Olympic Swimmer, Speaker, Activist, Best-Selling Author
At just 15 and the youngest member of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Swimming Team, Leisel won two silver medals in the 100m breaststroke and 4x100m Medley Relay, making her one of the youngest Olympic medallists in Australia’s history.
By the age of 18, Leisel was competing in her second Olympic Games in Athens, winning gold in world record time in the 4x100m medley relay, silver in the 200m breaststroke and a bronze medal in the 100m breaststroke.
After facing many adversities and setbacks, she finally fulfilled her dream of winning individual Olympic gold in Beijing, 2008 in the 100m breaststroke. She also won gold in the 4x100m medley relay and silver in the 200m breaststroke.
Before farewelling her swimming career forever, Leisel competed in her fourth Olympic Games in London in 2012, finishing on a high by winning a silver medal in the 4x100m medley relay and becoming the first Australian swimmer to compete at four Olympics.
Post retirement has seen Leisel’s career include releasing her memoir, Body Lengths; hosting Network Ten’s coverage of the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and as a swimming expert commentator for the 7 Network’s Tokyo Olympic Games.
More About Leisel Jones
The world can be a pretty noisy place (even when your head is under water a lot of the time) and being thrust into the spotlight at such a young age had an overwhelming impact on me.
The constant pressure to be perfect — from coaches, from the media and from myself — was at times, relentless.
Despite the glory and shiny medals, I’ve also had to overcome serious matters that played out far beyond the pool lines including personal battles with depression, media controversy including criticism about my weight, bullying and team dissention.
It took quite a few laps around the sun (and even more in the pool) before I realised that a ‘personal best’ — whether it’s in life, swimming or a hotdog eating competition — cannot be measured by numbers. Your personal best comes when you are able to find the freedom to dive into your authentic life — and then swim like nobody is watching.
In 2017, I released my memoir, Body Lengths; a raw account of my time in the pool — and post-pool — including my mental health battles and body image issues.
In 2018 I started studying psychology at university which I am hugely passionate about. I have also completed a Master Training course in Personal Training, become a qualified Pilates instructor and I’ve trekked the Kokoda Trail.
I’ve dipped my toe in the media pool, with roles hosting Network Ten’s coverage of the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, hosting the 2014 Pan Pacific Swimming Championships and pool deck interviews for the 2015 Hancock Prospecting Australian Swimming Championships. In 2021, I also added special commentary to Channel Seven’s Tokyo Olympics swimming coverage.
I’ve dived into new experiences, such as getting showered in cockroaches on I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here and even stripping off for The All New Monty.
I’ve been a guest quizmaster on Have You Been Paying Attention?, a guest host on Studio 10 and even travelled to Africa to film the documentary, Changing Views of Africa, for the World Society for Protection of Animals.