Cross Country Skiing

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Jessica Yeaton of Australia reacts after crossing the finish line during the Ladies' 30km Mass Start Classic on day sixteen of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Alpensia Cross-Country Centre on February 25, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea.
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Sport Introduction

Australia and Olympic Cross Country Skiing

Bruce Haslingden and Cedric Sloan were Australia’s first cross country representatives at an Olympic Winter Games. They participated in the 18km and 50km events at the 1952 Games in Oslo. Neither of them finished the gruelling 50km event and placed 74th and 75th respectively in the 18km event.

Four Australian athletes have placed in the 30-40th place range in individual events including Australia’s first female competitor Colleen Bolton. Bolton competed in the 5km classic and the 10km classic at the Lake Placid Games in 1980 placing 36th and 35th respectively.

It was another 26 years before two more Australian women, Esther Bottomley and Clare-Louise Brumley competed at the Torino 2006 Games. They were also joined by Paul Murray. Murray and Bottomley continued their Olympic careers in Vancouver in 2010 along with teammate Ben Sim.

The Sochi 2014 Games saw Bottomley join Anthony Evans (1992, 1994, 1998) as Australia’s only three-time Cross Country Skiing Olympians. She was joined on the Russian slopes by brother and sister duo Aimee and Callum Watson as well as Phil Bellingham.  

Australia took its largest ever cross country skiing team to PyeongChang 2018. The Watson siblings and Bellingham returned for their second Games, joining Olympic debutants Casey Wright and Jessica Yeaton. Dual Olympian for Slovenia Barbara Jezersek made her debut in the green and gold and equalled Australia’s best ever Olympic cross country result with 33rd in the women’s 10km Free. The result matches Chris Heberle’s 33rd place finish in the 15km Classic event at the Calgary 1988 Games and beats the previous best by an Australian female which had been held by Colleen Bolton (35th - 10km Classic, 1980). She then joined forces with Yeaton to secure Australia’s best ever Team Sprint result of 12th place.

Olympic History

Cross country appeared at the inaugural Olympic Winter Games in 1924 and stayed relatively unchanged until the women’s events were introduced in 1952. The most important change to the format of cross country at the Olympics happened at the 1988 Games in Calgary when new freestyle technique events were introduced to complement the classic technique. This enabled skiers to use a style similar to skating, pushing the skis from both legs, in addition to the classic form where skis stay parallel and do not deviate from the grooved tracks marked out in the snow.

A mass start event was introduced in Salt Lake City in 2002- a significant change from the original start where athletes took off on 30 second staggers. In Salt Lake City, the new Sprint event (approximately 1.5 km) was also offered for the first time in the Olympic Games.

There are now 12 cross country events on the 2014 Olympic program (6 men’s and 6 women’s) ranging from a 1.5km sprint to the 50km (men)/ 30km (women) mass start.

Cross country has proven particularly successful for the Scandinavians and Russians.

Sport Format

Skiathlon (30km men, 15km women) (C&F)

Formerly known as pursuit, skiathlon is the cross country event for all rounders. It combines both classical and freestyle techniques meaning  there are more tactics involved in the skiathlon than in regular mass start races. Competitors start simultaneously, lined up in an arrow format with the best ranked skiers at the front.

The first half of the race is completed using a classical technique- ladies cover 7.5km (in loops of 2.5 km) and men complete 15km (in loops of 3.75 km). Athletes then use dedicated changing boxes in the stadium to switch skis and often poles. The second half of the race (7.5km for women and 15km for men) is raced using the free technique. 

Individual Sprint Free (1.6km men, 1.4km women)

The individual sprint competition consists of a qualification round and four final rounds: quarter-final, semifinal, A and B finals. For the qualification round, competitors start in 15-second intervals skiing one lap of the course. The top 30 competitors advance to the quarter-finals. The quarter-final, semifinal, and A and B final rounds have six skiers in each heat. The top two competitors from each heat advance to the next round. The A final consists of six skiers competing for the gold medal. The course laps are 1.4km for ladies and 1.6km for men.

Classic (15km men, 10km women)

A competitor starts at every 30 second interval with the best-ranked skiers starting at the end. Skiers race against the clock and the winner is the competitor with the quickest time. The women’s event is 10km and the men’s event is 15km.

Relay (4x10km men, 4x5km women) (C&F)

Each team has four skiers, each of whom skis one of the four 5km (women) or 10km (men) relay legs. The first two legs of the relay are skied classical style and the final two are freestyle.

Team Sprint Classic

The team sprint competition consists of two semifinal heats (qualification) and a final heat. In the team sprint, each team is made up of two skiers, who alternate skiing the sprint course three times each for a total of six laps. Competitors must perform a correct exchange between laps by physically touching their teammate without interfering or obstructing other teams. The winning team is the first team to cross the finish line after the completion of all six laps. There are two semifinal heats, with a total of 10 to 15 teams competing. The top three from each heat will advance, and the next four fastest teams will advance. The course laps are 1.4 kilometres for ladies and 1.6 kilometres for men.

Mass Start Free (50km men, 30km women)

The Mass Start is the longest event on the cross country program. Competitors start simultaneously, lined up in rows. The first competitor across the finish line wins the race.

Bobsleigh

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Australia and Olympic Bobsleigh

Australia first competed in bobsleigh at Calgary 1988. There were two two-man teams and one four-man team. Australia has been represented at every Games since with the exception of Salt Lake 2002.

The best Australian two-man results were Jason Giobbi and Adam Barclay at Nagano 1998 and Jeremy Rolleston and Shane McKenzie at Torino 2006, who also placed 22nd. Justin McDonald, Glenn Carroll, Scott Walker and Adam Barclay achieved the best four-man result of 20th at Lillehammer 1994.

At Torino, Australia was represented for the first time ever in the women's event by Astrid Loch-Wilkinson and Kylie Reed who placed 14th. Loch-Wilkinson contested her second Games in Vancouver 2010 alongside teammate Cecilia McIntosh. In Vancouver there was also two two-man and one four-man squad in the men’s.

At the Sochi 2014 Games, Jana Pittman made Australian history by being the first woman to compete at both a Summer and Winter Games as she paired up with Astrid Radjenovic to compete in the women’s event. Australia also had a men’s two-man and four-man crew at the 2014 Games.

At the most recent PyeongChang 2018 Games, Australia was represented by a two-man and four-man Bobsleigh crew which finished in 22nd and 25th place respectively.  

Sport Format

Bobsleigh consists of three events in the Olympic program; the male four-man and two-man and female two-man. Each event consists of four heats, held on two consecutive days. The four runs are timed to 0.01 seconds. The final standings are determined by the total time over the four runs; the winner is the sled with the lowest aggregate time. If two teams complete the competition in a tie, they are awarded the same place.

Since Torino, only the 20 best-ranked sleds will compete in the fourth run. Entries are limited to two sleds per nation. The starting order is decided according to the nation's rankings on the World Cup.

The athletes push the bobsleigh reaching speeds of about 40km/h before they jump onto it. Once the crew is loaded, the pilot steers the sled through twisting, high speed turns and straightaways where top speeds can reach over 130km/h. The success of a team hinges on the initial pushing phase, as well as the steering and the materials of the sled (the sled and blades). Maximum sled weight of the combined team and equipment is specified, and the temperature of the runners measured prior to the competition to deter warming. If the bobsleigh overturns, but all members of the team have passed the finish line inside it, the descent is considered valid.

Bobsleigh is one of the high profile sports at the Winter Olympic Games - the ‘Formula One race on ice’ as it is known. The sport has been part of the official program since the first Winter Olympic Games in Chamonix 1924.

The first Olympic competition was a four or five-man event. In 1928 this was changed to a five-man, only to revert to a four man event at Lake Placid in 1932 when the two-man event was added to the program. Women's bobsleigh entered the program for the first time at Salt Lake 2002, with a women’s two-man event making its debut. In Torino the women’s two-man event increased from two heats to four heats held over two consecutive days.

During the last century technical regulations governing the design, weight, construction and dimensions of the bobsleigh have been introduced. In 1933 it was forbidden to heat the runners of sleds before competing and in 1947 competitors were forbidden from wearing shoes with “nails” in the soles to give them better grip at the start. Weight restrictions of crew members was also put in place after the 1952 Winter Olympics when the Germans won both gold medals with a combined crew weight of over 472.5kg in the four-man and 236.6kg in the two-man. 

Biathlon

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Australia and Olympic Biathlon

Prior to Sochi, Australia had been represented in biathlon by five Olympians across seven Olympics.  Having contested every Olympics from Albertville 1992 to Nagano 1998, Kerryn Rim (Pethybridge) is naturally the standout. Rim is the only Australian biathlete to compete at three Games and her best finishes were 21st in the 7.5km sprint and eighth in the 15km individual event in 1994.

Andrew Paul was the first Australian biathlon competitor, competing at the Sarajevo Games in 1984 and the Calgary Games in 1988. Paul’s best result was placing 47th in the 20km at Sarajevo 1984. His wife Sandra Paintin-Paul competed at Albertville 1992 and Lillehammer 1994 with a best result in 1994 placing 40th from a field of 69 in the 7.5km sprint.

With Australia missing out on qualification for the 2002 Games, Cameron Morton became the first Australian biathlete to compete in the 21st century when he was selected to contest the 20km individual and 10km sprint at Torino 2006. He finished 83rd and 82nd respectively. This was not Morton’s first Games experience as he coached Rim during her very successful Nagano campaign. Russian-born 19-year-old Alexei Almoukov represented Australia at the Vancouver 2010 Games in both 10km sprint and 20km individual events. His best result was 78th in the 20km.

Olympic History

Biathlon was developed on the slopes of Scandinavia where people hunted on skis for survival. It first joined the Olympic ranks in 1948 as a demonstration sport in St Moritz. Inspired by modern pentathlon, it was much more involved than it is today, combining cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, shooting, fencing and equestrian.

But the Winter pentathlon evolved into its current ski/shoot form at the 1960 Squaw Valley Games with the men’s 20km individual event. Relay and sprint events were added over the years (relay in 1968, 10km sprint in 1980), and women’s biathlon debuted in Albertville in 1992. Pursuit events were first added in Salt Lake City 2002 and a new mass-start event was introduced for both men and women in Torino 2006- this brings together the 30 best athletes from the World Cup.

There are now 11 events on the Olympic program. The latest addition is the mixed relay, which will be introduced at the Winter Games in Sochi in 2014.

Sport Format

Biathlon involves using the free cross country technique in conjunction with target shooting. Athletes ski loops of the course, stopping each time to fire five shots of a small calibre rifle aiming to hit five targets. Participants rotate shooting from the standing position and prone position (lying down on one’s torso). Target size varies depending on the shooting position - 11.5cm for standing and 4.5cm for prone. The distance between the shooting position and the target is 50 metres. Penalties for missed targets are imposed either as one minute of added time per target for the Individual competition or as a 150m penalty loop - done immediately after each bout of shooting - for all other competitions

There are 11 events on the competition program: men’s and women’s sprint, pursuit, individual, mass start and relays, as well as a mixed relay which has been added for the Sochi 2014 Games.

Individual Competition

The individual has the longest skiing distance of all solo biathlon events- 20km for men and 15km for women. Biathletes start at intervals of either 30 seconds or one minute. Men start by skiing 4km and then shooting, continuing the sequence until they have shot four times. Women generally do the same, but with 3km ski loops for their 15km competition.

There is a one minute penalty incurred for every shot missed. For that reason, shooting is more important in the individual competition than other events- where athletes must complete a penalty loop of 150m which takes about 21 to 26 seconds to ski.

The Individual competition takes about 55 minutes to compete for the best competitors.

Sprint Competition

The sprint is an abbreviated version of the Individual competition and one in which speed is a key factor. Men race 10km, and women 7.5km, each with two shooting rounds - one prone and one standing. For every missed target, a competitor must complete a 150m penalty loop.

With shorter distances and only two bouts of shooting for all classes, the skiing times are around 30 minutes.

Pursuit Competition

The top 60 athletes from the biathlon sprint event qualify for the pursuit. They start in a staggered formation based on their start times from the sprint, with the winner of qualifying starting first and the rest following in the order and time that they finished behind the winner in qualifying. This makes for thrilling racing as you see athletes overtake one another and you can always see who is leading.

Men ski 12.5km and women 10km. Each covers four shooting stages—the first two are taken prone and the second two from a standing position. As with the Sprint competition, athletes ski a 150m penalty loop for each miss.

Mass Start

The Mass Start competition is one of the newest biathlon formats. It covers a distance of 15km for men and 12.5km for women, with four shooting stages, the first two prone and second two standing. In each race, the 30 highest ranked athletes start together simultaneously and take their place at the first shooting stage depending on their starting number. Athletes line up at the remaining shooting stages depending on the order in which they arrived at the firing line. A 150m penalty loop is added for each miss.

Relay

The Relay consists of four-person national teams covering 4x7.5km for men and 4x6km for women.

The first competitors from each team start simultaneously, ski 2.5km (2km for Women), shoot prone, ski 2.5km, shoot standing and then continue with the last 2.5km to tag the next team member, or – in the case of the last competitor – ski to the finish line.

Each competitor in a relay competition carries three spare rounds. If all five targets are not knocked down with the first five rounds, the spares must be used. The concept is that because of the intense pressure in the relay, the competitor may wish to shoot extremely fast, and then be able to get away quickly if all five targets are hit. However, if all five targets are not hit with the five rounds in the magazine, the spare rounds must be loaded individually by hand, which takes much more time and which is very difficult under pressure. Penalty laps of 150m are incurred for each missed target.

Sochi will host the first Olympic mixed relay, comprising of two men and two women in each team.  Women open the relay, completing the first two legs- each 6km with two rounds of shooting. The men then complete the third and fourth legs which are 7.5km. In other respects, the procedure for the mixed relay competition is as in the above description.

Alpine Skiing

Submitted by admin on Sun, 06/30/2019 - 10:40
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Australia and Olympic Alpine Skiing

Zali Steggall created history at the Nagano Games in 1998 when she won Australia’s first individual Winter Olympic medal, a bronze in the slalom. Steggall finished her career after Salt Lake 2002 as a four-time Olympian.

Australia has been represented by 40 alpine skiers at the Winter Olympics with the first being at the 1952 Oslo Winter Games.

In Vancouver 2010, two male Australian alpine skiers competed. For Jono Brauer, it was his second Games and for Craig Branch, his third.

Australia was represented by five Olympic debutants in Alpine skiing at Sochi 2014. At just 18, Greta Small lined up in all five events including Australia’s best result in Alpine competition in Sochi with a 15th place finish in the Super Combined. Small returned for her second Games at PyeongChang 2018, recording Australia’s best ever women’s Downhill result with 20th place. She also finished 31st in the Super-G but unfortunately recorded a DNF in the Combined Downhill. Her fellow Sochi teammate Dominic Demschar improved on his 39th place Giant Slalom result at PyeongChang, finishing 33rd.

Olympic History

At an IOC congress in 1910 the idea of forming an international ski federation was discussed and the Commission Internationale de Ski emerged to help guide the sport over the next fourteen years. In 1914 a proposal for the inclusion of ski events in the Olympics Games was put forward, however no approval was given.

Skiing featured as a demonstration sport at the Chamonix 1924 Games however the debate over the sport’s Olympic inclusion still raged. Both Norway and Finland voted against the inclusion of Olympic skiing as they thought it might detract from their own well-established international competitions.

Despite its status as one of the blue riband events of the Winter Olympics, it was not until 1936 at the Garmisch-Partenkirchen Games that alpine skiing made its debut when the combined (downhill and slalom) events for both men and women were held. This event was dropped eight years later and only reappeared at Calgary 1988 alongside the inaugural inclusion of the Super G.

Slalom and downhill were added at the1948 St Moritz Games and the first giant slalom competition was held in 1952. 

Sport Format

Alpine skiing involves all skiing events which occur on a downhill course and do not involve ramps or awkward bumps. The Olympic alpine competition consists of ten evåents: five for women and five for men. The rules are the same for all but the courses differ. Alpine racing is a beat the clock format in which a skier goes down the mountain from Point A to Point B and the fastest time wins. There is no judging involved and races are timed in hundredths of a second. 
 
There are two 'technical' events - the slalom and the giant slalom - two 'speed' events - the downhill and super-G and one combined event.

Downhill it features the longest and least winding alpine course and is marked by red flags. Each skier makes a single run down a single course and the fastest time determines the winner.

Slalom demands the sharpest turns of the alpine events and is contested on the shortest course. A skier must pass through a set number of gates which mark the course or is disqualified from the event. Each skier makes two runs down two different courses on the same slope. Both runs take place on the same day. The times are added and the fastest total time determines the winner.

Giant Slalom is a longer, faster version of the slalom and does not involve a set minimum of bends. The course is marked by alternating red and blue flags as gate markers. As in the slalom, each skier makes two runs down two different courses on the same slope. Both runs take place on the same day.The times are added, and the fastest total time determines the winner.

Wrestling

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Wrestling

Three Australians have won medals in freestyle events at the Olympics. In Los Angeles 1932, Eddie Scarf was third in the light-heavyweight division. Twelve years later in London, Dick Garrard won a silver medal as a welterweight and Jim Armstrong won a bronze medal in the heavyweight division. Garrard is the only wrestler to be inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame. Australia has never won a Greco-Roman Olympic medal.

Farzad Tarash was Australia's only wrestler to qualify a quota spot for Australia for the London Games after booking his ticket to the 2012 Games by finishing in the top two of his division at the African and Oceania Qualifying Tournament. Competing in the U/60kg division in London, Tarash had a bye through to the quarterfinals where he went down to North Korea’s Jong Myong Ri 3-0.

Olympic History

Some form of wrestling has featured at every modern Olympic Games, except for Paris 1900. Greco-Roman wrestling has been on every Olympic program except Paris (1900) and St Louis (1904). Freestyle wrestling, which rose to popularity in Great Britain and the United States in the 19th century, made its Olympic debut in St Louis and since then has only missed being an Olympic sport in Stockholm 1912.

Women competed in wrestling for the first time at the 2004 Athens Olympics, in four freestyle weight categories. Australia was first represented in women's wrestling in Beijing 2008 by Kyla Bremner.

Sport Format

Greco-Roman wrestling allows competitors to use only their arms to “attack” the upper bodies of their opponents. Freestyle wrestling allows competitors to use their arms and legs to perform holds on the whole body of their opponents. A wrestling bout comprises two three-minute periods, with a 30 second break. Wrestlers are awarded points from officials for technical manoeuvres against their opponent. The person who wins 2 out of 3 periods wins the bout.

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Weightlifting

Submitted by admin on Sun, 06/30/2019 - 10:33
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Australia and Olympic Weightlifting

Australia sent its first weightlifters to London in 1948. Four years later at Helsinki, Vern Barberis won a bronze medal in the lightweight category. It took another 32 years before the next weightlifting medal was won by an Australian; in fact two were won at Los Angeles 1984. Dean Lukin won the gold medal as a super heavyweight and Robert Kabbas, the silver as a light heavyweight. The USSR-led boycott by most of the Eastern Bloc countries removed many of the leading contenders from the weightlifting competition at Los Angeles, particularly in the heavier divisions. Before the boycott was announced, Lukin, a wealthy tuna fisherman from Port Lincoln in South Australia, was considered a chance for a medal but once the boycott came into effect he was elevated to favourite for the gold. In the event, Lukin became Olympic champion but only after a thrilling contest with Mario Martinez from the United States. Australia’s fourth weightlifting medal came with Stefan Botev in the super heavyweight category in Atlanta 1996.

The London Games saw the return of heavyweight Damon Kelly, who competed at the Beijing Games, alongside debutant Seen Lee. Kelly lifted a combined total of 381kg to finish in 18th with Lee, who competed in the 63kg division, finishing in 7th after lifting 186kg.

Australia sent two weightlifting Olympic debutants to Rio in 2016, who both achieved a top 14 finish. Simplice Ribouem finished 13th in the men’s 94kg category, equaling his personal best snatch of 155kg. In the women’s 58kg class, Tia-Clair Toomey finished 14th, lifting a total 189kg – 82kg in the snatch and 107kg in the clean and jerk.

Weightlifting featured in the first modern Olympics at Athens in 1896. The two events in 1896 were the one-handed lift and the two-handed lift and they were open to all competitors regardless of their weight. The sport appeared again at St Louis 1904 (and in the Intercalated Olympics in Athens in 1906) and then at Antwerp 1920 after which it commenced an unbroken run on the Olympic program. Women’s weightlifting was added to the Olympic program at Sydney in 2000.

Sport Format

There is one gold medal awarded for every weight division at the Olympic Games. An athlete’s performance is the total weight from two types of lifts - the snatch and the clean and jerk. In the snatch, athlete’s lift the bar to arm’s length above their head in one smooth movement. In the clean and jerk, they lift the bar to their shoulders, stand up straight, then jerk the bar to arm’s length above their head. In each case the bar must be held above their head for at least two seconds. Lifters are allowed three attempts at each lift.

Three referees judge each lift, and express their verdict by way of lights: white for a good lift; red for an illegal lift. The majority rules in the case of a disagreement.

Should the total of two or more lifters be the same, the result is decided by body weight (i.e the lighter lifter will be declared the winner).

Water Polo

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Australia and Olympic Water Polo

The gold medal winning performance by the Australian women at their home Olympics in Sydney is the overwhelming highlight for Australia in this sport. In a nail-biting finish, Australia’s Yvette Higgins scored the winning goal with 1.2 seconds left on the clock. At Beijing 2008, after a series of bad luck for the women's team in not reaching the grand final, they beat Hungary by one goal in a thrilling match to win bronze, giving many of the girls their first Olympic medal after placing fourth at Athens in 2004.

In 2012, Australia's women's team went agonisingly close to making the gold medal playoff at the London Games as they went down to eventual champions USA in extra time in the semi finals. They bounced back strongly to secure their second straight bronze medal defeating Hungary 13-11.

The women’s team went to Rio 2016 with gold in their sights, however their tournament was cut short after a devastating quarter final loss to Hungary. After scores were locked 8-all at the end of regular play, the teams went straight into a penalty shootout where Australian went down to Hungary 11-13.

Australia first sent a men’s water polo team to London in 1948 and one of the team members, Les McKay, carried the Australian flag in the Opening Ceremony. The 1948 water polo team was the first to represent Australia in a mainstream Olympic team sport. Australia’s men have not won a medal in water polo with the best placing being fifth at 1984 Los Angeles and 1992 Barcelona.

In London the men made the quarter-finals after winning their final preliminary round match against Greece 13-8. Buoyed from that performance the Aussies took a 8-6 lead into the final quarter against eventual bronze medallists Serbia but were unable to progress to the semi finals going down 11-8 and eventually finishing the tournament seventh. Despite a consistent tournament with two wins, two losses and a drawn, the men’s team failed to qualify for the quarter finals at Rio 2016.

Water polo is the oldest Olympic team sport having been contested continuously at every modern Olympic Games since Paris 1900. Football also debuted in 1900 but was not held at the Los Angeles 1932 Games.

Women’s water polo made its debut at Sydney 2000. Much of the credit for its inclusion on the Olympic program can be credited to lobbying led by Australia, the United States, Canada and Holland. In a fitting conclusion to the Sydney tournament, the two countries that perhaps were the greatest proponents for the sport to gain Olympic status, Australia and the United States, played off for the gold medal.

One of the most famous Olympic water polo games was between Hungary and the USSR in Melbourne 1956 known as the “blood in the water” match. The game was played a few weeks after the USSR had invaded Hungary to quell an uprising. Hungary won the game after a bloody contest, and then went on to win the gold medal.

Sport Format

To score, players must throw the ball into the goal which floats on the water 3 metres wide and 0.9m high. Apart from the goalkeeper, who is allowed to touch the bottom of the pool in the 4-metre goalkeepers area, players cannot touch the bottom of the pool in any active part of the game, if so, a foul is given. Each game is played over four eight-minute periods.

Eight teams play in the women's division at the Olympic Games while 12 compete in the men's division. In the men's event, the qualifying teams are divided into two pools of six for a round-robin preliminary heat. The top four teams from each pool advance to the quarter-finals, and the quarter-finals winners advance to the medal rounds.

The women's teams play a full round-robin preliminary heat, with the top four teams advancing to the medal rounds. The two teams failing to advance, play to determine fifth and sixth place.

Volleyball

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Australia and Olympic Volleyball

Kerri Pottharst and Natalie Cook won Australia’s first ever Olympic volleyball medal when they won the bronze on the beach at Atlanta in 1996 at the discipline's debut. Four years later in Sydney, Pottharst and Cook won the gold medal before thousands of hometown fans on Bondi Beach.

Tamsin Hinchley (Barnett), who played indoor volleyball for Australia in Sydney 2000, switched to the beach and finished fifth alongside Cook in Beijing 2008 before the duo agin combined four years later. The London Olympics marked Cook’s fifth and final Games. She bowed out as the only athlete to have competed in all five beach competitions since its Olympic inception and the first female summer Olympian to compete at five Games for Australia.

Outside of Cook and Pottharst's medals, it was the men’s pair of Julien Prosser and Mark Williams who have gone closest to another podium finish for Australia.The duo made the bronze medal match of Athens 2004 where they went down in the third set 13-15 to finish fourth.   

Having competed in London with Becchara Palmer, Lousie Bawden returned to Olympic competition in Rio with Australia's first indigenous beach volleyball athlete Taliqua Clancy. The duo topped their pool with three straight wins before claiming a 2-1 victory over Poland in the round of 16. The win set up a clash with formidable USA pairing of Kerri Walsh-Jennings and April Walsh who went on to defeat the Aussies in straight sets. Australia's other pairing in Rio, U/23 World Champions Nikki Laird and Mariafe Artacho del Solar, were unable to secure a win in what was a tough pool. 

Beach volleyball gained Olympic status in Atlanta 1996. The United States team of Charles “Karch” Kiraly and Kent Steffes won the men’s title. Kiraly was a member of the gold medal-winning United States team in indoor volleyball in Los Angeles 1984 and Seoul 1988.

Triathlon

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Australia and Olympic Triathlon

The women’s triathlon in Sydney was the first of the 300 events decided for the 2000 Games. Australia's Michellie Jones, the twice world champion (1992 and 1993), finished a close second behind Brigitte McMahon of Switzerland. In Athens 2004, Australia’s Loretta Harrop won the silver medal after being passed with just 400m left in the run. In Greece Greg Bennett finished fourth to just miss the podium.

In Beijing 2008, Emma Snowsill won Australia's first ever Olympic triathlon gold medal, taking out the women's event in true style after taking the lead in the run leg and never looking back. Teammate Emma Moffatt crossed the line in third place, winning bronze and continuing Australia’s dominance in women’s triathlon.

In one of the tightest triathlons in Olympic history, Australia’s Erin Densham produced an inspiring run to finish only two seconds off the gold medal to collect bronze in London’s iconic Hyde Park with her teammate Emma Jackson eighth while Moffatt who was also expected to challenge for the medals came off her bike in slippery conditions around Buckingham Palace and was unable to continue racing. Courtney Atkinson was Australia's best men's finisher in 18th as British brothers Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee took gold and bronze on home soil. Fellow Aussies Brad Kahlefeldt and Brendan Sexton finished 32nd and 35th respectively.

Emma Moffatt and Erin Densham competed at their third Olympic games at iconic Copacabana beach at Rio 2016. Moffatt placed sixth in the women’s race with Densham finishing 12th. Olympic debutants Aaron Royle and Ryan Bailie rounded out the top 10 in the men’s race, placing ninth and 10th respectively. Fellow Aussie debutants Ryan Fisher and Ashleigh Gentle finished 26th and 24th in their respective races.

Coming out of the American jogging craze in the early 1970s the first triathlon was conducted in September 1974 in San Diego, Southern California. The next quarter of a century saw the sport experience a rapid rise in global popularity and status.

Triathlon became a fully-fledged Olympic sport for men and women at Sydney 2000.

Sport Format

The distances for the each leg of the Olympic triathlon are: 1500m open-water swim, 40km cycle and 10km run.

Both men’s and women’s events are capped at 50 qualified competitors. After a mass start for the swim leg, the race remains continuous, with no stop between the three legs. Changeovers - better known as transitions – are vital to the race strategy. The time taken to get in and out of gear and on and off the bike can have a huge impact on the race. The leading men will take approximately 1 hour and 45 mins and the women 1 hour 50 minutes depending on the course.

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Tennis

Submitted by admin on Sun, 06/30/2019 - 10:24
Referenced Sport Seasons
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Tennis Hero
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Tennis Preview Card
Medal Tally
Bronze Medals
5
Silver Medals
1
Gold Medals
1
Sport Introduction

Australia and Olympic Tennis

Australia can lament the hiatus in tennis’s appearance in the Olympic program as it surely would have picked up many more medals when the Australian men were dominating the world’s tournaments in the 1950s and 1960s.

Since its return as an Olympic sport, tennis has provided Australia with one gold, one silver and four bronze medals. Australia’s Edwin Flack, the winner of the 800m and 1500m athletics titles in 1896, also played in doubles tennis at those Olympics. His partner was an Englishman, George Robertson and the pair won bronze.

The gold and silver medals were won by ‘The Woodies’ (Mark Woodforde and Todd Woodbridge) in the men’s doubles at Atlanta 1996 and Sydney 2000 respectively. Elizabeth Smylie and Wendy Turnbull won bronze in the women’s doubles at Seoul 1988 and Rachel McQuillan with Nicole Bradtke (then Provis) did likewise at Barcelona 1992. At Athens 2004, Alicia Molik won Australia’s first individual tennis medal, a bronze in the women’s singles.

Australia took a strong team to London including 2011 US Open winner Sam Stosur, former world number one Lleyton Hewitt and rising star Bernard Tomic. Stalwart Hewitt was Australia’s best performer as he made the men’s third round before going down to world number two Novak Djokovic. He went on to make the quarterfinals with Stosur in the mixed doubles where they were defeated by Great British pair and eventual silver medallists Andy Murray and Laura Robson.

The 2016 team was again spearheaded by now four-time Olympian Sam Stoser and contained seven Olympic debutants. While no medals were won, Stoser achieved her best Olympic result in reaching the third round of the women’s singles competition. Another highlight was Aussie young gun Daria Gavriola battling it out with world number one Serena Williams (USA) on the centre court. John Millman also created Olympic history when he became the first man to not concede a game in his opening round encounter against Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis, which he won 6-0 6-0. Millman was later defeated by number four seed Kei Nishikori on a centre court show down.

Tennis appeared on the Olympic program in Athens 1896 and remained until Paris 1924. Due to difficulties in solving the amateur-professional divide, the sport disappeared until Seoul 1988. Its return to the Olympic fold was heralded when it appeared as a demonstration sport four years earlier in Los Angeles.

The first female Olympic champion at the modern Olympics was Charlotte Cooper, who won the women’s singles at Paris 1900. Steffi Graf of West Germany won the women’s singles title in 1988, when tennis returned to the Olympics - adding to her successes in the Grand Slam titles of that year (Australian, French, Wimbledon and US).

Mixed doubles was added to the Olympic program for London 2012.

Sport Format

The tennis competition at the Olympic Games involves single-elimination tournaments for each of the five events. All matches are played to tie-break sets except for the final set of the match. All matches are best-of-three sets, except for the men's singles and doubles finals, which will be best-of-five.

In all events, the semi-final winners play to decide the gold and silver medals, and the semi-final losers play for the bronze.

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