John Kinsela

Biographical information

RolesCompeted in Olympic Games
SexMale
Full nameJohn Francis•Kinsela
Used nameJohn•Kinsela
Born27 May 1950 in Surry Hills, New South Wales (AUS)
Died9 November 2020
Measurements157 cm / 52 kg
NOC Australia

Biography

John Kinsela, who competed at the 1968 and 1972 Olympics, was the first Australian Aborigine to wrestle at the Olympics. Kinsela was born to a Wiradjuri father and a Jawoyn mother. Kinsela started out in sports as a boxer, and took up wrestling when his trainer did not show up one day, and the wrestling coach invited him to try that sport. Between Olympics, Kinsela fought in Vietnam with the Royal Australian Artillery. He left the military around the time of München, but later came of retirement and wrestled at the 1974 World Championships. He then re-upped and joined the 1st Commando Regiment, serving for six more years, and being named Commando of the Year in 1981.

Kinsela had problems after the military with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), but worked to overcome them. He became a much-beloved wrestling coach at the Mount Druitt Police Citizens Youth Club in Sydney, where he taught for several years.

Results

Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1968 Summer Olympics Wrestling AUS John Kinsela
Flyweight, Freestyle, Men (Olympic) AC
1972 Summer Olympics Wrestling AUS John Kinsela
Flyweight, Freestyle, Men (Olympic) AC