They say good things come in small packages and these athletes definitely pack a powerful punch
Ann Odong

27 Jun 2016 - 7:42 AM  UPDATED 27 Jun 2016 - 7:40 AM

While the average height for an Australian woman is 161cm, that hasn’t stopped these 7 diminutive athletes from making a big impact.

1. Katrina Gorry, Football, 154cm

Although nicknamed “Mini”, Katrina Gorry is a giant of Australian football.  The midfielder has been one of the top performers for the Matildas in the past two years.  

Tough and tenacious, Gorry’s all action style saw her named the 2014 AFC Women’s Player of the Year, only the second Australian to gain the honour.  

Although only 5ft tall, there is plenty of power in her frame and it is often unleashed with devastating impact.  

2. Michelle Payne, Horse Racing, 152cm

While jockeys are known for their small stature, Payne faced an uphill battle to be taken seriously in horse racing.

“It’s a male dominated sport, and people think we [women] are not strong enough and all the rest of it,” she said.

Since winning her first Group 1 race in 2009 when she guided the Bart Cummings trained Allez Wonder to victory in the Toorak Handicap, Payne has battled to be recognised as one of the top jockeys in the sport.

That status was claimed when she guided Prince of Penzance to victory at the 2015 Melbourne Cup, becoming the first female jockey in history to gain the achievement.

A tough competitor, Payne has suffered falls and overcome injuries and each time she gets back on the horse and continues to reach the top.

3. Lisa De Vanna, Football, 155cm

Matildas co captain De Vanna is the definition of “pocket rocket” with the 32 year old leading the Australian forward line with her explosive pace.

A bulldog on the pitch, De Vanna hasn’t let her height hinder her with the striker more than happy to take on any player in the world. While she has scored most of her 39 international goals with her feet, she will do whatever it takes to get the job done, even if it means using her head.

In over a dozen years with the Matildas and during her time in the W-League, De Vanna has racked up an impressive number of achievements and awards to become one of the greatest players Australia has ever produced.

4. Melissa Wu, Diving, 152cm

After winning the national title in the women’s 10m platform, the 24 year old is hoping to make her third Olympics Games and add to her trophy cabinet.

Intimidating to most, Wu’s achievements on the world stage have come on the 10m platform which requires strength as well as grace and flexibility.  While she had medalled in every major international diving competition by the age 16, the Commonwealth gold and Olympic silver medalist is hungry for more.

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5. Georgie Parker, Hockey, 160cm

Since debuting in 2011, the South Australian has gone onto become a key member of the Hockeyroos.

Known for her skill with the stick, the 27 year old is one of Australia’s top attacking weapons and has notched up 32 goals in close to a 100 appearances.  Come Rio, the Hockeyroos will be hoping the dynamo will continue to lead the way.

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6. Lauren Mitchell, Gymnastics, 155cm

Okay so yes gymnasts aren’t known for their towering height but this doesn't stop Lauren Mitchell’s achievements from being significant.

Mitchell is only the second Australian female gymnast to win medals at a World Championships and the first to win gold.


At her best and injury free, the 24 year old appears to effortlessly mix grace, flexibility and power on her favourite apparatus', the balance beam and floor.

Unfortunately recent injuries have curtailed her progress but the Perth born gymnast has already won her place in history after being inducted into the Gymnastics Australia Hall of Fame in June.

7. Lisa Weightman, Marathon, 157cm

The 2010 Commonwealth Games bronze medalist has been one of Australia’s best long distance runners for almost a decade.

The Victorian marathon runner is off to her third Olympic Games after qualifying in her first marathon back since giving birth in 2015.  

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