The Royal Australian Mint (the Mint), Paralympics Australia and the Australian Olympic Committee share their ongoing support for Australia’s athletes with the release of unique collectible coins, celebrating Australia’s Olympic and Paralympic teams, as they get set for 2021.
Royal Australian Mint CEO, Ross MacDiarmid announced that with the release of the official Australian Team coins, the Mint provides lasting tributes to the grit, determination and perseverance that is embedded in each Australian athlete embarking on their renewed journey towards the Paralympic and Olympic Games in 2021.
As a proud partner of the Australian Olympic Team the Mint presents a 2020 $1 Coloured Frosted Uncirculated Coin. The coin design includes a distinctly Australian colour pallet with dynamic imagery of a volleyball player poised to strike the ball.
In addition, the Mint presents a 2020 50c Round Gold-Plated Uncirculated Coin that showcases the five new sports to feature at the Tokyo Olympic Games - karate, sports climbing, surfing, skateboarding and baseball/softball.
Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) CEO, Matt Carroll endorsed the release stating “The AOC is appreciative of the support of our partner the Royal Australian Mint.
"We are thrilled to see these special coins in the market right now to recognise the continued efforts of our athletes as they strive to keep their dreams of Tokyo alive. While the journey is now a little bit longer, our Australian athletes tell us they have Tokyo in their sights for 2021”.
In support of Australia’s Paralympic Team the Royal Australian Mint presents a 2020 $1 Coloured Frosted Uncirculated Coin. The coin design features a wheelchair rugby player and includes the Paralympics Australia colour pallet with vibrant design elements to add motion, excitement and impact.
Paralympics Australia’s CEO, Lynne Anderson reiterated support expressing that “in a time of uncertainty and significant change for all, we are very proud and humbled to share the launch of the Australian Paralympic Team Coin with the Royal Australian Mint.
"We are really proud of our ongoing partnership with the Royal Australian Mint and we’re looking forward to adding this to our collection of special edition Australian Paralympic coins.”
In the lead up to the Games, the Royal Australian Mint will continue to share important stories from the Australian Olympic Team and Australian Paralympic Team, along with insights and meaningful moments from the Mint’s Australian Olympic Ambassador Taliqua Clancy and Australian Paralympic Ambassador Chris Bond.
Join the Mint in celebrating Australia’s Olympic and Paralympic athletes, visit the online store HERE today to view the coins.
Last night (Thursday 2nd April 2020) I informed AOC CEO, Matt Carroll that commencing 1 April, I am taking a 20% cut to my consulting fees, which are determined by the AOC Culture, Remuneration and Nominations Committee.
I have taken this decision as a consequence of the Covid-19 health and financial crisis confronting all sectors of Australian society and from which the AOC is not immune.
Those fees for calendar year 2020 were to total $594,500 but the new fees are now calculated at $475,600 pa. The services provided are outlined in the AOC Annual Report each year.
The 2019 Annual Report will be released on 17 April, 2020 ahead of the AOC Annual General Meeting on 9 May. The AOC and Australian Olympic Foundation (Foundation) 2019 Annual Reports, Financial Statements and Independent Auditor’s Reports will be provided to members and placed on the AOC website by 17 April, being 21 days prior to the AOC AGM on Saturday 9 May 2020.
The AGM is being conducted online. These Annual Reports and Financial Statements record strong performances. In the case of the AOC, a surplus from operating activities of $ 5,437 million before a settlement of that amount on the AOF leaving a Nil balance.
Net assets of the Foundation increased from $150,879 million at 31 December, 2018 to $171,415 million at 31 December, 2019 with underlying cash holdings across the portfolio at 15.6 %.
However, indications are that the impact of the Covid-19 inspired financial crisis will see the Foundation return to its 31 December 2018 asset base in the short term, if not already, and in receipt of significantly reduced returns as companies underperform and suspend dividends.
This asset base is relevant to the AOC’s financial planning as the quarterly distributions it receives from the Foundation will be calculated for the four years 2021-2024 at 4% of the Foundation’s net asset base at the commencement of that period.
As happened around the 2008 GFC, under the terms of the Deed of Trust establishing the Foundation, it can revert to capital in any year in which income is insufficient.
Following the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Games by one year, the AOC has informed sponsors and partners that their rights will extend by one year, that is, to 31 December 2021.
While most of our worldwide TOP sponsors are signed for the Paris 2024 Olympiad, that is not the case with all our national sponsors. The majority of the AOC’s expenditure on its Tokyo 2020 Team will defer by one year and athletes who received direct Medal Incentive Funding in 2020, based on their 2019 performances, will be eligible for the same funding in 2021 based on their same 2019 performances.
We will continue to fund preparations for our 2022 Beijing Olympic Winter Team, including the Olympic Winter Institute of Australia, Youth Olympic Games and other teams and continue our NF and alumni support programs. This is a snap overview of the challenges the AOC faces.
While we are in a comparatively strong financial position for a not-for-profit sports organisation and can maintain our independence and financial independence through all of this, these are nevertheless uncertain times and from which the AOC and Foundation are not immune.
Wanting to protect and defend is just part of Rachael Lynch’s make up. When she’s not stopping shots on the field for the Hockeyroos, Lynch works as a nurse channelling her passions to help the nation through the COVID-19 pandemic.
For the last decade, the Rio 2016 Olympian has spent one day a week working in the Neurological Rehabilitation Ward at Fiona Stanley Hospital in Perth, assisting patients with conditions such as multiple sclerosis and stroke, but recently her focus has shifted to helping bear the load of COVID-19.
When it was announced that the Tokyo Olympics would be postponed, Lynch said she felt a sense of relief, as it gave her the opportunity to focus all of her attention on the struggle of the community at large.
“To assign too much emotion to the Olympics when there is so much devastation happening elsewhere, just wouldn’t be right.
“We are athletes, we always adapt and right now there are much bigger things going on in the world," the 2019 FIH Goalkeeper of the Year said.
As sporting clubs and facilities around the country started closing down, the national hockey squads, based at the WAIS in Perth, were given the opportunity to head home to be with their loved ones.
Melbourne is home for the 33-year-old who moved to Perth several years ago to train with the Hockeyroos, however, Lynch made the decision to stay on the other side of the country.
“We had the opportunity to go home from the program and be with our families, but when I found out Tokyo was moved to 2021, honestly, all I was thinking about was trying to get into the hospital.
“I felt a deep urge to be there helping. I’d been finding training really difficult because I just wanted to be at the hospital doing what was right for the community, not just what was right for our team,” she continued.
“I applied to work at the COVID-19 assessment centre and increase my hours from one to three days per week.”
When asked if it was difficult being away from her family during such tumultuous times, Lynch said Perth was where she needed to be for both her family's and the community's sake.
“It was an easy decision for me to stay because I wanted to work, and I wanted to help. I knew that if I went home, I would be around my mum and my nan who are both very special to me and I wouldn’t want to put them at risk,” she explained.
“But here, I live by myself, it’s much lower risk because I’m not exposing anyone else in my household. I’ve seen a lot of doctors, nurses and teachers who have had to move out of their family homes, because even if you do follow all of the precautions, it’s still a risk.”
Her roles both on and off the pitch are indicative of Lynch’s strong desire to protect those around her. When asked if she is ever fearful for her own safety in goal or as a nurse during a pandemic, the simple answer is, no.
“I’ve never had too much fear and it’s always been a deep desire of mine to help and do things for others.
“They’re both selfless positions in that there isn’t a lot of glory, but I really enjoy it and thrive on the pressure.”
Lynch says that although she appreciates the support from the community, everyone can play a role in saving lives during COVID-19.
“There’s been a lot of admiration for healthcare workers. There have been people giving out free food and applauding outside their houses," she said.
Special delivery this morning to the amazing staff on my ward at Fiona Stanley hospital. @cambridgecornerstore kindly donated delicious home cooked meals and there were some special treats from @florafauna_perth too! While health care staff keep working please do your bit and #stayhome
"It’s obviously so wonderful, but I don’t think they realise that they also have the power to save lives.
“It’s that real and that simple. All you need to do is stay home, which I know goes against everything we are used to because we want to be social and connect, but it’s honestly the most important thing everyone can do right now to save lives.”
As an ambassador for R U OK Day, Lynch also wants to encourage the community to find purpose in each day and take care of each other.
“Despite the fact we’re living in a very different situation at the moment, having a routine is really important,” she explained.
“Whether it’s some form of exercise, finding a new hobby or learning a new skill, it’s really important to give yourself purpose each day.
“Connection is also a really key point, we really need to look after each other and we’re lucky that we’ve got the technology to do that virtually even though we can’t do it in person.
“My family has a group set up, where each of us check in on my nan, just simple things like that where if everyone calls once per week, that’s about ten phone calls.
“Everyone needs that connection, not just the elderly. There are people who have lost their jobs or are struggling for whatever reason, and it’s about checking in on those around you and also, reaching out and letting people know you need some support when you need someone to lean on.”
Although it’s a long road ahead to Tokyo in 2021, Lynch says that she is excited for the Olympic Spirit to inspire hope and unity around the globe.
“I can see why Tokyo wanted to hang onto the Olympics this year, because it is so powerful to unite people,” she said.
“It is something that has so many benefits and I’m hoping that when the Olympics come around, we can reset as a community and it can help everyone get back on track.
“Sport is such a wonderful thing in that way.”
We're hosting a weekly Athlete Engagement series, designed specifically to support athletes' wellbeing.
With the Tokyo Games postponed one year, and the spread of COVID-19 creating uncertainty, we're here to support you by providing useful and practical information, and most importantly, to answer your questions.
We’ll be emailing you every Thursday with links to the Q&As, updates from the AOC, and some other content that we hope you’ll find relevant and useful.
Session 1 - Jocelyn Brewer on Digital Nutrition
As gyms close and training facilities are out of operation due to COVID-19, Aussie athletes and Tokyo Olympic hopefuls are getting creative with their training at home.
Three-time Olympic diver Melissa Wu is eyeing off a fourth Olympic Games at Tokyo next year, which is why she doesn’t want to miss a single day of training.
Without access to her local gym or pool, she has set up a fantastic gym at home, so she can build her strength and practise her flips, while also practising her social distancing.
Melissa took over the @AUSOlympicTeam Instagram account to show us a day during home isolation.
Check out more Athlete #OlympicTakeovers HERE.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC), the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the Government of Japan today agreed new dates for the Games of the XXXII Olympiad, in 2021.
The Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 will be celebrated from 23 July to 8 August 2021, and they also agreed on new dates for the Paralympic Games, which will be celebrated from 24 August until 5 September 2021.
The leaderships of the key parties came together via telephone conference earlier today, joined by IOC President Thomas Bach, Tokyo 2020 President Mori Yoshirō, Tokyo Governor Koike Yuriko and Olympic and Paralympic Minister Hashimoto Seiko, and agreed on the new schedule.
This decision was taken based on three main considerations and in line with the principles established by the IOC Executive Board (EB) on 17 March 2020 and confirmed at its meeting today. These were supported by all the International Summer Olympic Sports Federations (IFs) and all the National Olympic Committees (NOCs):
- To protect the health of the athletes and everyone involved, and to support the containment of the COVID-19 virus.
- To safeguard the interests of the athletes and of Olympic sport.
- The global international sports calendar.
These new dates give the health authorities and all involved in the organisation of the Games the maximum time to deal with the constantly changing landscape and the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The new dates, exactly one year after those originally planned for 2020 (Olympic Games: 24 July to 9 August 2020 and Paralympic Games: 25 August to 6 September 2020), also have the added benefit that any disruption that the postponement will cause to the international sports calendar can be kept to a minimum, in the interests of the athletes and the IFs. Additionally, they will provide sufficient time to finish the qualification process. The same heat mitigation measures as planned for 2020 will be implemented.
In a call on Tuesday 24 March 2020, based on information provided by the WHO at the time, IOC President Thomas Bach and Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzō concluded that the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 would be held in their complete form and not later than summer 2021. The Prime Minister reiterated that the government of Japan stands ready to fulfil its responsibility for hosting these successful Games. At the same time, IOC President Thomas Bach stressed the full commitment of the IOC to successful Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
Following today’s decision, the IOC President said: “I want to thank the International Federations for their unanimous support and the Continental Associations of National Olympic Committees for the great partnership and their support in the consultation process over the last few days. I would also like to thank the IOC Athletes’ Commission, with whom we have been in constant contact. With this announcement, I am confident that, working together with the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the Japanese Government and all our stakeholders, we can master this unprecedented challenge. Humankind currently finds itself in a dark tunnel. These Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 can be a light at the end of this tunnel.”
Andrew Parsons, the President of the IPC, commented: “It is fantastic news that we could find new dates so quickly for the Tokyo 2020 Games. The new dates provide certainty for the athletes, reassurance for the stakeholders and something to look forward to for the whole world. When the Paralympic Games do take place in Tokyo next year, they will be an extra-special display of humanity uniting as one, a global celebration of human resilience and a sensational showcase of sport. With the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games 512 days away, the priority for all those involved in the Paralympic Movement must be to focus on staying safe with their friends and family during this unprecedented and difficult time.”
The President of the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, Mori Yoshirō, said: “IOC President Thomas Bach and the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee held a conference call today to discuss in detail the revised dates of the Tokyo 2020 Games. Minister for the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games Hashimoto Seiko and Tokyo Governor Koike Yuriko joined the call.
"I proposed that the Games should be hosted between July and August 2021, and I really appreciate that President Bach, having discussed this proposal with the various international sports federations and other related organisations, kindly accepted my proposal.
"A certain amount of time is required for the selection and qualification of athletes and for their training and preparation, and the consensus was that staging the rescheduled Games during the summer vacation in Japan would be preferable. In terms of transport, arranging volunteers and the provision of tickets for those in Japan and overseas, as well as allowing for the COVID-19 situation, we think that it wold be better to reschedule the Games to one year later than planned, in the summer of 2021.
"Notwithstanding the postponement of the Olympic and Paralympic Games for the first time in history, and various other issues that have already been highlighted, the event schedule is the cornerstone of future preparations, and I am convinced that taking this decision promptly will help speed up future preparations.
"I would like to thank all the stakeholders, including the host city Tokyo and the Government of Japan, for their hard work during this short period. The Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee will continue to work hard for the success of next year's Games.”
Governor Koike Yuriko said: “In consideration of the global coronavirus outbreak, we need a certain timeframe before we fully prepare for the delivery of Games that are safe and secure for the athletes and spectators. Also, the preparation for the new dates will go smoothly, as the dates match with same timeframe as the original competition dates, corresponding with ticketing, venue staffing, volunteers and transport. Therefore, I believe that celebrating the opening of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on 23 July 2021 is ideal. The athletes, volunteers, torchbearers and local municipality governments have been concerned about the situation. Since we now have concrete new dates to aim for, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government will commit all its resources, and work closely with the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, the national government and other stakeholders to fully prepare for the delivery of Games that are safe and secure.”
It has previously been confirmed that all athletes already qualified and quota places already assigned for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 will remain unchanged. This is a result of the fact that these Olympic Games Tokyo , in agreement with Japan, will remain the Games of the XXXII Olympiad.
After missing out on Rio 2016 due to a cancer scare, canoe sprinter Bernadette Wallace is set to make Olympic history in Tokyo, as one of the first-ever women to participate in C1 and C2 at an Olympic Games.
Bernadette grew up very familiar with the elite training routine, after all, her brother Ken Wallace was an Olympic Kayaking Champion, but the creative youngster never considered herself athletic nor did she ever dream of becoming an Olympian.
“I went to figure skating school and did a couple of different sports growing up, but I was very much about my art,” she said.
“I always felt like my siblings were the sporty ones and I was the creative, artistic one.
“Whenever they’d train, I’d usually be sitting on the side of the pool deck with my art book, supporting from the sidelines,” she continued.
It wasn’t until her brother started traveling the world and became Junior World Champion that Bernadette’s interest in the sport piqued.
“Seeing the success Ken had, really inspired me and I decided to start paddling myself,” she said.
“I fell out of the boat too many times to count, but it ended up becoming the only sport that could keep my interest and one that I felt I was good at.
“It almost felt like figure skating, that feeling of gliding across the water, so it became the only sport I didn’t want to quit.”
Bernadette made her first National Championships at the age of 16 and as time went on, she started to win world cup medals in the K1 5000 and K2 1000 events.
She was well on track to make her debut at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, but her plans were derailed by a cancer diagnosis.
“It was about a month out from selection and I had a small lump on my neck where I’d had a freckle removed a year earlier, but it came back,” Wallace explained.
“I started feeling really lethargic, so I went and had it checked and it turned out to be quite a large, aggressive melanoma.
“From there I went through the process of having it removed and also having a neck dissection to test my nodes.
“I was preparing for bad news but luckily it wasn’t. I was very lucky that it didn’t metastasize or spread into my blood and am always grateful to be alive and have my family around me,” she said.
“But as time went on, I started to feel really robbed because I missed out on my chance at the Olympic Games because of something out of my control.”
Taking a break from the sport to recover, Wallace moved to Canada in 2016 to coach young paddlers, and it wasn’t until 2018 that she started training for elite competition again.
However, Wallace didn’t return to kayaking in the end. Instead, she was inspired to swap to the canoe by the young girls she was coaching
“Well, I figured that if I wanted to teach the girls how to canoe, I had to learn how to stay in one myself,” she said.
“I had these 14 and 15 year-old girls taking me out and trying to get me to the start line without falling out.
“The canoe is so technical, so I definitely had more challenges than just becoming fit and strong again, but it was so much fun to learn with these kids and that really helped me to enjoy it.”
The Australian Paddle Team visited the club in Canada where Wallace was coaching, and it was then that they noticed she’d picked up the discipline quite well.
“They invited me along to train one day and I found out that not only could I stay up in a canoe, I was keeping up with them in training and everyone got a bit excited about it,” she explained.
“I was thinking to myself, ‘I came over here to coach, I don’t know if I could be an athlete again,’ but I was enjoying it so I booked a flight home and began the process of becoming an elite athlete in canoe.
“Getting back into elite training took many, many attempts because my body wasn’t used to it. I just kept on breaking down and becoming exhausted,” she said.
“I think it took me six attempts to get back into a normal training routine before I could actually make it through an entire week of training.”
Wallace relocated to South Australia to team up with her new C2 partner, Josephine Bulmer and in 2020, the pair secured Australia’s first-ever female Olympic canoe quota spot when they won the C2 500 at the Oceania Canoe Sprint Championships.
Although a personal and sentimental victory, the 30-year-old’s Olympic debut has added weight, because she will be making history for Olympic gender equality.
Since its introduction to the Olympics in 1936, the C1 and C2 events have been male-only events, but in 2017 the IOC announced that women would be able to compete in the C1 200 and C2 500 events at Tokyo for the first time.
My Jet Pack Josie 🚀@josephinebulmer.raywhite 🚀 I remember watching Josie race basically alone at the 2016 GP2 in Adelaide. I was standing in the car park about to go home with my neck taped up, and looked out to the course and saw her racing down her lane. I remember thinking, wow this girl has guts. To take a chance on swapping boats after being Junior National Champion in the kayak multiple times. I had a fair amount of respect for that, for challenging herself. I didn’t imagine we would be partners one day but I’m so glad we are. Thank you for your patience, for your time, and your resilience 💪 you’re so freakin funny and have kept it light for me when the game has been heavy. We are only getting better and thank you for leading the way here in Australia for people like me to join in the fun. Thank you to Cristi Florian our Coach who dreams the same dream and works just as hard for it. Thank you to Craig the wizard scientist S&C at SASI that got my noodle limbs ready for the challenge 💪Australian National Champions 2020 yewww 🚀🤙 Pic @jgrimages @auspaddleteam @paddle_australia @sa_sports_institute #JetpackJosie #JosieOG #danidevito #arnie #twins #icfsprint #tokyotogether
Wallace says that showing young girls they have options and pathways is imperative to the development of the sport and gender equality.
“Giving girls and women that choice, is really powerful,” she said.
“When I was coming through, I had to choose kayak because it was the only Olympic pathway, but now, girls can compete in both kayak and canoe and they have the opportunity to pick which one they enjoy the most.
“It’s about creating another pathway for girls and women, allowing them to dream and have bigger goals and to have more women in sport who are visible.
“You can’t be what you can’t see, so competing in these events is about so much more than just me.”
She credits her brother in part, for her ‘bigger picture’ outlook on how powerful sport can be.
Wallace says the three-time Olympian acted as a big inspiration for her, not only for his success on the water but for demonstrating the values of humility and altruism.
Happy birthday slightly bigger bro @kennywallace you're so good at everything, being a boss bro, son, husband, dad, friend...then I guess paddling, saving lives, cracking funnies and angry birds etc. On your way to legend status no doubt. Hope the boys take care of you today!!! Here's to another round of birthdays on tour and our 6th year on tour! 😎 #birthdaybro #bestbroaward #duisburg #2008 #wallace #michaelsphotobomb
“What inspires me the most about Ken is that he is successful, but he shares that knowledge and success to make Australians better in the future.
“Whenever he would win, it was never just about him or racing a boat from A to B, it was about something so much bigger than that, it was a win for everyone.
“He is not self-centred one little bit, he wants his wins to demonstrate that everyone can be their best.”
Bernadette carries those same values in wanting to help others to be their best. When she’s not training, she acts as a support worker for Rio 2016 Paracanoiest Jocelyn Neumueller, where her role is to assist in “helping her live her life the way she wants to.”
Although as a child she may have never considered herself the ‘sporty one’ or an ‘athlete’, these days she embraces the title.
“I’m really happy and comfortable calling myself an athlete now because I know I’ve got the body to do it, the mindset to achieve what I want to achieve, and the resilience to deal with any hurdle that comes my way.”
Dual Olympic swimmer, the Honourable John Griffith Davies was born in Willoughby, NSW in 1929 and lived a full and impressive life both in and out of the water, until he passed away at the age of 90 this week.
One of Australia’s great swimmers in the mid-late 1940s to early 1950s, he competed at London 1948 where he finished fourth in the Men’s 200m Breaststroke and then at Helsinki 1952, won gold as the only Australian swimmer to medal at the Games.
He finished first in the heat, semi-final and final, with times of 2:39.7, 2:36.8 and 2:34.4 respectively, setting a new Olympic record in the final to claim the gold with a unique butterfly breaststroke stroke and no training for three days prior to competition.
A week before the Helsinki 1952 qualifying heats, John swam very slowly in a time trial and finished exhausted. His poor performance was put down to exhaustion and over-training, so the medal-favourite and his coach decided to change tack.
In the three days before the qualifying heats, Davies slept for 20 hours a day and didn’t swim at all, a move which paid off, seeing him emerge an Olympic Champion.
In his book, ‘On Swimming,’ Forbes Carlile said that John Davies was a great example of how detrimental over-training can be to an athlete’s performance.
“My experience with John Davies illustrates the principle that it is better, far better, to rest too much than to train too much and too hard in final preparation.
“There is no knowing what the fresh, well-rested swimmer may do with the stimulus of the great excitement of International competition. If a swimmer is over-trained the results can be disastrous. They can be monumental flops”.
John finished his Olympic career on a high, but his feats continued outside of the water.
He moved to the USA to study political science and law at the University of Minnesota and eventually took American citizenship.
He completed his degree in 1959 and began practising law and after being nominated by President Ronald Reagan in 1986, became a United States District Judge.
Davies presided over the trial of the Los Angeles Police Department officers who were charged with assaulting Rodney King in 1992 and in 1993 was named District Judge of the Year by the Criminal Justice Section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association.
He also received the Congressional Certificate of Special Recognition of Exemplary Performance and the Daniel O’Connell Award from the Irish American Bar Association before retiring from the bench in 1998.
His sporting achievements also continued to be recognised, when he was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1984 and the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 1992. He also received an Australian Sports Medal in 2000.
John Davies passed away peacefully, surrounded by his wife Marnie and children Jack and Ann on Wednesday 25 March local time (USA) in Pasadena, California USA.
Fourteen canoe sprint paddlers have been officially selected to the Australian Olympic Team, becoming the first athletes selected since confirmation of the Games postponement until 2021.
Seven athletes will make their Olympic debut, a further six selected for their second Games, and London 2012 gold medallist Murray Stewart making his third Olympic Team.
The Australian Olympic Committee has confirmed selected athletes shall remain members of the Australian Olympic Team to Tokyo, and athletes who have completed the entire qualification process, under the existing National Federation nomination criteria and international qualification systems, shall be nominated and selected in line with the existing policy.
With the Canoe Sprint athletes earning their nomination at Paddle Australia’s selection trials held in February and March this year, the fourteen athletes were officially selected by the AOC, securing their places on the Australian Olympic Team for Tokyo.
Jo Brigden-Jones, Alyssa Bull, Catherine McArthur, Shannon Reynolds, Jaime Roberts and Alyce Wood (nee Burnett) will contest the women’s kayak events (K4 500m, K2 500m, K1 500m, K1 200m), Riley Fitzsimmons, Thomas Green, Murray Stewart, Lachlan Tame, Jean van der Westhuyzen and Jordan Wood will take on the men’s kayak (K4 500m, K2 1000m, K1 1000m, K1 200m) while Josephine Bulmer and Bernadette Wallace will represent Australia in women’s canoe (C2 500m, C1 200m), with women’s sprint canoeing on the Olympic programme for the first time.
“Athletes, like communities right across the world right now, are facing uncertainty about what the coming months hold,” Mr Chesterman said. “But I’m delighted that these athletes have some certainty knowing the Games will be held in 2021 and that they are now part of the Australian Olympic Team.
“These athletes have worked so hard for years for this opportunity and the fourteen paddlers announced today will continue the fantastic Olympic legacy our country has in Canoe Sprint in Tokyo next year.
“The calibre of these athletes both on and off the water is something Australians can be proud of. With a team including paramedic Jo Brigden-Jones and firefighter Aly Bull, clearly their impact goes beyond sport to keeping our communities safe, a role that is vital right now.
“Today’s selection is a fantastic achievement and we’re proud to have you on the Team for 2021. Those back for a second and a third Games are taking a special place in Australian Olympic history. Maintaining excellence over such a long period is exceptional.
“I thank Paddle Australia, all the coaches and support staff and the family and friends who stand alongside these athletes to allow them to do what they do. “
31-year-old London Olympian Jo Brigden-Jones knows first-hand the importance of prioritising community safety in the current climate.
“It’s been such a rollercoaster of emotions, from qualifying at the trials, to not knowing if the Games would be cancelled, the official postponement and now being officially selected,” Brigden-Jones said.
“It’s such a high to qualify and I’m so proud of fulfilling a goal I’ve had for so long, but what’s happening around the world is so scary. Postponing the Games was the best thing to do for the health of the world.
“As a paramedic I have a frontline perspective of the current situation – while my Olympic dream is on hold for now, the delay means I can throw myself into my paramedic work for the next few months to do everything I can.
“It’s a different motivation to what drives me when I’m on the water, but if we can do our best to follow health advice and come together as a community we can get through this and the entire community can be back chasing our other goals as soon as we can.”
Queenslander Tom Green is the youngest canoeist on the team, with the 20-year-old set to make his Olympic debut after dominating the nomination trials.
“This is a dream come true,” Green said. “I’ve hoped to make an Olympics since I was just a kid, to have it come true is an incredible feeling.
“From looking up to Olympic champions like Kenny Wallace, to getting to train alongside him and learning from the entire team – athletes, coaches and support staff – I couldn’t ask for a better learning environment. Everything I’ve been able to achieve is purely down to the coaching, support, advice and encouragement from the paddling team.
“The postponement is definitely the right call, what’s going right now is much bigger than sport and needs everyone to work together to get through it. I’m looking forward to seeing the world come through it and being able to come back on a level playing field at the Olympics next year.
“I think athletes around the world are going through the same thing – we’re used to going 100 miles an hour and we’re down to zero, but I’ll take the time for some much needed rest, will work out at home and just take the best advice from our coaches and support staff over the coming months. I’ll be more motivated than ever to be at my absolute best for Tokyo next year.”
Paddle Australia President Andrea Quitty welcomed the paddlers’ selection for the Games next year.
"We are very proud to see a full team of Canoe Sprint paddlers selected for Tokyo 2020 and are looking forward to seeing them in Tokyo next year,” Ms Quitty said. “It’s a very exciting team that includes Games debutantes, London and Rio Olympians, Olympic medallists and for the first time ever our women canoeists.
“We have seen some very impressive performances at our Olympic selection trials that made for a tight and highly competitive battle over the places and it is great to see this recognised despite the postponement of the Games this week
“We are very fortunate to have such an exceptional mix of experience and young talent on the team. There are challenging times ahead for all of us but we know our athletes will continue to strive for success with the same resilience and strength that they have shown in securing their Olympic team places. Congratulations all and we are looking forward to celebrating with you and the rest of the world when we get to Tokyo 2020 next year. "
Today’s selection takes the selected Team size for Tokyo 2020 to 56 athletes.
The Australian Olympic Committee has confirmed selected athletes shall remain members of the Australian Olympic Team to Tokyo, and athletes who have completed the entire qualification process, under the existing National Federation nomination criteria and international qualification systems, shall be nominated and selected in line with the existing policy. Where athletes have not completed the entire qualification process, the next steps will depend on actions taken by International Federations and the IOC regarding international qualification systems.