Brad Cooper

Biographical information

RolesCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameBradford Paul "Brad"•Cooper
Used nameBrad•Cooper
Born19 July 1954 in Singapore, Singapore (SGP)
Measurements160 cm / 72 kg
Affiliations?, New South Wales, (AUS)
NOC Australia
Medals OG
Gold 1
Silver 0
Bronze 0
Total 1


Brad Cooper was a great all-around swimmer, whose career was a bit marred by the controversy surrounding his 1972 Olympic 400 m freestyle gold medal. At München, the favorites for 400 freestyle gold were Cooper and young American Rick DeMont, after the world record holder Kurt Krumpholz did not make the American Olympic team. In the Olympic final, Cooper and DeMont swam the last 50 m shoulder by shoulder and it was unclear who had won the race, but the electric timers gave it to DeMont by 1/100th of a second – 4:00.26 to 4:00.27. Two days after the news broke that DeMont had tested positive for a banned substance and was disqualified from the 400 freestyle. DeMont was an asthmatic and did not deny that he had taken Marax, an ephedrine derivative, the night before his 400 free final. DeMont never hid the fact that he took the drug on a regular basis for his asthma, and had noted this on his medical form required of US athletes, but the United States’ team doctors had never checked to see if it contained any banned substances and never notified the IOC. The IOC initially left the gold medal vacant, until a protest from the Australian delegation resulted in Cooper being awarded the gold medal, but after hearing the final decision Cooper said, “I don’t want the medal.”

Born in Singapore, Cooper’s family moved to Rockhampton, Queensland when he was five. He was equally strong at freestyle and backstroke, but had a brief swimming career, and was only on the Australian national team from 1970-74. Besides his Olympic gold, Cooper won 400 free and 4x200 free relay silvers and a 1,500 bronze at the 1973 World Championships, and 200 backstroke gold, 400 freestyle silver, and 100 backstroke bronze at the 1974 Commonwealth Games. He won multiple Australian titles – 200 free in 1973; 400 free in 1972-74; 800 free in 1973; 1,500 in 1972; 100 back in 1971-73, and 200 back in 1971-74. He also set two world records during his career – 4:01.7 in 400 m at the 1972 Australian Nationals and Olympic Trials and 8:23.8 in 800 m freestyle at the 1972 New South Wales State championships.

Cooper retired from competition after the 1974 season and later worked as a journalist. He has also worked as a swimming coach and owned Cooper’s Burleigh Aquatic Centre at Burleigh Heads, Queensland, a suburb in the city of Gold Coast.

Personal bests: 400 m freestyle - 3:58.70 (1973); 1500 m freestyle - 15:45.04 (1973); 200 m backstroke – 2:06.59 (1972).


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1972 Summer Olympics Swimming (Aquatics) AUS Brad Cooper
400 metres Freestyle, Men (Olympic) 1 Gold
1,500 metres Freestyle, Men (Olympic) 7
4 × 100 metres Freestyle Relay, Men (Olympic) Australia DNS
4 × 200 metres Freestyle Relay, Men (Olympic) Australia 5
200 metres Backstroke, Men (Olympic) 4
4 × 100 metres Medley Relay, Men (Olympic) Australia 9

Special Notes