Cam Bolton: I have so much to explore

Submitted by Jeff.Dickinson.Fox on Thu, 08/11/2022 - 11:00
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Triple snowboard cross Olympian Cam Bolton sits down to provide an insight into how he is approaching the next phase of his career, with thanks to Snow Australia.

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I’m actually not that good at snowboarding. I’m not that strong and I’m not that powerful either. I’m slow in the first metre out of the gate, I get passed a lot and I’ve had my fair share of injuries. Why am I telling you this? Firstly, because it’s true. Secondly because after far too long, I’m finally doing something about it.

The first time I saw footage of snowboard cross at the top level was at the 2010 Vancouver Games. I watched Chumpy Pullin and Damon Hayler compete for Australia and I was hooked right away. A far cry from the courses I had competed on in Australia. The excitement! At 20 years of age, I ventured overseas for the second time in my short life and have been doing back-to-back winters ever since.

Three years later I was leading the semi-final at my first Olympics but succumbed to a season ending injury in a racing incident. I still felt on top of the world and I was optimistic about the future. Over the following five seasons I had four season-ending injuries – a quick way to pump the brakes on any progression. After the fourth, in the semi-final of the 2018 PyeongChang Games, I decided that something needed to change. I was sick of being injured, sick of crashing, sick of losing heats and sick of sucking. I needed to change something; I needed a new approach.

My thesis was that I needed to go back and work on the fundamentals of snowboarding I had neglected. All my injuries were from racing incidents with other riders. I needed to be better in close quarters, better at staying on my feet and better at crashing without being injured (yes, this is a skill). I needed to seek out my weaknesses and work on the part of snowboarding that I knew nothing about - freestyle snowboarding. If I could improve my freestyle skills and awareness on a snowboard, I figured I would crash less frequently, crash less severely and improve faster because I was staying healthy.

During my younger years in Australia I never spent any time riding freestyle. Instead I was busy changing between ski boots, snowboard boots and cross-country boots. I was getting exposure to a lot of different skills, feelings and experiences which was great, but I was more of a generalist and was rarely on the podium at Interschools.

To learn freestyle fundamentals I needed to ride in the terrain park. As a dual Olympian who should know how to snowboard, I can assure you that turning up to the park, day after day, and always being the worst rider was an incredibly humbling experience. Magnified by the fact that I knew almost everyone on the mountain – cue another lesson about ego. On the flipside, it also reminded me of times when I was the worst snowboarder on my team and that being surrounded by people who are better than you is by far the fastest way to learn. In the terrain park, that was my reality – perfect.

At 28 years-old I did my first 180 while grabbing my board for the first time in my life. “How pathetic!” you might be thinking. It was. I’d hit 80ft+ jumps while surrounded by other riders and had felt comfortable, yet I couldn’t spin a 180 or 360 off a 10ft park jump.

Fast forward to the next World Cup season in Feldberg, Germany. In a training run another rider accidentally ran me toward the fence as we went up a blind double. I stuck my hands in the fence early, spun a 360 in the air, got my feet down first and then slid out but avoided injury. All my fears of another season ending injury came flooding back but, on this occasion, my very basic and newfound freestyle skillset had actually saved me. This was the first example of my plan seeming to work! The next day I qualified first, and the following day I won my first World Cup. It was a sliding doors moment for me – my crash in training would normally have been a broken bone but I only had a bruise.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Cam Bolton (@cameronbolton)

 

I went on to podium at three of the next four World Cups. My life would be very different without that string of podiums.

As I started to freeride more and improve my freestyle skills, I fell in love with snowboarding all over again. My growing skillset meant I could have more fun because I could be more creative and enjoy more varying terrain. More fun meant more snowboarding, more progression and it’s no surprise that my results had started to improve too. These were added benefits that I didn’t see coming when I set out to learn basic freestyle fundamentals. Learning can be a powerful and long-lasting drug.

It’s ironic it took me so long to realise that I needed to become more of a generalist than a specialist to progress faster in the multi-skill discipline of snowboard cross. After all, it was my multi-discipline approach that allowed my rapid progress in snowboarding to begin with. All along I should have gone back to work on fundamental skills if I wanted to progress faster. By ignoring these skills I created bigger obstacles for myself down the track. There comes a point when lacking a fundamental skill will stunt progression. This manifested as injuries and time off snow for me. The low hanging fruit had been right in front of my eyes the entire time.

Despite actively working on my many specific weaknesses in snowboard cross and snowboarding, it recently dawned on me that my generalist approach to foundational snowboard skills could be applied at an even more basic and human level. I believe this is what will put me in the best possible position to excel through my sport. It’s a simple concept – movement.

New thesis: I need to become the best mover possible to realise my potential as an athlete. If I can work towards complete mastery of my movement, which involves both mind and body, then I believe I can consistently be on the podium in a sport that is notoriously hard to be consistent. I have had a couple of ok results so far, but all have come whilst being a novice mover. I see this as my greatest opportunity for improvement. So far, I’ve discovered that this approach has given me more ‘meaning’ behind my training. This has led to greater awareness, presence, and engagement whilst training – which has led to greater learning. I can already see these three key elements spilling over into other areas of my life, including into a social setting. I’ve realised that awareness, presence, and engagement are actually skills, not traits. They require constant practice. In a society with a shortening attention span, these can become weapons and provide us with a competitive advantage.

If I can become better at developing force and generating power through boxing, improve my strength and balance through gymnastics, my range of motion and balance through dancing, spatial awareness through skipping and juggling and then improve the understanding of my own body - then I can massively boost my potential as an athlete. I want exposure to as many different yet simple movement patterns as possible. I’ll then be able to understand more complex and specialised movement patterns because I’ve effectively done the required reading. This translates to being able to tackle features on a snowboard cross track with varied approaches and techniques, as well as making it easier to copy other athletes who are the world’s best over particular features after watching video review – because I KNOW I can move in the same way.

How am I doing this? I’m getting exposure to as many different forms of movement as possible. The less I understand about the activity, the better. I want to explore various martial arts, gymnastics, athletics, skipping, juggling and dancing to name a few. Some of these things scare me as a 31 year-old as I step back to being a complete novice, but I believe that is where the magic is. Yes it takes time, yes it requires hard work, but it will also be a fascinating journey of self-discovery, learning and it is an investment in myself.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Cam Bolton (@cameronbolton)

 

I’ll still be working hard in the gym with a focused and specialised approach at times, but I see these extracurricular activities complementing my preparation in the same way that freestyle skills have complemented my snowboard cross. I’ve only just started down the path, but I’ve already fixed multiple old injuries and unlocked flexibility and movement that I didn’t know my body was capable of. I’m already enjoying my off-snow training more. I feel inspired and empowered because I can feel myself moving better and without pain for the first time in many years as I move more efficiently and the way my body was designed to.

I often hear people say, ‘this kid is a natural’ or ‘they’re naturally good at everything’. While this may be true to an extent, I think it is for entirely different reasons to what many think. Most people I see believe that as humans we either have this natural ability or we don’t. I completely disagree. Those moments where we make split second decisions and it all comes together, or we figure out a skill faster than those around us are simply examples of when we’ve had enough prior knowledge or experience from previous tasks and situations that we can adapt to new and ever changing stimuli or at least take an educated guess at what our current situation requires. It takes time and effort for us to get the exposure to enough skills and tasks that we then appear to have this ‘natural ability’ when attempting new activities or executing a skill in pressure situations. Talent isn’t binary and you certainly aren’t born with it. Thinking so is a cop out and a convenient excuse for mediocrity in my eyes.

My plan is to learn as many unfamiliar movements and skills as possible both on and off snow, so that when it comes time and the chips are down, I have the tools and experience to adapt and execute the skills and moves required in my snowboard cross competition environment. Worst case, it will at least help me make split-second educated guesses.

As I pursue movement, I’m sure I’ll learn a lot that I don’t expect to and won’t learn some lessons that I do expect to. However, combining this with my exploration of freestyle snowboarding, I have complete faith that I’ll improve my snowboarding, improve my strength, improve my power, improve my range of motion, improve my speed out of the gate, help me lead heats and stay in front whilst also helping prevent injuries. All this while chipping away at my other weaknesses and continuing to work on my strengths. Frothing.

When I was younger, I always thought I was at a competitive disadvantage because my friends would all go overseas to train and compete and I never did. I didn’t realise that being active and participating in so many different activities and sports over summer was helping with a more generalist approach and laying the foundations for me to become a better athlete. Funny that it took me another 15 years to realise how instrumental it was to my development as a young athlete and to shift focus back in that direction now that I have more time and maturity.

I have so much to explore and this room for improvement is highly motivating and fills me with optimism for the future. I’ll continue to be a student of the sport, continue with the beginner’s mindset and I’m looking forward to riding this wave with my teammates.

Don’t stop playing, don’t stop moving and don’t stop learning. That’s when you start getting old.

Cam Bolton
National Snowboard Team

Large Olympic contingent headline Dolphins squad for Duel in the Pool

Submitted by Jeff.Dickinson.Fox on Wed, 08/10/2022 - 13:20
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Tokyo 2020 gold medallists Emma McKeon, Kaylee McKeown, Mollie O'Callaghan, Zac Stubblety-Cook, Madi Wilson, Brianna Throssell, Meg Harris and Chelsea Hodges will spearhead Australia's squad for the Duel in the Pool against the USA in Sydney between 19-21 August.

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The group of 34 Aussie athletes, which includes 19 Olympians, is set for a start on Friday 19 August at Bondi Beach, before two nights of an action-packed pool program at Sydney Olympic Park on Saturday 20 August and Sunday 21 August.

Following Australia’s most successful overseas Commonwealth Games swimming campaign, medal-winning stars from Birmingham 2022 are also set to feature in the competition.

Open water specialists Chelsea Gubecka, Kai Edwards and Kyle Lee have been added to the squad to contest the relay with Kareena Lee at Sydney’s Bondi Beach.

The squad has a number of Australian swimming’s next generation of rising talent including Se-Bom Lee, Mikayla Smith, Matilda Smith, Grayson Bell, Tom Nowakowski and Shaun Champion.

Dolphins Head Coach Rohan Taylor expressed his pride in what he believes will be a formidable squad for the visiting Americans to face.

“Our athletes relish every chance to wear the gold cap, as most recently shown by the outstanding results in Birmingham,” Taylor said.

“Any Australian team you make is special, but when presented with the opportunity to face our greatest rival in front of a home crowd I know these athletes will step up to the challenge. Pressure is a privilege, and it is one we embrace.”

“This team is a wonderful mix of generational stars and those forging a path right on their heels and I’d encourage our fans to ensure they are there to witness first hand some of the best athletes in the world go to work.”

Duel in the Pool will be the first time since 2007 that USA Swimming have competed as a team on Australian shores.

To secure your seat for Duel in the Pool and witness swimming’s ultimate rivalry, click here.

Australian Dolphins Team for Duel in the Pool 2022

Grayson Bell
Shaun Champion
Ellie Cole
Tamsin Cook
Kai Edwards
Chelsea Gubecka
Meg Harris
Chelsea Hodges
Mack Horton
Shayna Jack
Mitch Larkin
Kareena Lee
Kyle Lee
Se-Bom Lee
Matt Levy
Will Martin
Ash McConnell
Emma McKeon
Kaylee McKeown
Leah Neale

Tom Nowakowski
Mollie O’Callaghan
Lani Pallister
Cody Simpson
Brendon Smith
Matilda Smith
Mikayla Smith
Jenna Strauch
Zac Stubblety-Cook
Matt Temple
Brianna Throssell

Sam Williamson
Madi Wilson
Brad Woodward

*Olympians in bold

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AOC congratulates Australia's Commonwealth Games Team

Submitted by Jeff.Dickinson.Fox on Tue, 08/09/2022 - 15:38
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The AOC has congratulated Australia’s athletes, Commonwealth Games Australia (CGA) and team management for their outstanding campaign in Birmingham after Australia topped the medal tally.

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AOC President Ian Chesterman says the athletes and their respective sports should be proud of their efforts, just as Australians are proud of what the team achieved.

“Again, we see the power of sport and the great stories of our athletes inspiring our nation. It was a privilege to witness the effort and commitment first-hand. Congratulations to the sports and the support teams behind every athlete.

“With so many sports represented in both the Olympic movement and the Commonwealth Games, I am sure we will see many of these athletes at the starting line at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

“We have an exciting green and gold runway leading into Brisbane 2032 also, with the Commonwealth Games coming to Victoria in four years time, an exciting part of that journey.

“But for now, to everyone involved, well done and thank you for shining a light on the very positive contribution sport can make to Australia,” Mr Chesterman concluded.

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Weekend Wrap: Aly Bull cleans up at World Champs and Aussie Olympians impress at Comm Games

Submitted by Jeff.Dickinson.Fox on Mon, 08/08/2022 - 15:15
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Aly Bull’s canoe sprint heroics have been rewarded at the World Championships, while a bevy of Tokyo 2020 Olympians shined in Birmingham to headline the weekend action in Olympic sports.

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Canoe Sprint

The ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships in Canada were a double delight for dual Olympian Aly Bull, claiming gold in the women’s K1 1000 and gold in the mixed K2 500 with Jackson Collins on Sunday.

“It’s been a good day. I really wanted to have a good start [in K1 1000]. I knew it was going to be long and I had to keep it strong but I also just wanted to save some energy for our mixed K2 which was a really tight turnaround,” she said.

Jackson was ecstatic with the result.

“It’s awesome, every time I think about it, I keep smiling. It’s such an amazing feeling to be able to go out there and race with Bully and now to be world champions together,” he said.

Aly’s medal haul from the World Champs is rounded out by a silver in the women’s K4 500, in a team with Ella Beere, Alexandra Clarke and Yale Steinpreis.

Jean van der Westhuyzen’s solo effort in the men’s K1 500 earned silver. He also teamed up with fellow Olympic champion Tom Green in the men’s K2 500 and finished with the bronze medal.

Full results here.

Cycling – Road & Track

Georgia Baker is the owner of three gold medals from the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games after her latest accomplishment in the women’s road race.

The switch from track cycling (gold in the women’s 25km points race and women’s 4000m team pursuit) to road cycling went without a hitch, as the 27-year-old dual Olympian completed a dream Games.

She received great support from her cycling teammates on the 112-kilometre course in Birmingham’s south, and Sarah Roy also found her way onto the podium for bronze.

Athletics

Kelsey-Lee Barber has followed up her javelin gold at the World Championships two weeks ago with more gold at the Commonwealth Games, this time being pushed by another Aussie in Mackenzie Little.

Kelsey-Lee’s sixth and final throw (64.43m) propelled her to Commonwealth gold, with Mackenzie settling for silver after throwing a Personal Best 64.27 metres.

In the men’s 1500m Oliver Hoare put on a finish for the ages, as he entered the final straight in fourth but powered past world champion Jake Wightman (SCO) and Kenyans Timothy Cheruiyot and Abel Kipsang to snatch gold.

He’s the first Aussie man since Herb Elliott in 1958 to win 1500m gold at the Comm Games.

Kurtis Marschall became a back-to-back Commonwealth champion in the men's pole vault, the same feat achieved by Olympic champion pole vaulter Steve Hooker.

In Birmingham Kurtis cleared 5.70m for the gold, then lifted the bar to 5.81m for one shot at beating Steve's 5.80m mark.

Peter Bol has followed up his fourth-place finish in the 800m at Tokyo 2020 with a silver medal in Birmingham.

In a time of 1:47.66 the 28-year-old was 0.14 of a second off gold medallist Wyclife Kinyamal (KEN), which earned Peter his first international medal.

Cedric Dubler has backed up the bronze medal he won at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games with another in the men’s decathlon, with Aussie Daniel Golubovic landing silver.

Working off a 12-day turnaround from finishing the decathlon at the World Athletics Championships, they showed great perseverance to be highly competitive in the 10 track and field events.

Read more here.

Table Tennis

Yangzi Liu created history on Sunday in becoming the first Australian woman to win a singles table tennis medal at the Olympics, World Championships or Commonwealth Games.

It was a hard-earned bronze medal for the 20-year-old on her Comm Games debut, coming from a 4-3 victory in the bronze medal match against Sreeja Akula from India.

Read more here.

Diving

Australian divers took out four gold medals in Birmingham on the weekend, adding to Australia’s impressive medal tally from the pool at the Commonwealth Games.

On Saturday Maddison Keeney and Anabelle Smith became Commonwealth champions in the women’s synchronised 3m springboard final.

Then 14-year-old Charli Petrov in tandem with Melissa Wu claimed gold on the women’s synchronised 10m platform.

More gold was in store on Sunday for Maddison on the women’s 3m springboard and for Cassiel Rousseau on the 10m platform.

Beach Volleyball

Chris McHugh and Paul Burnett defeated Canada in a tight men’s gold medal match 17-21 21-17 20-18 to claim the Commonwealth title.

Chris and Paul saved two match points to beat Sam Schachter and Daniel Dearing. For Chris, this success adds to the gold he won at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Taliqua Clancy and Mariafe Artacho del Solar had a repeat of their 2018 Comm Games result, finishing with silver in a rematch of the 2018 Comm Games final.

Boxing

Adelaide’s Callum Peters put up an excellent fight in the middleweight division to earn silver on his Comm Games debut. The 19-year-old was part of a highly entertaining gold medal bout against Scotland’s Sam Hickey, which the judges ruled on with a 3-2 points decision.

Then 38-year-old Kaye Scott proved once again that age is no barrier in sport as she too claimed a silver medal for her efforts in the light middleweight division.

Hockey

The Hockeyroos will return home with silver as the Commonwealth Games gold medal match went the way of the host nation.

England finished the tournament with a 2-1 win over the Aussies, with a gallant Hockeyroos unable to recover from a 2-0 first-half deficit. Rosie Malone found the back of the net for Australia in the final minute.

The Commonwealth Games ends a two-month road trip for the Hockeyroos, which produced a bronze medal at the World Champs and silver in Birmingham.

Tonight it's the Kookaburras that have their shot at a seventh consecutive Commonwealth Games gold medal against India from 9:30pm AEST live and free on Channel Seven and 7plus.

Tennis

At the site Nick Kyrgios last won an ATP singles title three years ago, he's been crowned an Open champion once again in Washington.

He got it done 6-4 6-3 in the final against Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka. Nick only dropped three points on serve for the entire match and didn't lose a service game throughout the entire tournament.

Shortly after in the doubles final with Jack Sock, the pair defeated Ivan Dodig (CRO) and Austin Krajicek (USA) 7-5 6-4.

It’s another encouraging result for Nick, who has won a doubles title in back-to-back weeks, as he builds for a US Open run at the end of this month.

Equestrian

London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympic dressage rider Lyndal Oatley has produced her best ever World Championships score at a Grand Prix in Herning, Denmark on Sunday.

She scored 72.189% with Eros the horse, and together they have qualified as part of the top 30 to compete in the Grand Prix special.

 

While in teams competition Tokyo 2020 debutant Simone Pearce, riding Fiderdance, brought home the Australian Dressage Team’s performance at the Grand Prix – scoring 73.463%.

Overall the Team placed 8th in the 19-country competition.

Golf

Minjee Lee has finished on a tie for fourth at -7 in the women’s British Open in Scotland, three shots back of the winner Ashleigh Buhai (RSA). Aussie Steph Kyriacou finished a further two shots back to be in a tie for seventh.

Buhai had a comfortable lead heading into the final day but a shock +4 final round from her, compared to Minjee’s final round -2, made for an exciting finish.

The result consolidates Minjee’s position as the second-best ranked LPGA golfer in the world and earned her the Major player of the year award for having the most outstanding record across all five Majors in the LPGA season.

Surfing

The first Australian Surf Champions of 2022 have been anointed at North Haven Beach in New South Wales, as veterans Freya Prumm and Reef Heazlewood became national champions for the first time.

Reef finished well clear (15.5 points) of runner up Micah Margieson (11.65), and on the women's side Freya (12.4) got the better of Charli Hurst (11.35).

Read more here.

Talking back Tokyo: Riding the Boomers to bronze from the Torres Strait

Submitted by Jeff.Dickinson.Fox on Sun, 08/07/2022 - 09:30
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One year ago today, celebrations broke out across Australia as the Boomers’ 65-year odyssey for an Olympic medal reached its rose gold climax.

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There was little wonder just how much winning the bronze medal match at Tokyo 2020 meant to the Australian basketball community, with history dating much further back than their fourth-place finish at Rio 2016.

It took 32 years after the Boomers made their Olympic debut at Melbourne 1956 to reach a medal match, where they went down to the USA 78-49 in the fight for bronze at Seoul 1988.

With NBA players allowed in Olympic squads from 1992, Australia still showed they were one of the best basketball nations in the world, going on to play bronze medal matches at Atlanta 1996, Sydney 2000 and Rio 2016 – all ending in agonising defeat.

Competing at Tokyo 2020 was the 15th time the Boomers had sent a team to the Olympics, tied with Brazil for the second-most appearances in the world behind the USA.

Prior to Tokyo 2020, China’s and Puerto Rico’s men’s national teams were the second-most starved for a medal, having played at nine Olympics. Neither competed at Tokyo 2020.

Dual basketball Olympian Danny Morseu knows just what the Tokyo result meant. A proud Torres Strait Islander from the Kemer Kemer Meriam Nation who competed at Moscow 1980 and Los Angeles 1984, Danny remembers the uphill battle the Boomers have faced over generations.

“At Moscow 1980 we were a semi-professional team. There were about 16 teams playing at the Moscow Games and we went so close,” Danny said.

“In our group we beat Italy, we beat Sweden by 20 and we were up on Cuba by nine and lost by seven.

“Italy had to beat Cuba by exactly seven points, otherwise we would have gone into the top six in the world to playoff for the medal rounds.”

Danny and the Boomers sat in the stands to watch Italy play Cuba, and you guessed it, Italy beat Cuba by exactly seven points.

“We’d only lost one game at the tournament and finished seventh. It was disappointing. Italy lost to Yugoslavia in the gold medal match. That could have been us.”

Danny’s nephew is fellow Olympian Patty Mills and both are deeply connected to their Torres Strait Island culture and heritage.

On the eve of the Boomers’ bronze medal match – where a tough matchup against Slovenia’s leader and opposing point guard Luka Doncic was impending - it was a significant period in Patty’s life for other reasons.

Only days prior Patty had the added requirement of needing to sort out his NBA future, as the free agency period had well and truly taken off with roster spots filling up at a blinding pace.

Business moves very fast in the NBA and the Olympics weren’t about to slow NBA teams down. It’s not uncommon for players to be offered a deal and to have an hour to accept a life-changing contract.

After 10 years with the San Antonio Spurs, Patty signed with the Brooklyn Nets – about 3,000 kilometres from where he was based in Texas and 11,000 kilometres from the Athletes’ Village in Tokyo.

As significant as basketball is, some things for Patty and Danny will always be bigger than basketball.

“I’ve seen Patrick was very close to his grandparents,” Danny said.

“Before he was going to play in the medal round, I went to their graveyard and took photos standing at their grave and sent it to Patrick and wished him all the best.

“I said ‘grandad, myself and the Torres Strait are spiritually with you’. It’s deeper than basketball and it connects with Patrick culturally and spiritually as a Torres Strait Islander.”

In June 2014 Patty had the thrill of playing in the NBA Finals with the Spurs against the Miami Heat, led by LeBron James.

Following game four of the series which carried enormous weight, Patty easily put everything into perspective.

“As far as I’m concerned, nothing that I do or nothing that gets in my way will even come close to my culture and my heritage. It doesn’t matter if it’s an Olympic Games or the NBA Finals, my family and my culture, where I come from, is by far first and foremost,” Patty said.

When things are good off the court, it shows on the court.

Patty, the Opening Ceremony Flag Bearer for Australia at Tokyo 2020, led the way from the outset against Slovenia - scoring 12 of the Boomers' first 25 points to give them a four-point early second quarter lead.

 

He was only just getting started, as Patty scored or assisted on 20 second quarter-points to give Australia a 53-45 buffer at half-time.

“When you get to this game and this point, it was really the two guys next to me (Patty and Joe Ingles) who were the most invested in this, 12 years of work, to do something that our country has never ever done,” Boomers coach Brian Goorjian said.

“Basically, the gameplan and what took place was to put the ball in their hands to make the decisions in the half-court offence.”

 

Luka Doncic hit a three-pointer with 4:35 left to pull Slovenia within six points, then Australia put the foot down to score 10-straight for an unassailable 102-86 lead which became a 107-93 victory.

On the Boomers’ fifth time around in an Olympic medal match, they wouldn’t come home empty handed. The drought was over.

 

Patty finished with 42 points and nine assists, supported by 16 from Joe and 14 from Jock Landale. Doncic was held to 22 points (7-20 FG), eight rebounds, seven assists and eight turnovers. Matisse Thybulle and Nick Kay were swarming defensively to pick up seven steals.

“There was no doubt in my mind going into this that he (Patty) was going to bring it home for us,” Joe said when reflecting on the bronze medal match.

Danny meanwhile was on an emotional rollercoaster.

“I was on Thursday Island at the time and when we won the medal I was crying,” Danny said.

“We were just jumping for joy and we just couldn't believe it. It was really, really special.

“We watched him go through the presentation and I was grateful Patrick acknowledged me in that first interview after the game, because I’ve been part of his journey all his life.

“We've been so proud of the team and Patrick’s leadership.”

 

Patty’s leadership with the Boomers extends beyond the ‘gold vibes only’ Olympic campaign.

Boomers big man Aron Baynes was going through a harrowing ordeal at a time when he should have been side-by-side with the team and then celebrating their medal success.

Stuck in a Japanese hospital watching the bronze medal match on TV, due to severe neck and back injuries sustained in warmups and in the locker room from earlier in the tournament, Patty and the Boomers made a special gesture for the big man on the podium.

“To the big man! Baynesy, get ‘em boys, Big Banger! Get ‘em, Bangers!”

 

It’s also been Patty’s actions behind the scenes that have gone a long way to connecting the history of the Boomers with the current squad.

When it came to finding a way to celebrate the Boomers’ success from Tokyo in a pandemic restricted world, like he did on the court at the Olympics, Patty found a way to get the group together.

“We went on a Brisbane river cruise, Patrick organised it all, and a tour of the city with all the Boomers who had been to the Olympics or the World Championships,” Danny said.

“We had a big celebration and spent some really good quality time together. Just yarning on about the experience, what it felt like winning a bronze for Australia and how proud he was as a Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal person.”

Former players such as Brian Kerle, Robert Sibley, Leroy Loggins and Nathan Jawai travelled from far and wide to meet up with the Tokyo 2020 rose gold medallists.

“Then we got presented with an Akubra hat with a number on it, a personalised number for each Boomers player. He's created this Australian Boomers club now where he’s given Boomers numbers out to players who played in the past.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Patty Mills (@balapat)

 

While Patty has been a part of the Boomers since being named to the squad as a 17-year-old in 2006, the youngest ever for Australia, getting there didn’t come without obstacles.

 
“They thought he was too small. When I went to the AIS (Australian Institute of Sport) I watched Patrick, he was playing way above all the other kids. Joe Ingles, he was way up there too,” Danny said.

“Brian Goorjian was the one that opened the door for him, he gave him the opportunity. Patrick took a step forward, put his foot in the door and everything is history after that.”

Patty’s first taste of the Olympics at Beijing 2008 was before he played in a professional game, with his NBA debut not until 2009.

The proud Kokatha, Naghiralgal, Duaureb-Meriam man has led the Boomers in scoring during all four of his Olympic campaigns and had Joe Ingles by his side.

“We’ve been through a lot together, on the court, off the court,” Mills said on the night they won bronze. “It’s all paid off.”

Since London 2012 Patty has shown remarkable longevity, having averaged more than 21.2 points per game to be among the top three scorers at London, Rio and Tokyo.

Back home in the Torres Strait, basketball is the sport of choice in a lot of ways due to Patty Mills.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Patty Mills (@balapat)

 

Kids have been inspired and are letting their imagination run wild with their own sporting dreams. With Queensland locked in to host the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games, there’s an extra incentive for the youth of today who can aim to represent Australia at the Olympics in their own state.

Take Carmen for example, Patty Mills’ niece who wants to follow in his footsteps.

 

It’s Patty’s impact in sport and the community that this year led to him receive the nation’s highest accolade, the Member of the Order of Australia (AM).

As for the immediate future of Australian men’s basketball, and looking ahead to the next Olympic campaign at Paris 2024, there’s a young brigade who are on the path to carrying the Boomers forward.

19-year-old point guard Josh Giddey turned in an excellent NBA rookie season in 2021-22. This year another guard Dyson Daniels was a top 10 selection in the 2022 NBA draft. Then there’s Matisse Thybulle, Jock Landale and Josh Green from the Tokyo 2020 squad who are on NBA rosters and are set to hit their prime.

With under two years until the 2024 Olympics, bring on Paris.

Community Wrap - July 2022

Submitted by Jeff.Dickinson.Fox on Thu, 08/04/2022 - 09:20
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July was a massive month for sharing the Olympic spirit throughout Australia! From the launch of the 10-year Green & Gold Runway to Brisbane 2032 with communities having a go at Olympic sport, to a special Olympics Unleashed milestone, and Olympians sharing their stories with young Australians from the Torres Strait to Tamworth, July was filled with fantastic community spirit.

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Olympic spirit in the Torres Strait

Olympians shared the Olympic spirit at the top of Australia, with a special NAIDOC week trip to the Torres Strait.

Six Olympians, four Indigenous Olympian Coaching Scholarship coaches and members of the Royal Australian Air Force helped run a community basketball day and BBQ for more than 50 Torres Strait children and their families, as well as a special Olympics Unleashed milestone.

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Find out more here.

Olympics Unleashed passed 250,000 milestone

The NAIDOC week Olympics Unleashed visit with 50 students in Thursday Island created a remarkable milestone, with 250,000 students across the country having taken part in the program.

Yuin woman and racewalker Beki Smith (London 2012) and Dunghutti boxer Brad Hore (Sydney 2000, Athens 2004) shared their Olympic journey with Torres Strait students, sharing their own Olympic journey and how it can help the kids achieve their own goals.

The 250,000 milestone has come from 1,885 school visits, with more than 250 Olympians trained to deliver the program around the country. It also includes 25,000 students who received virtual Olympics Unleashed visits during lockdowns in 2020 and 2021.

Find out more here.

Olympic ‘Walk With Us’ forum celebrated Indigenous achievements

The AOC has held its second ‘Walk with Us’ forum to cap off NAIDOC Week, celebrating Australia’s 60 known Indigenous Olympians and acknowledging Australia’s Indigenous Olympic history and achievements.

Indigenous Olympians Patrick Johnson, Beki Smith, Danny Morseu and Kyle van der Kuyp were joined by AOC CEO Matt Carroll, AOC Athletes’ Commission members Kenny Wallace and Greta Small along with Director of From the Heart Dean Parkin in an open panel session at Meta Headquarters in Barangaroo, Sydney.

The panellists explored the theme of ‘Walking Together’ split into three yarns - Leaving Footprints, Creating Footprints and Future Footprints to discuss where the Australian Olympic movement has come from, current projects and future opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

Find out more here.

10-year Green & Gold Runway to Brisbane 2032 launched

More than 10,000 South East Queenslanders shared in the celebration to mark the start of the 10-year Green & Gold Runway until the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Saturday 23 July was exactly 10 years until the Brisbane 2032 Olympic Opening Ceremony – and community members celebrated by joining Olympians and Paralympians in having a go at a range of Olympic and Paralympic sports across Queensland.

Check out all the action below.

 

#HaveAGo Month and Brisbane 2032 Digital Time Capsule

In the month between Olympic Day on 23 June and to the start of the Green & Gold Runway on 23 July, young Australians got involved in the Olympic movement in a number of ways.

Throughout the month, thousands of Australians tried their hand at different Olympic sports, tracking their progress and sharing their experience.

Young Aussies also shared how they want to be a part of Brisbane 2032, submitting videos of their goals for how to be involved in the Brisbane Games to the Brisbane 2032 Digital Time Capsule.

Check out one of our time capsule entries below and submit yours here.

 

Tokyo Olympians joined the fun at National Primary Games

Tokyo Olympians Jess Pickering, Keesja Gofers and Dominic Clarke joined more than a thousand students at the National Primary Games in Tamworth.

The festival of sport for children aged 8 to 14 featured two days of sporting activity, including football and gymnastics.

“Here in Tamworth we want to help inspire kids to stay involved in sport, have fun and work towards any goal they have,” said Tokyo 2020 trampolinist Dominic Clarke. “Watching these amazing young gymnasts have such a great time brings me back to my first competitions which ignited my love for the sport.”

Australian Olympians received grants from the World Olympians Association

Olympians Rachael Lynch and Selina Scoble each received grants from the World Olympians Association (WOA) for separate projects to promote Olympic values.

Hockey player Rachael Lynch will deliver coaching clinics and face-to-face mentoring for young women across Australia, with a particular focus on rural areas, while volleyballer Selina Scoble has developed message bracelets that promote motivation, inspiration and happiness – each handmade bracelet containing a mantra to assist personal mindsets.

Find out more here.

Australian Olympic Change-Maker student nominations

Australian Olympic Change-Maker nominations continued to fly in, as schools nominate students to be rewarded for demonstrating the Olympic spirit in their communities.

From major projects to small acts of positivity, we have seen the impact youth can have on their communities and schools are taking the opportunity to recognise these inspirational students.

High school teachers can nominate students now until Friday 26 August – find out more and nominate your Australian Olympic Change-Makers here.

Vale Doug Donoghue AM

Submitted by Jeff.Dickinson.Fox on Wed, 08/03/2022 - 14:40
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The AOC is mourning the passing of a stalwart of the Olympic movement in Australia and former member of the AOC Executive, Doug Donoghue.

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AOC President Ian Chesterman says Doug Donoghue made an enormous contribution to AOC over many decades of service.

“He was fundamental in the management and growth of our Australian Olympic Foundation that will provide a lastingly legacy for Australian athletes.

“He played a pivotal role on the Executive and I personally learnt a great deal from Doug when I served along side him when I first joined the Executive.

“Doug was a kind and loyal man who gave so much to the Olympic movement in this country, as well as his beloved sport of rowing. 

“We are all saddened by the news of his passing and he will be greatly missed.

IOC Vice President and IOC Member John Coates paid this tribute to Doug Donoghue.

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Weekend Wrap: Hot start for Olympians in Birmingham and Alex de Minaur wins ATP title

Submitted by Jeff.Dickinson.Fox on Mon, 08/01/2022 - 15:15
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35 Aussie Olympians have collected at least one medal from the opening three days of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, as Australia holds a sizeable lead on the medal tally to headline the weekend action in Olympic sports.

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Swimming

With her three Commonwealth Games gold medals in Birmingham so far, Emma McKeon has become the most successful Comm Games athlete of all-time - in addition to being Australia’s most successful Olympian.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Emma McKeon (@emmamckeon)

 

Wins in the women's 50m freestyle, mixed 4x100m freestyle relay and the women's 4x100m freestyle relay have taken her personal historical Comm Games gold tally to an unprecedented 11 medals. Emma has accumulated 27 medals from two Olympic Games (five gold, two silver, four bronze) and three Commonwealth Games appearances (11 gold, one silver, four bronze) to date.

Tokyo 2020 Olympians Madi Wilson, Kiah Melverton, Mollie O'Callaghan and Ariarne Titmus set a World Record in the women’s 4x200m freestyle relay. Their time of 7:39.29 was more than 12 seconds ahead of their next closest rivals Canada.

In the men’s 200m breaststroke Zac Stubblety-Cook’s gold medal completes a rare feat, as he has become the current Olympic, World and Commonwealth Games champion in the event.

Australia had a clean sweep of the podium positions in the women's 200m freestyle (Ariarne – gold, Mollie – silver and Madi – bronze), the men's 400m freestyle (Elijah Winnington – gold, Sam Short – silver and Mack Horton – bronze) and the women's 50m freestyle (Emma – gold, Meg Harris – silver and Shayna Jack – bronze).

The swimming continues from 7:30pm AEST tonight live and free on 7plus, where replays are also available.

Rugby 7s

The Aussie women’s Sevens sit atop of the Commonwealth as champions, marking the first time an Australia men’s or women’s rugby 7s team has won gold at the Commonwealth Games.

Their 22-12 defeat of Fiji in the gold medal match was reminiscent of the performances which underpinned their highly successful season in the 2022 World Rugby Sevens Series, who also won gold at Rio 2016.

A fast start from the Aussies, including two tries from Faith Nathan, saw them take a 17-0 lead into the half-time break on Fiji.

It was a much different tale from Australia’s semi-final against New Zealand, where a tight and tense finish saw the Aussies prevail 17-12. After trailing 12-5 at half-time, Maddison Levi scored two of her three tries in the second half. Some clutch team defence in the dying moments held our Trans-Tasman rivals out.

On the men’s side there was heartbreak in the semi-finals against South Africa (12-24), who went on to win the competition, and New Zealand (12-26) in the bronze medal match saw Australia finish fourth.

Replays are available on 7plus.

Cycling - Track

At the track on Sunday night in Birmingham it was a gold rush for Australia, with four gold medals and a bronze secured on the second day of track cycling at the Comm Games.

Kristina Clonan won the women’s 500m time trial in a Commonwealth Games record time of 33.234, a record which had stood since fellow Queenslander Anna Meares set it (33.435) at Glasgow 2014. She edged out Tokyo 2020 women’s sprint Olympic champion Kelsey Mitchell by 0.060 of a second.

Georgia Baker is now the Commonwealth Champion in the women’s 25km points race, having won five of the 10 sprints to blitz the field in the 100-lap event.

Matthew Richardson finished the wonderful night for Australia by winning the men’s sprint final, defeating Trinidad and Tobago's Nicholas Paul.

Read more here.

Gymnastics

Georgia Godwin has gone one better than her silver at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, bringing home gold for Australia in the women’s artistic gymnastics all-around final.

Consistency across all four apparatus was key for the 24-year-old to score 53.500, ahead of Ondine Achampong (ENG) 53.000 and Emma Spence (CAN) 52.350.

A month ago Georgia had expressed doubts on competing in Birmingham due to an ankle injury. She now also holds a silver medal from the women’s team final – competing alongside Emily Whitehead, Romi Brown, Breanna Scott and Kate McDonald.

Replays are available on 7plus.

Athletics

London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympian Jess Stenson (nee Trengrove) took out the gold in the women’s marathon in Birmingham.

 

The triumph was all the more special as her two-year-old Billy and husband Dylan were there at the finish line.

Matthew Hauser won Australia’s first medal of the Games with bronze in the men’s sprint triathlon. Also in the triathlon Jake Birtwhistle, Natalie Van Coevorden, Sophie Linn and Matthew were awarded bronze in the mixed team relay.

Paddle - Canoe & Kayak

Jess Fox has successfully defended her extreme slalom world champion status at the 2022 ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships in Augsburg, Germany.

She is the first woman to become a back-to-back extreme slalom world champion. The event will make its debut at Paris 2024.

“It’s been an amazing weekend here in Augsburg and I can’t quite believe I managed to pull that off in extreme and to back up the world title,” Jess said.

The result carries extra significance for the Fox family, as her father Richard Fox also won at the world championships in Augsburg in 1985.

“I’m so pleased with this and so grateful to become world champion on the same course as my dad in 1985. I finally got it which is very cool and I can’t thank everyone enough for the support.”

In the women's K1 and C1 Jess claimed silver medals.

“For the kayak and the canoe, it was always going to be really tough to beat the Germans on their home course and I wanted to give it the best shot I could. I’m really pleased with the way I raced and I enjoyed every second out here on the water.”

Tennis

Alex de Minaur has won the sixth ATP title of his career, taking out the singles at the Atlanta Open on the weekend.

Back where he won the trophy in 2019, Alex only needed straight sets to overcome Jenson Brooksby (USA) 6-3 6-3 in a tight, 91-minute match.

Over in the doubles, Nick Kyrgios and Thanasis Kokkinakis also became Atlanta Open champions against fellow Aussies Jason Kubler and John Peers 7-6 7-5 in the final.

The results are a welcome boost for the players as they prepare for the US Open, which gets underway at the end of August.

AOC Salutes Australian Commonwealth Games Team

Submitted by admin on Thu, 07/28/2022 - 20:36
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The AOC has wished the Australian Commonwealth Games Team all the best for its campaign in Birmingham ahead of the Opening Ceremony tonight.

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AOC President, Ian Chesterman says he looks forward to seeing Australian athletes represent their country with pride, starting with Thursday’s Opening Ceremony.

“It will be wonderful to witness our athletes across a range of sports achieving this ambition. Many of our Olympians from Tokyo 2020 will be back in the green and gold - and on behalf of the AOC, I would like to wish every team member well.

“There will be athletes making their debut as national representatives and it will be a special moment for them and their families.

“These athletes have the power to inspire young people, indeed people of all ages, to strive for something. Sport has the power to transform and I am sure we will see a great deal of pride and determination in the weeks ahead.

“I know that Australians value those performances and contributions that also extend beyond the medal podium. I would also like to acknowledge the support staff who have worked so hard to ensure these Australians athletes can make the most of their moment.

Mr Chesterman also congratulated Tokyo silver medallist and Kookaburra’s captain Eddie Ockendon for his selection as flag bearer, along with Rachael Grinham, who is competing at her sixth Commonwealth Games.

“As a fellow Tasmanian, I am particularly proud that Eddie has achieved this honour, joining with Rachael to proudly lead the team onto this international stage.

“Our very best also to Petria Thomas in her very significant role as Chef de Mission,” Mr Chesterman concluded.

AOC CEO Matt Carroll said the Olympics and the Commonwealth Games have so many sports in common – 21 sports at these Games.

“The AOC and Commonwealth Games Australia (CGA) are working very closely together to support our athletes and their sports as part of the Green and Gold Runway to Brisbane 2032.

“Together, AOC and CGA are committed to using the power of sport for the benefit of the Australian community and the Australian Team to the Birmingham Games is part of this commitment,” Mr Carroll concluded.

Australian Olympians receive grants from World Olympians Association

Submitted by Jeff.Dickinson.Fox on Tue, 07/26/2022 - 10:30
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The AOC has congratulated Olympians Rachael Lynch and Selina Scoble after each received grants from the World Olympians Association (WOA) for separate projects to promote Olympic values.

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Each will receive a A$7,000 (US$5,000) Service to Society Grant after making an application through the Australian Olympians Association (AOA).

Rachael Lynch (Hockey - Rio 2016 & Tokyo 2020) will deliver coaching clinics and face-to-face mentoring for young women across Australia, with a particular focus on rural areas.

Selina Scoble (Volleyball - Sydney 2000) has developed message bracelets that promote motivation, inspiration and happiness – each handmade bracelet containing a mantra to assist personal mindsets.

AOC President Ian Chesterman says both Olympians deserve praise for their very different approaches to spreading Olympic values and meet different needs.

“These grants are designed to encourage Olympians to address social cohesion, environment and sustainability, sport promotion and important issues such as obesity prevention. Rachael and Selina are using their skills and experiences in very different ways and the value of their projects has been identified by the WOA.

“Olympians provide such important role models for young Australians as they look beyond the playing field to make a difference in Australian communities. I am sure both Rachael and Selina will inspire and succeed with their respective projects and congratulate them both for their initiative and energy,” Mr Chesterman said.

Rachael Lynch, who is also a member of the AOC Athletes’ Commission, says she’s grateful her project was selected.

“I will be visiting the rural and remote towns of Australia running hockey clinics to encourage increased participation in the sport and ensure that Australia can continue its proud history with hockey across all levels. COVID has provided many challenges for sport in Australia so as an Olympian I want to show young athletes, particularly young females, that there is a world of opportunities out there for them, through sport,” Rachael said.

Selina Scoble says the MESSAGE bracelet has been a dream for more than five years.

“It’s the perfect time to launch these bracelets as Australians continue to feel the impacts from COVID, the floods, housing challenges, and the cost of living,” Selina said.

“It means I can help make a difference in people’s lives by giving them a unique piece of jewellery they can wear on their wrist each day as a reminder and focus. I can’t wait to launch in July and make a difference not only in my community and Australia, but around the world. Thank you WOA for believing in my project and giving me that extra boost to make a difference.”

The pair now has 12 months to deliver their respective projects.