyrgios is a huge star where tennis is a top-line sport. Photo: Screenshot.

Beyond tennis playing nations, coverage of Kyrgios tapers off. For example, in India, while there was space given over to Kyrgios, it was swamped by anything to do with cricket.

So let’s not forget that former Manuka Oval groundsman, Nathan Lyon, is the Canberra region’s biggest sporting personality on the sub-continent.

In the past month in the series against Sri Lanka, in a feat that received little fanfare, Lyon became the 10th greatest Test wicket-taker of all time.

Lyon has now taken 438 test scalps, joining Glen McGrath and Shane Warne as the only Australian bowlers in the top 10.

Lyon, at 34 years of age, has given no indication that he plans to retire anytime soon. There are predictions that he could finish with 600 test wickets, well short of Warne’s 708, but in the top five of all time.

Then there is the performance of Canberra cyclist Michael Matthews, winner of stage 14 of the Tour de France.

Five years after his last stage win in the great race, Matthews rose to new heights in the 192-kilometre stage.

Suffering from cramps and after being overtaken on the final climb, Matthews reeled in Alberto Bettiol in a performance described by Matthews’ team’s sports director, Mathew White, as the most impressive ride of his career.

To add significance to that statement, Matthews has had 39 victories in his career, including four stage wins in the Tour de France.

In countries where cycling is a top-tier sport, Matthews is a household name, amplified further by his performance this year.

Patty Mills is omnipresent in countries such as China, where the NBA is massive. And Mills continues to deliver.

Patty Mills is a superstar in China. Photo: Supplied.

His performance in leading Australia to bronze at the Olympics to his 81-game season with the Brooklyn Nets highlights his work ethic as much as his ability.

Mills has signed another two-year deal with Brooklyn, by the end of which he will be 34 years of age.

These are some of our current big names internationally. Many more have starred on the international stage in years gone by – we have a lot to be proud of.

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