Remembering Joe Sweeney and his surfing connection

Submitted by admin on Wed, 12/04/2019 - 08:51
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Joe Sweeney
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On this day at Melbourne 1956, Ronald "Joe" Sweeney’s Olympic wrestling competition lasted just six minutes and five seconds, but it would take nearly 60 years for surfing, the sport he was passionate about, to be included in the Olympics

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12 Days or Christmas

In January 2016, pioneering Bells Beach surfer, Joe Sweeney passed away. Four months earlier, the International Olympic Committee had shortlisted surfing to be included in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and confirmed that decision on 3 August 2016.
 
Sweeney’s Olympic connection started in the ‘50s, competing in the Bantamweight (57kg) division of the Greco-Roman Wrestling tournament at Melbourne 1956, where Sweeney was defeated by Argentina’s Adolfo Díaz in the second match of the competition.

 

Sweeney was also a talented surfer and the 1954 Victorian champion. Raised in Melbourne, after the Melbourne Games he moved to the Victorian surf coast, building a home at Jan Juc and securing a job teaching physical education at Corio Tech in Geelong. He would also teach woodwork and work as a carpenter.
 
Sweeney would surf Bells’ famous breaks throughout winter, in a sleeveless footy jumper and Speedos, until he was blue.

Access to Bells Beach was very difficult, through paddocks and along a dirt track on the cliff tops which used to be used by the Cobb and Co horse-drawn coaches. The rough track kept surfers accessing Bells Beach limited to members of the Torquay Surf Life Saving Club.
 
In 1960, Sweeney obtained permission from the Shire of Barrabool to upgrade the track and extend it further into the Bells Beach area. He hired a local farmer who used his grader to widen and consolidate the track. The work cost thirty-two pounds and Sweeney then asked his surfing mates for one pound each to cover the cost.

In Easter 1961, the first competition was organised – the Bells Beach Easter Rally. By 1974 the rally was included on the World Surfing circuit and it became known as “The Bells Beach Rip Curl Pro”.
 
In the late 1970’s, the former chippie and woodwork teacher, started crafting the distinctive Rip Curl trophy bell. One recipient, Mark Richards described the care he took transporting it home.

"I hand-carried it pretty much all the way home on the plane. I actually think I sat with it on the plane. I wasn't game to put it up in the overhead locker 'cause I didn't want it to get damaged, so I cradled it all the way home.”

 
In later life, Sweeney continued to surf, including on Christmas day up until his 81st year.

Sweeney was diagnosed with a rare auto-immune disease, from which he died at 82, two and a half years post-diagnosis, but during this time, news broke that surfing was shortlisted for the Tokyo Games – 64 years after he competed in the Olympics as a wrestler. 
 
At his funeral, 200 surfers stood, shoulder to shoulder, boards planted in the Torquay sand and pointing high in a guard of honour.

 

He was described as a family man, teacher, surf legend, Olympian, storyteller, pioneer, chippie, craftsman, raconteur, wrestler, boxer, swimming champion, fierce competitor, fire captain, tai chi instructor, founding father, community leader and adventure sportsman.

Sweeney will no doubt continue to be remembered not only for his contribution to laying the foundations of the Bells Beach surfing culture, but for his impact on the wider community.

David Tarbotton

Olympics Unleashed to inspire South Australian students

Submitted by admin on Mon, 12/02/2019 - 18:00
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SA Olympics Unleashed group shot
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Olympians will come face to face with more than 40 000 students across South Australia, as the AOC announced the extension of Olympics Unleashed, presented by Optus, in Adelaide today.

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Olympics Unleashed will take athletes into primary schools to share their Olympic journey and how it can help students find their passion, set goals and build resilience to overcome challenges.

Cycling legend Anna Meares and Rio 2016 swimmer Travis Mahoney joined Education Minister John Gardner and AOC CEO Matt Carroll to announce the program at Prospect Primary School.

AOC CEO Matt Carroll said Olympians will help inspire young people to be their best in the classroom, on the sporting field, and in their personal lives.

“Olympians have inspiring stories that go beyond sport,” Mr Carroll said. “They bring to life the importance of finding a passion, setting goals and building resilience to overcome challenges.

“An Olympic journey is never a straight line – having athletes sharing their stories, including the challenges and how they overcame them, is a vital lesson that can help young people no matter what their passion.”

More than 50 South Australian based Olympians and Tokyo 2020 hopefuls will be trained to deliver Olympics Unleashed, with first visits rolling out in Term 1 2020.

The program extension is an AOC initiative in partnership with the South Australian Government and presenting partner Optus. 

“The AOC is committed to use the spirit of the Olympics and Australian Olympians to inspire young people to be their best,” Mr Carroll said. 

“We thank Minister Gardener, the South Australian Government, and Optus for their initiative and support in delivering Olympics Unleashed.”

Olympics Unleashed is free for schools, with the 45-minute presentations aimed at years 4-6 across South Australia. Schools can find out more and register today here.

Four time Olympian and Rio 2016 flagbearer Anna Meares knows the impact athletes can have on the next generation.

“Sport is such a great vehicle to engage with young people in really foundational areas,” Ms Meares said.

“Athletes know that failure is an important part of succeeding. You don’t always win, and you have to learn how to be successful, which can only come from trying new things. The only way you give yourself a chance is by trying.

“Taking athletes out of the TV and putting them in front of students is huge – it shows they’re a real person, talking face to face with young people to really engage on that personal level.

“I remember seeing Olympians on TV when I was younger and just being in awe. I grew up in a remote area and didn’t have any athletes come to our community, but knowing this program is going to remote and regional schools is fantastic.”

Education Minister John Gardner hopes the program can inspire students to find their passion in life, as well as enhance their understanding of the importance of resilience and hard work in helping people achieve their goals.

“We are delighted to be partnering with the Australian Olympic Committee to enable more schools across the state to take advantage of the Olympics Unleashed program, connecting students with these inspiring role models,” said Minister Gardner.

“The messages of goal setting, resilience and self-awareness translate to learning, engagement and achievement for our students and go beyond just sporting excellence.

“We expect hearing from aspiring and experienced Olympians will inspire more of our students to find their passion and stick with it.”

Australian Olympic Team Partner Optus are helping deliver the program around the country.

“We are delighted to see the Olympics Unleashed program extend to South Australia, as it is imperative these types of role models are visible to Australian school kids,” Optus Managing Director Marketing and Revenue Matt Williams said.

“There is no doubt we are looking forward to seeing our Australian athletes compete on the world stage at Tokyo 2020, but we’re equally as excited to see the Olympics Unleashed inspire the next generation and change the future they see.”

Find out more and register your school here.

 

Olympics Unleashed in SA

Submitted by admin on Mon, 12/02/2019 - 16:05
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Olympics Unleashed in South Australia
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40-minute online presentations aimed at Primary Schools (Years 4-6) in South Australia.

REGISTER FOR SOUTH AUSTRALIA>>>

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With Australians adapting to life at home, Olympics Unleashed is now online and ready to connect Olympians & aspiring athletes to schools and students.  

Olympics Unleashed, presented by Optus is taking athletes into SA virtual classrooms and homes to inspire and motivate students to be their personal best.

Olympians and athletes aspiring for Tokyo 2020 and beyond are excited to visit your school via an online platform to help young SA students be the best version of themselves – whether that’s in the classroom, the playground, the sporting field or at home.

Presented in an interactive and engaging way, athletes will share how they set goals, overcome challenges and demonstrate resilience throughout their athletic journey.

The 30 - 40 minute online presentations are aimed at Years 4-6.

Olympics Unleashed is free for schools and is supported by Optus, the South Australia Government and the Australian Olympic Committee.

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Latest Unleashed Olympics News - SA
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SA FAQs
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How will the online visits work?

Olympics Unleashed Online will allow students to connect with athletes whether they are in the classroom or at home. Microsoft Teams has been identified as the preferred platform for online delivery of Olympics Unleashed Online presentations. We are flexible, however and can utilise other platforms preferred by individual schools to ensure accessibility.

Does the online version differ to what was being offered to schools previously?

No the essence of the program which is to inspire and motivate students to be their personal best remains the same. However, the athletes have been provided additional training on effective digital delivery to support the transition to online presentations.

Are the school presentations suitable for all year levels or are they targeted at specific age groups? 

At this stage the program is open to Years 4-6 students.

Which schools are eligible for the program?

All primary schools in South Australia.

Are rural schools eligible for the program?

Yes, all primary schools across South Australia (metro, regional, remote) are eligible to participate.

How long will the program run for?

The program will run from February 2020 to February 2022.

Is there a cost to schools for the athlete visit?

No, there is no cost to schools.

Where can I get more information about the program?

Please call the Australian Olympic Committee 02 9247 2000 or email sa@olympicsunleashed.com.au for further information.

How many students can see the presentation?

The program can be presented from individual classes to assemblies.

What information will the school receive before the presentation?

You will receive confirmation of the time and date of the presentation; information on the athlete including their profile; key logistics information; and several questions to prepare for the visit to ensure all students have the opportunity to participate.

Jacinta Edmund’s #OlympicTakeover, Rowing

Submitted by admin on Mon, 12/02/2019 - 15:47
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Jacinta Edmunds Olympic Takeover
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A knack for rowing is in Jacinta Edmund’s blood.

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Daughter of Australian Olympic medal-winning rower, Ian Edmunds, and the younger sister of Australian Olympian, Maddie Edmunds, the Queenslander has represented Australia at Junior and U23 level and joined the Women’s National Training Centre in 2017.

In early 2018 she was selected for Australia's Women's 8 that raced at the World Rowing Cups 2 and 3, winning a bronze at World Rowing Cup 3. She then went on to make her senior World Rowing Championships debut in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, winning bronze.

The Tokyo 2020 hopeful was one the Women’s 8 crew that won silver at the 2019 World Championships, plus secured a gold and silver during the 2019 Rowing World Cup season.

The 26-year-old  recently took over the @AUSOlympicTeam Instagram story to give Olympic fans a sneak peak into the life of a Women’s 8 rower - training hard and having fun with the Australian Team out of the National Training Centre in Penrith, NSW.
 

 

Weekend Wrap: Tokyo hopefuls honoured and National Walking Championships

Submitted by admin on Mon, 12/02/2019 - 08:24
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Jemima Montag (2nd), Beki Smith (1st) and Rachael Tallent (3rd) and 2019 National Race Walking Championships
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Kelsey Barber, Ash Barty and Ariarne Titmus received the top gongs at their State Sport Institute yearly award nights, while the Aussie Opals' path to Tokyo 2020 qualification is set out.

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12 Days or Christmas

Basketball – Opals path to Tokyo 2020 revealed

The Opals path to Tokyo 2020 is clear with the 2020 FIBA Qualification Tournament pools announced last week.

Australia will face France, Brazil and Puerto Rico in France next February 6-9. The Opals need to finish as one of the top three teams of this group of four to book their place at Tokyo 2020.

 

Athletics – 50km Racewalkers tough it out in Melbourne

The Australian 50km Racewalking championships saw Victorian Rhydian Cowley take the 50km crown in his first ever attempt at the distance, while Tracey Feiner won the women’s.

In the women’s 20km invitational, Beki Smith took the win ahead of Jemima Montag and Rachael Tallent.

 

Find out more  HERE.

In other Athletics news, champion discus thrower Dani Stevens threw a Tokyo qualifying distance of 65.93, moving her closer to potential selection for her fourth Olympics.

 

Awards – Queensland and ACT recognise elite athletes

Olympians and Tokyo 2020 hopefuls featured heavily at the Queensland and ACT Sport Awards. Kelsey barber was crowned ACT Athlete of the Year, capping off an incredible year where she won the javelin World Championships.

Ash Barty and Ariarne Titmus shared the major awards in Queensland, taking out Sports Star of the Year and Award for Sporting Excellence respectively.

Tokyo 2020 – National Stadium finished

Tokyo’s National Stadium was officially completed and handed to the operator Japan Sports Council on Saturday.

The stadium will host the Opening and Closing Ceremonies as well as Athletics and Football, with a capacity of 60 000.

Gymnastics – Trampoline World Championships

Australia’s trampolinists took on the world’s best in Tokyo at the Trampoline World Championships.

In the Olympic discipline of individual trampoline, Dominic Clarke was the best placed male in 14th with Blake Rutherford 18th, while 2018 Youth Olympic silver medallist Jess Pickering finished in 24th.

 

The competition was the first event in the recently finished Ariake Stadium, which will host Volleyball at the Tokyo Olympics.

 

Surfing – Tour’s final event underway in Hawaii

The final event of the women’s World Surf League Championship Tour kicked off today in Maui.

Australians Sally Fitzgibbons, Steph Gilmore, Macy Callaghan, Nikki Van Dijk and Bronte Macaulay all finished top two in their opening round heat to progress straight to the round of 16. Tyler Wright, in her first tournament back in almost 18 months after battling illness and injury, fought back from an opening seeding round defeat to win her elimination heat to progress through to the final 16.

Fitzgibbons won the round of 16 matchup to move cleanly into the quarter finals, with round of 16 competition continuing throughout today.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Sailing - Oceania Championships good warmup for Worlds

Australian 49er, 49er FX and Nacra 17 sailors took to Auckland waters against some of the best crews in the world for the Oceania Championships, ahead of this week's World Championships at the same venue.

Rio 2016 silver medallists Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin finished just off the podium in fourth in the Nacra competition, behind Great Britain, France and Austria.

Tessa Parkinson and Ella Clark were the best placed Australian 49er FX crew in eighth, while Jim Colley and Shaun Connor were the top Australian men finishing 12th in the 49er class.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Jason Waterhouse (@jaswaterhouse) on

The crews will take to the water in Auckland again this week for the World Championships, with a Tokyo 2020 quota spot on the line in the 49er class, after Australia's quota already secured in both Nacra and 49er FX.

Swimming – Australia Swimming to Tokyo

Swimming Australia launched the 2020 Australia Swims campaign on the first day of summer.

The initiative encourages all Australians to celebrate their love of the water and commit the distance they plan to swim in January – whether it’s 50 metres or 50 kilometres – to a nation-wide challenge.

Building towards the excitement for Tokyo 2020, each state and territory will be competing in a virtual race to swim the distance to Tokyo.

Find out more and get involved  HERE.

 

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12 Days 'til Christmas: Sportscraft

Submitted by admin on Fri, 11/29/2019 - 14:24
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Christmas Sportscraft
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Win one of 2 $500 gift cards courtesy of Sportscraft. Prize drawn 13 December 2019.

Congratulations to our winners;
1. Angela Reynolds, VIC
2. Rebecca Dedden, NSW

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Christmas Sportscraft

*T&Cs apply. See https://www.olympics.com.au/12-days-til-christmas/ ("Website"). Open to Australian residents aged 13+ only. Parent/guardian consent required for entrants <18 years. Starts 01/12/2019 & closes 11:59 AEDT 23/12/2019. To enter, during the Promotional Period: visit Website, locate entry form, input requested details and submit completed form. Max. 1 entry per person. Prizes vary per draw date. Total prize pool RRP: $4671. Entries to each draw closes 23:59pm AEDT the day before each draw. Draws (12 total): 10:00am AEDT each day between 13/12/2019-24/12/2019 at Level 4, 140 George Street, Sydney 2000. Winners published on Website from 13/12/2019. Prize claim deadline: 5pm AEDT 18/01/2020. Promoter: Australian Olympic Committee Inc. (ABN 33 052 258 241) of Level 4, 140 George Street, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney NSW 2000. Authorised under NSW Permit No. LTPS/19/40418, ACT Permit No. TP 19/04747. For full T&Cs CLICK HERE.

11 Days 'til Christmas: Speedo

Submitted by admin on Fri, 11/29/2019 - 14:23
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12 Days - Speedo new
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Win one $250 gift card courtesy of Speedo. Prize drawn 14 December 2019.

Congratulations to our winner;
1. Jo Cooper, SA

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12 Days - Speedo new

*T&Cs apply. See https://www.olympics.com.au/12-days-til-christmas/ ("Website"). Open to Australian residents aged 13+ only. Parent/guardian consent required for entrants <18 years. Starts 01/12/2019 & closes 11:59 AEDT 23/12/2019. To enter, during the Promotional Period: visit Website, locate entry form, input requested details and submit completed form. Max. 1 entry per person. Prizes vary per draw date. Total prize pool RRP: $4671. Entries to each draw closes 23:59pm AEDT the day before each draw. Draws (12 total): 10:00am AEDT each day between 13/12/2019-24/12/2019 at Level 4, 140 George Street, Sydney 2000. Winners published on Website from 13/12/2019. Prize claim deadline: 5pm AEDT 18/01/2020. Promoter: Australian Olympic Committee Inc. (ABN 33 052 258 241) of Level 4, 140 George Street, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney NSW 2000. Authorised under NSW Permit No. LTPS/19/40418, ACT Permit No. TP 19/04747. For full T&Cs  CLICK HERE.

10 Days 'til Christmas: Crumpler

Submitted by admin on Fri, 11/29/2019 - 14:23
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12 Days of Christmas Crumpler
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Win a Jolly Swagman Bag (RRP $399) courtesy of Crumpler. Prize drawn 15 December 2019.

Congratulations to our winner;
1. Jodie Fernandez, VIC

 

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12 Days of Christmas Crumpler

*T&Cs apply. See https://www.olympics.com.au/12-days-til-christmas/ ("Website"). Open to Australian residents aged 13+ only. Parent/guardian consent required for entrants <18 years. Starts 01/12/2019 & closes 11:59 AEDT 23/12/2019. To enter, during the Promotional Period: visit Website, locate entry form, input requested details and submit completed form. Max. 1 entry per person. Prizes vary per draw date. Total prize pool RRP: $4671. Entries to each draw closes 23:59pm AEDT the day before each draw. Draws (12 total): 10:00am AEDT each day between 13/12/2019-24/12/2019 at Level 4, 140 George Street, Sydney 2000. Winners published on Website from 13/12/2019. Prize claim deadline: 5pm AEDT 18/01/2020. Promoter: Australian Olympic Committee Inc. (ABN 33 052 258 241) of Level 4, 140 George Street, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney NSW 2000. Authorised under NSW Permit No. LTPS/19/40418, ACT Permit No. TP 19/04747. For full T&Cs CLICK HERE.

9 Days 'til Christmas: Stuck on You

Submitted by admin on Fri, 11/29/2019 - 14:22
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12 Days of Christmas Stuck On You
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Win one of 2 $250 voucher codes for Stuck on You! Prize drawn 16 December 2019.

Congratulations to our winners;
1. Tova Cernusco, QLD
2. Kate Waterhouse, NSW

Content
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12 Days of Christmas Stuck On You

*T&Cs apply. See https://www.olympics.com.au/12-days-til-christmas/ ("Website"). Open to Australian residents aged 13+ only. Parent/guardian consent required for entrants <18 years. Starts 01/12/2019 & closes 11:59 AEDT 23/12/2019. To enter, during the Promotional Period: visit Website, locate entry form, input requested details and submit completed form. Max. 1 entry per person. Prizes vary per draw date. Total prize pool RRP: $4671. Entries to each draw closes 23:59pm AEDT the day before each draw. Draws (12 total): 10:00am AEDT each day between 13/12/2019-24/12/2019 at Level 4, 140 George Street, Sydney 2000. Winners published on Website from 13/12/2019. Prize claim deadline: 5pm AEDT 18/01/2020. Promoter: Australian Olympic Committee Inc. (ABN 33 052 258 241) of Level 4, 140 George Street, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney NSW 2000. Authorised under NSW Permit No. LTPS/19/40418, ACT Permit No. TP 19/04747. For full T&Cs CLICK HERE.

8 Days 'til Christmas: Jockey

Submitted by admin on Fri, 11/29/2019 - 14:22
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12 Days of Christmas - Jockey
Article Introduction

Win a $200 prize pack courtesy of Jockey. Prize drawn 17 December 2019.

Congratulations to our winner;
1. Joylene Conway, QLD
 

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Title
12 Days of Christmas - Jockey

*T&Cs apply. See https://www.olympics.com.au/12-days-til-christmas/ ("Website"). Open to Australian residents aged 13+ only. Parent/guardian consent required for entrants <18 years. Starts 01/12/2019 & closes 11:59 AEDT 23/12/2019. To enter, during the Promotional Period: visit Website, locate entry form, input requested details and submit completed form. Max. 1 entry per person. Prizes vary per draw date. Total prize pool RRP: $4671. Entries to each draw closes 23:59pm AEDT the day before each draw. Draws (12 total): 10:00am AEDT each day between 13/12/2019-24/12/2019 at Level 4, 140 George Street, Sydney 2000. Winners published on Website from 13/12/2019. Prize claim deadline: 5pm AEDT 18/01/2020. Promoter: Australian Olympic Committee Inc. (ABN 33 052 258 241) of Level 4, 140 George Street, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney NSW 2000. Authorised under NSW Permit No. LTPS/19/40418, ACT Permit No. TP 19/04747. For full T&Cs CLICK HERE.