WEEKEND WRAP: A dozen Tokyo quotas secured and Aussie awards all round

Submitted by admin on Mon, 11/25/2019 - 14:07
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Minna Atherton - Instagram
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Australian road cycling quota spots secured, mighty Minna Atherton goes within a whisker of another world record and the Hockeyroos and Kookaburras squads named for the 2020 season headline this weekend in Olympic sport.


Cycling – Australia secures road quotas for Tokyo

Australia has secured 12 road cycling quota spots for Tokyo 2020, with UCI confirming four road race and two individual time trial quotas for both women and men.

With the top five nations in UCI Nation ranking securing the maximum four quota spots, Australia’s ranking of five was enough to see them earn all four spots. The men, ranked ninth, earned four of a maximum five spots in the men’s road race.

In time trial, the global ranking ensured one quota place apiece for men and women, while September’s World Champion victory by Rohan Dennis and 11th from Amanda Spratt earned an additional spot to achieve the maximum two time trial quotas per gender.

Hockey – 2020 squads and pools

The Hockeyroos and Kookaburras announced their extended 2020 playing squads that will see them through the 2020 FIH Pro League and into Tokyo 2020. The 27-strong squads include national team veterans and debutants making the national squad for the first time.

The 27-strong squads will train and perform across 2020, including the 16-strong team that will be selected to represent Australia at Tokyo 2020. Find out more HERE

The teams’ first Tokyo opponents have also been revealed, with FIH announcing the Olympic pools over the weekend. 

World number 1 Kookaburras have been drawn alongside hosts Japan, Spain, Argentina, New Zealand and India, while world number 2 Hockeyroos will face off in pool play against Spain, Argentina, New Zealand, China and Japan.

Swimming – Atherton on fire at ISL

The London leg of the International Swimming League saw several Aussies in action, including more standout performances from teenager Minna Atherton. After breaking the 100m backstroke short course world record in Budapest last month, Atherton won the 50m, 100m and 200m backstroke treble, coming within 0.02 of the 200m short course world record in 1.59.25.


Loved racing in London this weekend 🤩 OFF TO VEGAS BABEY 🎉

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Cate Campbell and Emma McKeon made it an Aussie 1-2 in the 100m Freestyle ahead of Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom. Campbell also took out the 50m freestyle, with McKeon claiming the win in the 100 butterfly. Alex Graham won the men’s 200m freestyle, with Travis Mahoney finishing third in the 200m backstroke.

Aussies awarded for stellar years

As 2019 draws to a close, remarkable performances from athletes in Olympic sports are being recognised around Australia.

Snowboard champion Scotty James won the Victorian Institute of Sport Athlete of the Year, while Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympian and current Hockeyroo Amy Lawton won the Rising Star award. 

World champion rowers Lucy Stephan, Sarah Hawe, Katrina Werry and Olympia Aldersey in the women’s four and Joshua Hicks and Sam Hardy in the men’s pair took out the Rowing Australia Crews of the Year awards, while internationally, Kim Brennan claimed the Thomas Keller Medal.

Ariarne Titmus cleaned up at the Swimming Australia awards, with her remarkable season capped off with Olympic Program Swimmer of the year and Shortcourse Swimmer of the Year.

Tennis – Davis Cup campaign halted by Canada

Australia’s Davis Cup campaign was ended by a determined Canadian Team in the quarter-finals in Madrid. After Alex de Minaur scored a fightback win to even the tie at 1-1 after John Millman went down in the first singles, the Canadian doubles pairing of Vasek Pospisil and Denis Shapovalov were too strong, defeating John Peers and Jordan Thompson 6-4 6-4 to take the quarter-final win. Find out more HERE


Golf - Su Oh finishes year as top-ranked Aussie

Su Oh has finished as the top-ranked Australian tied-sixth in the year-ending LPGA Tour championship in Florida.

Oh closed with a three-under par 69, her fourth top 10 finish of a stellar 2019 season.


Kim Brennan takes out World Rowing's highest honour

Submitted by admin on Mon, 11/25/2019 - 08:48
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The finest rowers from across the globe were honoured at the 2019 World Rowing Awards, with Australia's own, Kim Brennan taking out the prestigious Thomas Keller Medal.


The winner of World Rowing's highest accolade was honoured for her illustrious career which spanned three Olympic Games and earned her a full set of bronze & silver (London 2012) and gold (Rio 2016).

The award which recognises "an exceptional rowing career and exemplary sportsmanship" came one year after Brennan announced her retirement following the arrival of her first son, Jude.

When accepting her award, she recalled London 2012 as one of her greatest Olympic memories.

"I do have an incredibly fond memory of the double scull at the London 2012 Olympic Games," the two-time World Champion said.

"My partner Brooke (Pratley) broke her rib, it was a bad break."

The 34-year-old explained that the only training Pratley could do, was sled pulling in the lead up to the Games.

"We were back in the boat for about three weeks before the Olympic Games and it was one of those moments when you realised sport wasn't just about winning."

Despite Pratley's injury, the pair went on to win silver.

Brennan belongs to an elite club of Olympians, who raced and medalled in two Olympic events when she claimed the double scull silver and single scull bronze in London.

Earning herself single scull gold at Rio 2016 and becoming the first Australian woman to do so, was the icing on the cake at what would be her final Olympics as a competitor.

Australian Olympic Committee President, John Coates commended Brennan on her career and said she was most deserving of the international award.

“Kim Brennan is a most worthy recipient of rowing's highest honour, the Thomas Keller medal," he said.

"Over a career that spanned three Olympics she won bronze, silver and gold medals, with her gold at the Rio 2016 Games being the first-ever in the women's single sculls event by an Australian.

"A fiercely determined competitor, Kim and her coach, Lyall McCarthy left no stone unturned in their preparation. A trait Kim also displayed as a very active and valued contributor to the AOC's Athletes' Commission over a long period.

"All of us at the AOC join in congratulating Kim on this most unique honour."

Although no longer competing, Brennan remains very close and invested in the Olympic Movement, coming on board as one of the Deputy Chefs de Mission alongside Susie O'Neill and Evelyn Halls for Tokyo 2020.

Brennan said her appointment as Deputy Chef was another important way she can keep contributing and maintaining a bond with a sport that gave her so much.

“Every Olympian wants to keep contributing in one way or another. We have that bond. To be stepping into this role gives me the chance to make a different type of contribution.” 

Liana Buratti

Brandon Loupos: From garbage tip to top of the world

Submitted by admin on Sat, 11/23/2019 - 10:14
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Brandon Loupos - UCI BMX Freestyle
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After claiming his maiden rainbow jersey when he took out gold at the 2019 Urban Cycling World Championships, Brandon Loupos is freestyling his way towards Tokyo and hoping to inspire the next generation of BMX superstars along the way.


It was an incredible come-from-behind win for the 26-year-old who crashed a backflip during his first run, but he more than made up for it scoring a massive 93.20 points with a double-backflip, flair whip, 1080, 720 into a double whip transfer, cash roll and ending with a five flair on his second run.



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The 2018 World Cup bronze medallist shot to the top of the leaderboard and couldn’t be topped which led to his first World Championship gold.

Fans, spectators and social media audiences witnessed an emotional Loupos, who collapsed to his knees and broke down in tears post-race, his gold medal clearly meaning more to him than just the top spot on the podium.

“It’s still sinking in. I feel like I’m living in a dream and haven’t woken up yet,” he said of acquiring his previously elusive rainbow jersey.

“Every time I see the medal, I look around and feel like I need to give it back to somebody. It’s just crazy to think that it’s mine and it was me that did that run to win the gold medal.

“Even watching it back I think to myself, ‘that can’t be me’. It’s an amazing feeling but I’m still in disbelief,” he continued.

“When I won bronze last year, I set my screensaver on my phone to the World Championship gold medal and I would look at that every single day and just ask myself, ‘What did I do today to help me earn that gold in November?’ 

His motivational screensaver helped Loupos kick off his 2019 season with a bang, recording the highest-ever score recorded at a World Cup (95.80) when he competed in Round One in Hiroshima, Japan. He then went on to claim World Cup gold at the inaugural Urban Games in Hungary.

Despite his unbelievable performances, Loupos’s journey to the top of BMX Freestyle had humble beginnings. 

Wanting to mimic everything his motocross-racing cousin did and after some constant nagging, Loupos’s dad picked up a bike from the tip which Brandon fell in love with straight away.

“I started riding through my cousin. He was a motocross racer and when he wasn’t doing that, he rode BMX,” Loupos explained.

“I just thought whatever he did was the coolest thing in the world. 

“My dad went to the tip and got me a push bike so I could go riding with my cousin. He said whatever I wanted to do on a motorbike, just do it on the pushbike.

“Straight away I just loved it and knew I wanted to do it for the rest of my life,” he continued.

“The freedom of being on a bike is what I fell in love with, as well as the community and being around likeminded people.”

Loupos grew up in Sydney with his parents earning just enough to pay the bills and provide for himself and his three siblings.

His family couldn’t afford a BMX bike at the time, hence Loupos’s first bike coming from the garbage tip, but they made sure he had everything he needed to be successful.

“I definitely wouldn't be here without my family and it's pretty crazy to know what they’ve sacrificed,” Loupos said.


His father, who is originally from Greece, was a football player, who “could’ve played wherever he wanted to in Europe” but due to the poverty of the country at the time, himself and Loupos’s mum decided to move to Australia to provide a better life for their children.

Loupos says his father saw something in him that he didn’t even see himself. He knew that one day Brandon would make it as a professional BMX rider, which is why he pushed him to be the best. He wanted to make sure his son didn’t miss out on living his dreams.

“My family brought me to America multiple times to achieve what I did in my amateur career,” the now North Carolina, USA local said.

“I did end up winning an amateur title in 2011 when I was a teenager, but it's been a rough go ever since turning pro. It’s all been about learning.

“Getting to this point was really hard, but I'm really thankful that all the sacrifices have paid off and I can give back to my family just like they did to bring me up to this point.”

When asked about what was behind his emotional response to winning the rainbow jersey, Loupos said the tears came from the relief of being able to give back to those who had supported him unconditionally.

“[The emotion] came from years of sacrifice and hard times. Being grateful for the people that knew I could do it from the start, even when I didn't believe in myself.”

Loupos has had to face his fair amount of setbacks. Apart from crashing and missing out on podium places, he also had his bike stolen when trying to secure a spot for Australia at Tokyo 2020.

It was less than 40 hours before he was due to compete, but the determined rider wasn’t going to let that stop him. He flew from the X Games event in Canada, to North Carolina, picked up his other bike, arrived just in time for his run and ended up winning his first X Games gold with a score of 95.

As for what his phone screensaver is now, Loupos says it’s all about Tokyo 2020.

“On the flight back from the World Champs, I changed my phone background to the Tokyo gold medal,” he said.

“Competing at an Olympics is all I want, it’s all I think about every day and when it was announced that BMX Freestyle was going to be included at Tokyo 2020, I was in awe, I couldn't believe it. 


“I just thought, this is amazing, we get this opportunity to be picked to go to the Olympics, to represent our country. It’s even more incredible thinking that I would never have dreamed to be in this position, even this time last year.

“It's more than World Champs to me, it’s more than the Olympics, it's the point that I get to represent more than myself, I get to represent my family, I get to represent my home country and that is what I’m most stoked about.

“It’s never been about just going out and winning for myself or getting myself that medal, it’s been about doing it for everyone back home that got me to where I am. I do it for everyone who has supported me up to this point and beyond, and the chance to represent Australia is an honour.”

Loupos’s advice for the future generation of BMX superstars is to love what you do, practice gratitude and stay humble.

“I'm still just in awe about being where I am today and I want to pass that onto future generations,” he said.

“I’m so grateful to those who have just enjoyed my riding and admire me so for me to keep the humble mindset but know that I’ve had to work so hard to get here is really important.

“I'm stoked to be in this position and extremely thankful to have what I have and hopefully I show that, and come off as a good role model to everybody.”

Liana Buratti

Hockey Australia announce squads for 2020

Submitted by admin on Fri, 11/22/2019 - 13:52
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Yesterday, the 27-player Kookaburras squad was announced for next year’s bumper international calendar, with the Hockeyroos today naming their squad as the teams push towards Tokyo 2020.


The majority of this year’s Kookaburra's squad that qualified for Tokyo 2020, won the inaugural Pro League and secured the world number one ranking have been retained, with exciting young talents, 20-year-old Victorian Nathan Ephraums and Sydney based Kurt Lovett, aged 22, the two new inclusions.

Ephraums and Lovett were both members of this year’s National Development Squad and performed outstandingly during the recent Sultana Bran Hockey One League, Lovett scoring eight goals for the season as part of NSW Pride’s all-conquering men’s championship team.

In 2017 Ephraums was named the player of the tournament at the Sultan of Johor Cup while representing Australia’s Under 21 team, and has spent periods of this year training with the Kookaburras at their base in Perth.

With the announcement of the 2020 squad, other notable aspects include Tasmanian Eddie Ockenden possibly heading towards competing at a fourth Olympics and breaking Jamie Dwyer’s all-time Kookaburras appearance record, while a host of players including Tom Craig, Blake Govers, Tom Wickham, Matt Swann, Jeremy Hayward and Jacob Whetton are nearing individual milestones.


You can find the full Kookaburras announcement HERE

The return of some familiar faces and the inclusion of two rising stars highlight the announcement of the 2020 Hockeyroos squad.

The new additions include capped Hockeyroos Laura Barden, Kate Jenner and Gabi Nance, young gun Amy Lawton who has been elevated to a permanent spot in the 27-player squad, while uncapped 20-year-old Karri Somerville has received her first senior call up. All except for Barden were members of this year’s National Development squad.

The squad selected by Head Coach Paul Gaudoin was based on a range of factors underpinned by having personnel who will provide the Hockeyroos with the best chance of success in what is a huge year, beginning with the FIH Pro League in late January and leading into Tokyo 2020 in late July.

Barden, Jenner and Nance combined have made over 230 appearances for the Hockeyroos, the latter two having both competed at an Olympic Games. 
Jenner most recently played every match for the Hockeyroos at the Tokyo Test Event back in August, while she also featured in FIH Pro League matches against USA and Argentina.

Barden’s last Hockeyroos appearance came against Spain in January 2018, while Nance last wore the green and gold in Australia’s 2018 Commonwealth Games campaign.

Victorian 17-year-old Lawton made her Hockeyroos debut in the Pro League against New Zealand, played in the Tokyo Test Event and since then has not looked back having ben part of the Hockeyroos team for the Oceania Cup and recent Olympic qualifying series win over Russia.

You can find the full Hockeyroos announcement HERE

Hockey Australia

De Minaur, Kyrgios guide Aussies into Davis Cup quarterfinals

Submitted by admin on Thu, 11/21/2019 - 15:06
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Alex De Minaur - Tennis Australia
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Australia has reached the knockout quarterfinal stage of the Davis Cup Finals in Madrid after singles wins to Nick Kyrgios and Alex de Minaur.


Australia is into the quarterfinals of the Davis Cup Finals in Madrid after victories by Nick Kyrgios and Alex de Minaur on Wednesday night built an unassailable 2-0 lead over Belgium.

De Minaur reinforced his reputation as one of the most exciting young players in world tennis, seeing off Belgium’s David Goffin to book Australia’s spot in the knockout stage of the revamped competition.

The 20-year-old Sydneysider beat the world No.11 6-0 7-6(6) to seal Australia’s first victory over Belgium since 1991.

The results sees Australia finish atop Group D,  setting up a clash with a talented Canada side on Friday (4.00 am AEDT).

De Minaur won the first set in 26 minutes as Goffin struggled to find an answer to the red-hot Australian’s powerful return game.

The Belgian No.1 finally got on the board in the opening game of the second set, but de Minaur continued to have success from the back of the court.

The world No.18 broke again at 3-1 but Goffin, with his back firmly against the wall, the Belgian saved a match point when trailing 5-3 before breaking serve for the first time as De Minaur served for the match.

De Minaur then saved a set point and forced the tiebreaker, which he closed out to seal his 40th victory of the season.

“(That’s) Davis Cup emotions for you. Everything just means so much greater when you’re playing for your country,” De Minaur said.

”I’m happy that I was able to win for Australia. A win is a win however you may do it. I did it the hard way today and I’m very happy.”

It continues his brilliant 2019 in which he has won three ATP titles to rocket up the rankings into the top 20.

Earlier, Nick Kyrgios put Australia 1-0 up, beating the gutsy Steve Darcis 6-2 7-6(8).


Focused on the near, never what’s in the rear. Proud of my squad tonight 🙏🏽🗣 Lets keep it going fellas 🔒

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Kyrgios largely kept his emotions in check to see off the wily 35-year-old — who has been Australia’s nemesis in two previous Davis Cup encounters — in a match delayed by more than two hours.

He powered through the opening set in 24 minutes and then held his nerve against a much-improved Darcis in a high-quality second set in front of a noisy crowd dominated by Belgian fans.

Once again Kyrgios held his serve throughout, hurling down 22 aces – including an incredible nine in his final 10 service points to end the second set.


🇦🇺 quarter-finals ✅ @tennisaustralia #DavisCupMadridFinals #byRakuten

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But Darcis refused to lie down and saved two match points – one from a 21-shot rally and the second from a 31-shot extravaganza.

Kyrgios did well to hold firm when it mattered and saved two set points to close out the win.

The final doubles rubber John Peers, partnering Jordan Thompson, retiring with what appeared to be an arm injury just one game into the match against Belgian pairing Sander Gille and Joran Vliegen.

Great Britain’s marathon 2-1 win against the Netherlands earlier on Court Three, which saw all three rubbers go the distance, kept Australia and Belgium waiting.


Tokyo Unleashed Podcast: Aidan Roach

Submitted by admin on Wed, 11/20/2019 - 15:20
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Tokyo Unleashed Aidan Roach
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Aidan Roach was always destined to be an elite sportsman, expected to follow in the footsteps of his much-decorated rugby league-playing father, Steve 'Blocker' Roach, a legendary NRL prop of the 80's.


Roach lived up to his genes, but in a different ballgame, competing at two Olympics for the Aussie Sharks Men's Water Polo Team.

Roach is now gunning for his third Games at Tokyo 2020, chasing a place on the podium that has eluded the Aussie men for over 70 years.

You can listen to more Tokyo Unleashed Podcasts HERE

Olympics Unleashed Celebrates 500th Queensland School

Submitted by admin on Wed, 11/20/2019 - 09:04
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Olympics Unleashed, presented by Optus, celebrated its 500th Queensland school today, with Olympic swimmer David McKeon inspiring 300 students at Graceville State School in Brisbane.


More than 76 000 Queensland students from Coolangatta to Cape York have had Olympians, Paralympians and athletes aspiring for Tokyo 2020 visit their classroom to motivate them to find their passion and unleash their potential.


AOC CEO Matt Carroll said the success of the program highlights the impact Olympians and the power of sport can have in the community.

“Today’s milestone means 76 000 students who have been face to face with elite athletes in their classroom, inspiring them to find their passion, build resilience and chase their goals,” Mr Carroll said.

“Olympians have inspiring stories that go beyond sport, and teachers have told us having an Olympian face to face in the classroom is a powerful way to engage students about what you can achieve when you have a goal and work towards it. 



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“This message is helping young Australians to be the best they can– whether that’s in the classroom, the playground, the sporting field or at home.

“The AOC thanks the Queensland Government, Minister de Brenni, and the Queensland Academy of Sport for their foresight and, support making it possible to use the Olympic spirit to inspire young Queenslanders throughout the state. Our Olympic partner, Optus, has also invested in the program and the athletes to enhance the experience. 

David McKeon, a Rio 2016 and London 2012 Olympic swimmer, is one of more than 100 athletes trained to deliver Unleashed across Queensland.


“I’ve loved the opportunity to come face to face with so many students around Queensland and help inspire them with my Olympic story,” McKeon said.

“I want students to come away knowing that you shouldn’t lose heart or motivation if you’re not the best at something straight away or if you don’t have that one passion early on. 

“I didn’t start swimming seriously until I was 17 and have found my passion and some success, even though that’s a really late start for most swimmers. 


“A lot of kids can think that if they’re not great at something straight away that it’s not going to get better for them. I want my story to help show that trying a whole range of interests – whether it’s different sports, school subjects and hobbies, and not worrying if you’re not the best early on, can help them discover a passion and success they may never thought possible.

“It’s crazy to think that if we’re lucky enough to host an Olympics in Queensland in 2032, the students we’re talking to now will be old enough to be competing at a home Games.

“I’m so grateful for the opportunity of Olympics Unleashed. I’ve got the chance to visit schools from the Gold Coast to Torres Strait and it’s something I don’t take for granted – the reaction from the kids, the smiles, laughs and how interested they are learning from our stories makes it a really humbling experience.”


Queensland Minister for Sport Mick de Brenni said the program is creating a buzz around sport, with the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games just around the corner.

“The program will run through until the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, by which time we are expecting athletes to have visited 150,000 students in 900 schools,” he said.

“An additional 100 Queensland schools have already registered for a visit, so we encourage more schools to get on board this fantastic program.

“Olympics Unleashed is a great program to get kids excited about sport, and a fun starting-gun to get them to live a more active lifestyle.”


“We are delighted to see that the Olympics Unleashed program has reached its 500th visit in Queensland,” Optus MD 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 program inspire the next generation and change the future they see.” 

Olympics Unleashed in Queensland is a $1.34 million joint program with the Queensland Government, Australian Olympic Committee and presenting partner Optus. 

The program is free for schools and aimed at years 4-6. Schools can find out more and register for the program now at www.olympicsunleashed.com.au, with visits continuing in 2020.

AOC welcomes Airbnb global partnership

Submitted by admin on Tue, 11/19/2019 - 14:20
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Airbnb Olympic Partner
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The Australian Olympic Committee has welcomed the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) announcement of a global partnership with Airbnb as a major boost in commercial opportunities for current and retired athletes. 


The nine-year partnership will see accommodation provisions that will reduce the cost of hosting Olympic Games in the future while generating revenue for local hosts and communities.

AOC President John Coates says the direct opportunities for athletes to benefit financially is a significant feature of the new partnership.

“This is a shot in the arm for current and retired athletes. The opportunities created through the Airbnb Olympian Experiences platform will generate revenue for athletes in a way that suits their individual circumstances.

“With their expertise and interests, Olympic athletes are uniquely placed to build a business model around anything from training sessions, workshops, insights or city tours and hosting athletes from around the world.

“The fact that athletes will be given the training and support to make these options viable is a major step forward and a great feature of this new partnership. 

“Australia is a wonderful destination for people who embrace our lifestyle and our environment. The Airbnb Olympian Experiences is an exciting addition to that market, providing income to athletes as well as promoting sport and physical activity.”

The partnership sits on top of the current USD 5 billion the IOC distributes across this Olympiad (four years) for Organising Committees, National Olympic Committees, Solidarity grants to athletes and the IOC Olympic Refugee Team.

Mr Coates also welcomed the opportunity the partnership provides for Australian athletes to travel and compete more economically.

“It can be costly for athletes to pursue their dreams in Olympic sports which are inherently international as well as national. Through this partnership, there’s an opportunity to ease the cost burden and link athletes globally."

Airbnb Olympic Experiences will be launched in early 2020, however athletes can register their interest through the IOC’s Athlete 365 portal. 

A day in the life of Milly Tapper

Submitted by admin on Tue, 11/19/2019 - 11:10
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Milly Tapper #OlympicTakeover
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Milly Tapper was born with brachial plexus palsy, but has spent most of her long table tennis career competing against able-bodied female and male athletes alike. She made history in 2016 as the first athlete to represent Australia in both the Olympic and Paralympic Games.


After finishing fourth at the London 2012 Paralympics, she became the first Paralympian to qualify for the Australian able-bodied Commonwealth Games Team at Glasgow 2014, where she helped Australia pick up bronze in the Team event.

Two years later she made history again when she represented Australia in both the singles and doubles competition at the Rio 2016 Olympics, and at the Rio 2016 Paralympics.

Based in Melbourne, Victoria, the 29-year-old is now eyeing off a second Olympic Games at Tokyo 2020.

She recently took over the @AUSOlympicTeam Instagram story to show followers a day in her strict training regime in Melbourne.


WEEKEND WRAP: Beach Volleyball gold and steps towards Tokyo

Submitted by admin on Mon, 11/18/2019 - 13:36
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Taliqua and Mariafe - Chetumal
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Beach Volleyball gold in Mexico, the Opals progress through to next year’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament and Aussie baseballers finishing their Premier 12 campaign headline this week in Olympic sport.


Beach Volleyball – Mexican gold for Clancy and Artacho del Solar

Volleyball due Taliqua Clancy and Mariafe Artacho del Solar ended their 2019 season on a high, winning the 4-star FIVB tournament in Chetumal, Mexico.

The pair came from a set down to win the title over China’s Xia and Wang 15-21, 21-14, 15-12.


The pair went undefeated through the tournament, which included gutsy come from behind wins in both the semi-final and gold medal match.

It was a phenomenal return to form for the pair, taking the Chetumal title in just their second tournament back after four months of injury layoff since their World Championships bronze in July.

Find out more and catch the full gold medal replay HERE

Baseball – Aussies take historic win and top 6 finish from Premier 12

Australia’s baseballers finished their Premier 12 campaign in sixth place, going down in their final Super Round matchup to Chinese Taipei 5-1 off the back of a 4-run eighth innings from Taipei.

The result denied the Australians a place in the bronze medal playoff, at Australia’s first tilt at the Premier 12 tournament.

With a Tokyo 2020 quota spot going to the highest ranked team from Asia/Oceania not already qualified, South Korea’s silver medal earned them a place at baseball’s return to the Olympic arena. 


From all of us, thank you! 💚💛 #AUSp12 #Premier12

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With a final chance for Australia to qualify at a global qualification tournament in March next year, strong performances like the team’s historic 2-1 win over USA on Wednesday will give the team confidence.

“There are a lot of emotions about some of the results but I think we’ve been in every game and at some stage of every game, we’ve had an opportunity to win,” Manager David Nilsson said.

Find out more HERE

Modern Pentathlon - Ed Fernon secures quota spot with Oceania title

London 2012 Olympian Ed Fernon has secured a quota spot by name for Tokyo 2020, winning the Oceania title at the Asian/Oceania Championships in China last Tuesday.

In a remarkable comeback, Fernon put in one of the best performances of his career after several years away from international competition to claim the title, with fellow Australian Rhys Lanskey close behind.

“It’s been an amazing experience and a real team effort,” Fernon said with a huge smile after the event.

“So many people supported me along the way. Three months ago, this was the furthest thing to come back and have another shot.

“I’m really proud of what I’ve been able to achieve here and I’m really excited for training for Tokyo.”

Find out more HERE.

Basketball – Opals progress to Olympic Qualification Tournament with 2-1 record in Malaysia

The Australian Opals have made it through to the 2020 global Olympic Qualification Tournament for Tokyo 2020 after finishing second in their pool at the Asian Pre-Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Malaysia.

With eight Asian teams vying for four spots at next February’s global qualifiers, Australia’s dominant wins over India and Chinese Taipei were enough to see them through as second in their pool, with a tough 82-69 loss to Japan in their final matchup.

Australia will compete with 15 other teams for 10 remaining Tokyo quota spots at the 6-9 February Olympic Qualifying Tournament, with hosts Japan and 2018 FIBA Women’s World Cup champions US already securing their Tokyo berths.

The Opals will find out their Olympic Qualifying Tournament pools and locations at the FIBA draw on 27 November.

Hockey – Brisbane and Sydney crowned national hockey champions

A host of Hockeyroos and Kookaburras starred on grand final day for the inaugural Hockey One league, with Brisbane Blaze defeating Melbourne in a shootout to claim the women’s title and NSW Pride dominating Brisbane 8-3 in the men’s final.

In the women’s final, after being locked 1-1 at the end of regulation, Hockeyroo teammates went head to head in a nail-biting shootout. Rosie Malone slotted the championship-winning penalty past national goalkeeper Rachael Lynch to secure the win.

The NSW Pride men’s team finished their incredible year on top, capping off an unbeaten season with a dominant 8-3 grand final victory.

Tim Brand scored a first-half hattrick to set the tone and the Pride never gave Brisbane a chance in the second half.

Find out more on the men’s final HERE and women’s final HERE

Equestrian – Hazel Shannon wins Trifecta at Australian 3-Day Event

Hazel Shannon became the first rider to claim the Australian 3-Day Event Trifecta on the same horse, winning dressage, showjumping and cross country on 14-year-old chestnut Willingapark Clifford.

“It blows my mind to think about what we have achieved and where we have come from,’’ Shannon, 27, said.

“I wasn’t born into an eventing family or community. I came down from Far North Queensland to NSW to work for Heath Ryan for what was meant to be a gap year and 10 years later we have done this.

“That’s how I met Clifford. He’s changed my life and the partnership I have with him has achieved things I never thought possible.’’

Find out more HERE

Olympians awarded for stellar years

Olympians and Tokyo 2020 hopefuls are among the winners as Australia’s sporting institutes recognise the best performances of 2019.

At Friday’s West Australian Institute of Sport Awards, swimmer Brianna Throssell was named athlete of the year, while Sydney 2000 Olympian and sailing coach Belinda Stowell took out coach of the year.

Find out more about the best in the West HERE

In Sydney, Cate Campbell and Tom Burton took out the New South Wales Institute of Sport athlete of the year awards after a year of great international success.

2018 Youth Olympian Will Cooley also took out the young athlete of the year award.

The work of Olympians in the community was also recognised, with the Olympic Unleashed program, presented by Optus, taking out the 7 News Spirit of Sport award.