An Olympic bronze medallist, Dennis Green was the first of a select band of athletes who can claim the honour of representing their country at five Olympic Games; 1956 Melbourne, 1960 Rome, 1964 Tokyo, 1968 Mexico City, and 1972 Munich. Dennis was selected as the Australian flag bearer in the 1972 Munich Olympics.
In 1956, he paddled with his Maroubra teammate Wally Brown in the K2 10,000m. They were uncoached and remarkably, they had never raced another crew prior to the Melbourne Games. They had completed time trials and their opposition was well aware of their tremendous speed. With one lap to go the Australians hit the lead but on the final lap the crews were required to race in their designated lane and the inexperienced Australians didn’t realise they would lose four lengths moving across to their lane. They never got back to the led but managed to finish third, winning the first Olympic medal by a non European nation in the Kayak event, as well as Australia’s first canoeing Olympic medal.
In the open kayak events, Dennis won an astonishing 64 Australian Championships (singles, pairs and fours), including 18 pairs events with Barry Stuart between 1955 and 1974. Representing the St George Club, he also won 79 New South Wales state titles.
At the age of 60 Dennis retired as the National Coaching and Competitions Director of Surf Life Saving and moved from Sydney to the Gold Coast to accept the position of QLD Regional Director of Coaching for Canoeing at the Queensland Academy of Sport. Disadvantaged as a young rookie in 1956 with no coach, Dennis has given plenty back to his sport and using his vast experience and knowledge of canoeing to help coach young Olympic hopefuls as part of the AIS development program.
He has continued to compete in Masters events, winning a total of 57 World Masters Gold medals to date and has competed in all Australian Masters Games winning 75 Gold medals.
Dennis was inducted into the New South Wales Hall of Champions in 1979. He was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) in 1977 and the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in 2007 for his services to sport. Dennis was also inducted into the Australian Sports Hall of Fame in 1986.