Sydney Middleton - Rowing and Rugby champion and decorated for his war service

Submitted by admin on Thu, 04/23/2020 - 12:42
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Australian Rugby Squad 1908
Article Introduction

Born in Sydney 1884, Sydney (Syd) Albert Middleton first came to the notice of the sporting world as a member of the New South Wales interstate rowing eight.


In 1908, although again selected in the state crew, he withdrew to concentrate on playing rugby union.

The season was a break-out one for him, playing so well for the Glebe District club and then New South Wales he forced his way into the 1908–09 Australian squad, the First Wallabies.

Middleton was a member of the team that won the gold medal at the 1908 London Olympic Games. 



Back in Australia, Middleton continued to play rugby and returned to rowing.

In rugby, he captained Australia in the three-Test series against the touring New Zealand All Blacks. On the water, he was selected in the Australian eight to attend the 1912 Stockholm Olympic Games.

En route to the Swedish capital, the crew won the prestigious Grand Challenge Cup at the Henley Royal Regatta. Hence Australia entered the Olympic regatta with high hopes of winning a medal, perhaps gold.

Unfortunately, in the quarter-final, the crew was beaten by a Great Britain combination that went on to win the gold medal.

Middleton commenced officer training soon after the beginning of World War I, in August 1914, embarking for overseas in June 1915.

By war’s end, after serving at Gallipoli and on the Western Front, he had risen to the rank of major, at times temporary lieutenant-colonel, and had been Mentioned in Despatches and awarded the Distinguished Service Order. 


In late August 1918, less than eleven weeks before the signing of the Armistice, one of his good friends from Sydney and Stockholm 1912, the gold medal-winning swimmer Cecil Healy was killed on the Somme. 

At times Healy’s commanding officer, Middleton movingly wrote: ‘By Healy’s death the world loses one of its greatest champions, one of its best men. Today in the four years I have been at the Front, I wept for the first time’.

Middleton emerged from war relatively unscathed. Soon he became the Organising Secretary of the Australian Imperial Force’s (AIF’s) Sports Control Board which facilitated sport for the almost 200,000 battle-weary soldiers in Europe and the United Kingdom champing at the bit to return to Australia.

Besides his profound organisation skills, Middleton found time to row in the AIF eight that won the King’s Cup at the 1919 Royal Henley Peace Regatta.

Ultimately, for his war service, he was created Officer of the Military Division of the Most Excellent  Order of the British Empire (OBE).

Tom Richards - First Wallaby gold medallist and gallant on the Gallipoli frontline

Submitted by admin on Thu, 04/23/2020 - 11:18
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Tom Richards - Photographer Unknown
Article Introduction

Born in 1882 in Vegetable Creek, now Emmaville, in northern New South Wales, Thomas (Tom or Rusty) James Richards was playing rugby union in Charters Towers, Queensland when he was selected in the 1908–09 Australian squad, the First Wallabies.


He was a member of the team that won the gold medal at the 1908 London Olympic Games, scoring a spectacular try in the Olympic match.

The outstanding play of the brilliant back-rower during that tour was met with critical acclaim from the British press.

A rugby journeyman, he played top-grade football in South Africa, the British Isles, France, North America and Australia.


The trophy for competition between Australia and the British and Irish Lions was named the Tom Richards Cup in 2001 because of his being the only Australian-born player to turn out for both sides in Test matches.

He toured North America as one of the senior players with the 1911–12 Australian team.

Richards enlisted for World War I, on 26 August 1914, and embarked for overseas two months later as a private with the 1st Field Ambulance.

He landed at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915. In the Greg Growden-edited Wallaby Warrior: The World War I diaries of Australia’s only British Lion, Richards said on the eve of the landing, ‘I don’t feel the coming danger any more than I have felt anxious the night before an international football match’.

His gallantry as a stretcher-bearer on the Gallipoli Peninsula in May and June was acknowledged in divisional orders. 


After the evacuation of Gallipoli in December 1915, Richards soon found himself on the Western Front and ultimately in the 1st Infantry Battalion.

Whilst at Gallipoli and in France he crossed paths more than once with his friend, fellow London 1908 rugby gold medallist, Syd Middleton.

By war’s end, the now Lieutenant Richards had been wounded a number of times and been awarded the Military Cross in August 1917 for ‘gallantry and devotion to duty’ near Bullecourt the previous May.

Claude Smeal - From the Korean War battlefield to Helsinki 1952

Submitted by admin on Thu, 04/23/2020 - 10:57
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Claude Smeal - Australian War Memorial
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In early July 1952, World War II veteran Captain Claude Vincent Smeal hastily departed the Korean War battlefield to run in the marathon later that month at the Helsinki Olympic Games.


Outside army athletics, Smeal had never run competitively before taking up club running in Sydney, aged 31, in 1949.
In 1951, he finished fourth in marathon at the Australian championships and was the New South Wales champion in the event. The selection trials for the Australian athletics team for Helsinki were held in early 1952 by which time the then Lieutenant Smeal was in Korea.

Undaunted, he still harboured a desire to run at the Olympics and thus continued to train whenever and wherever possible during lulls in the fighting. 

Late in May, he ran marathon trial over a roughly marked-out course in a time which was just over six minutes outside the selection standard for the Australian team. That run was noticed by a couple of war correspondents who ensured that Smeal’s feat was reported in the Australian press. Smeal himself also advised the team selectors. 

The publicity was successful, and in early July, using his saved-up leave and paying for many expenses himself, he flew to London to join the Australian team which was assembling prior to setting off for the Finnish Capital.


When he stepped off the plane in London, Smeal was wearing his army uniform and carrying a basic kit bag. He was hastily kitted out with his Olympic uniform.

On 27 July, Smeal lined up with 65 other runners for the start of the marathon. Another runner on the starting line was the incomparable Czech, Emil Zatopek who was attempting his first marathon with the aim of completing the unprecedented (and still unequalled) winning treble of the 5,000 metres, 10,000 metres and the marathon.
That he did, running the holder of the fastest time for the event, Great Britain’s Jim Peters, to exhaustion and ultimate withdrawal from the race.

Smeal finished a gallant 45th out of the 53 who completed the course, in a creditable time of 2 hours, 52 minutes and 23 seconds, almost 30 minutes behind Zatopek. Peters and twelve other runners did not finish.

Smeal was soon on a plane back to the Korean War where, later in the year, in December, his prompt action during the early stages of a fire at his army base in Japan avoided a major incident.

Georgie Roweing into the history books

Submitted by admin on Tue, 04/21/2020 - 12:48
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Georgie Rowe - Rowing Australia
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Breaking records isn’t out of the ordinary for rower Georgie Rowe, who recently beat London 2012 gold medallist Esther Lofgren’s time for the fastest women's 19-29-year-old Indoor Rowing Half Marathon at the 2020 Indoor Interstate Regatta.


Rowe's time of 1.19:28.40 beat five-year record holder Lofgren's by an impressive 40 seconds and is the second time she’s made history in five months.

Back in November 2019, the 27-year old claimed the five-kilometre Indoor Rowing World Record in a blistering time of 16:54.2.

Of her most recent record, Rowe said that preparation and grit were the key to her success, but her focus was less on breaking the world record and more on logging some kms for her state with the competition taking the place of the National Championships which were cancelled due to COVID-19.

"Going into the half marathon I researched what Esther’s previous average was per 500m split and knew I was in pretty good shape when I was holding a faster split than the previous record with about 5kms to go," she explained.

"From there it was a mental game, being hard on myself to hold my form as well as staying consistent with the speed and rate.

"In the last three minutes I really turned the screws and had a bit of a crack to scrape a few extra seconds off the total time.

"There was absolutely a great sense of pride and achievement, but ultimately I was happy and very satisfied to log 21,098 metres for NSW in the Indoor Interstate Regatta."

What may surprise some is that the Narrabeen, NSW, local is a relative newcomer to the Australian Rowing Team and fell into the sport by chance.

“I trained and competed in kayak all throughout high school and married this with ski paddling at Manly Surf Life Saving Club," she said,

“My heart was stolen pretty quickly by the surf club scene and I was lucky enough to train with some incredible athletes like Naomi Flood (Kayak) and Candice Falzon (Iron Woman) and created some truly wonderful friendships,” she shared.

“My aunty, Shelley Oates-Wilding (Canoe) who is a two-time Olympian, and my uncle, Guy Wilding (Kayak) were both such big influences for me, so the Olympic dream was a light from a very young age, and initially, I thought kayaking was going to take me on that journey.

“A very good friend of mine, Abbey Jones, asked me to try surf boat rowing and from the first session I was absolutely bitten. I loved and still do everything about this sport, the comradery, the training and the socialising. 

“I was also very influenced by my two older brothers who rowed at Dee Why SLSC. I rowed at Manly for one season and then moved to Collaroy SLSC where I now call home, here with a lot of early morning trainings and a bit of luck my crew and I had some very successful seasons, coming second and first at the Aussie surf titles,” she continued.

After a few years into rowing surf boats, Rowe found herself thoroughly enjoying her ergo (indoor rowing) training.

“I really enjoyed it, much more than the other girls I trained with, and I was also significantly faster than most, but I was pretty naïve and my motto was, 'the harder you go the faster it’s over'. It worked for a little while but now that I’m a little more experienced I look back and laugh,” Rowe said.

In November 2016, a friend of Rowe's encouraged her to give the National Indoor Rowing Competition a crack. She did, although she wasn’t planning on piquing the attention of Australian Women’s Head Coach, John Keogh and Participation and Education Manager, Ron Batt, at Rowing Australia. 

“Pretty soon after the competition, I had two major phone calls, one from Ron Batt and the other from John Keogh,” she said.

“Ron had been in touch with indoor rowing machine company, Concept2 and in February 2017, organised a trip for me to Boston, USA, to compete in the CRASH-B Sprints."


💥⚡️A month ago @concept2au flew me over to Boston to compete at the CRASH-B World Indoor Rowing Championships.. I had no expectations and nothing to lose. My vocab wouldn't do justice to describe this unique and amazing experience. Considering 3 months ago I had no idea I was even going, I was and still am over the moon to have a silver medal🥈The best part of it all was knowing my nearest and dearest were watching me on the live stream through an extremely painful 2000m. Couldn't be more grateful for all the love and support in this crazy event that apparently is an actual thing. Now looking forward to a solid weekend of racing surf boats with my best gal pals and boys! #fbf

A post shared by G.Rowe (@georgierowe92) on

The CRASH-B Sprints are the world championship for indoor rowing, raced over a distance of 2,000m.

“I competed and came second to multiple indoor world record-holder, Olena Buryak.”

After her impressive performance in USA, Keogh spoke to Rowe about what her future could look like, rowing for the national team.

“There was no denying that I had something that they desired, so I had a decision to make. 

“I could feel my Olympic dream sparking up in my heart again, and after some lengthy discussions with myself, my workplace and my friends and family, I decided I was going to give it a red-hot go.”

Rowe was named in the national team for the first time in 2018, which she counts as one of her most rewarding and exciting moments so far.

Transitioning to elite competition came relatively seamlessly for the already accomplished athlete and Tokyo 2020 became the goal.

Rowe says she counts herself lucky to be part of a team that both support and inspire her, although the toughest part of her transition has been around balancing training with both her work as a nurse and spending time with family and friends.

“Every day I am surrounded by like-minded female athletes as well as some of the most experienced coaches and support staff in the world,” she said. 


“I try to remind myself of this regularly and am grateful for everyone who has helped me throughout my journey.

“But one of the challenges I struggle with is putting all your eggs in one basket,” she shared. 

“I’ve always worked and had other interests and I find it difficult and sometimes very consuming when rowing is all you do. Luckily for me, I can get home to the northern beaches on the weekend and catch up with friends and family and get into the ocean.”

With the recent postponement of the Games to 2021 due to COVID-19, Rowe’s training has settled down which means she’s been able to spend 3-4 days a week in the hospital in her other role as an aged care nurse.

“I’ve always had a passion for people, when I finished school I wanted to go to university and finish with not only a degree but a secure job,” Rowe explained.

"I became a nurse because I love people and I get a kick out of helping and caring for them.

“It’s a fantastic job and I value people and what they’ve been through so much. If you’re lucky enough for them to share their stories with you, sometimes you’ll hear something that can completely change your perspective. It keeps me grounded and reminds me that life isn’t so bad.”

Having that positive outlook came in handy when it was announced that Rowe’s Olympic dream would need to wait another 12 months.

“When I heard the Olympics had been moved to 2021, I was somewhat relieved,” she said.

“I was glad that the IOC had made a decision, because for a period of time we were in limbo, training and not knowing what was going on. It felt like the world was crumbling around us. 

“Now that I’ve processed the decision to postpone the Games, of course, I am disappointed.


Yes Aus 💚💛

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“We were very close to the big show and had an exciting year ahead, but an extra 12 months isn’t a bad thing for me. 

“At my age and stage, it gives me time to get fitter, faster and stronger.”

Rowe’s advice to the community during the COVID-19 pandemic is to take care of both your mental and physical health along with checking in on those around you.

“We are all going through this for the first time and no one is managing it better than anyone else,” she said. 

“People who you usually lean on for support might be the ones needing support. I think this is really important and something I am constantly reminding myself.

“We are all in this together, and our physical and mental health should be our number one priority right now. 

“Be kind to yourself, be kind to others and just take it day by day. The sun will rise tomorrow, and if something is out of your control then it is out of your control.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re an elite athlete, a weekend warrior or just someone trying your best to get through this bizarre time in the world, having some short and long term goals are important, but so is staying present, especially in such unpredictable circumstances,” Rowe explained.

While her short term goals revolve around mindfulness, spring cleaning, puzzles, gardening and playing the guitar, her long term goals keep the Olympic dream burning bright.

"I’ve got a few more records I want to have a crack at, but whilst I’m away from the National Training Centre, I’m really trying to do things I normally wouldn’t have access to.

“Lots of beach running and swims, a few surfs and finding any excuse to get into the ocean.

“My rowing goals haven’t changed, the posts have just been pushed back,” she said. 

“The domestic season will create good opportunities to improve my results on and off the water and then making the team next year for the world cups and onto the Olympic Games in Tokyo is my priority… 

"And of course, a shiny gold medal would be right at the top of the list.”

Liana Buratti

Australian Shooting Team celebrate Tokyo selection

Submitted by admin on Tue, 04/21/2020 - 12:07
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James Willett's #OlympicTakeover and Tokyo Selection
Article Introduction

The Australian Olympic Team for next year's Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games expanded to 71 athletes last week, following the announcement of 15 shooting athletes selected to the Team.


Shotgun athlete James Willett has been selected for his second Games, after placing fifth on debut at Rio 2016.

The 24-year-old took over the @AUSOlympicTeam Instagram story on the day of the Team Selection to show how he was celebrating the announcement with his partner and dogs on his property in Mulwala in country NSW.

During is takeover, James takes us on a tour of his home-built shooting range  and answers all your burning questions.

Due to COVID-19 social distancing regulations, the Aussie Shooting Team all celebrated their selection to the Team at home in their own unique way.

Dan Repacholi was clearly excited about his selection to his fifth Olympic Team, dancing with his daughter Zoe at home in Nulkaba, NSW.


Read more about Dan’s incredible Olympic journey HERE.

Olympic debutants Alex Hoberg and Sergei Evglevski celebrated with their families at home


How crazy is it that 4 years ago a 14 year old Alex watched the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and could only have dreamed of becoming an Olympian. 4 years on, many thousands of hours of training, determination and persistence later here I am with a ticket for the Tokyo 2021 Olympic Games !! Words cannot describe my emotions and feelings towards this opportunity and to think that in 15 months time I will be repping the green and gold at my own Olympic games is unbelievable. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has helped me achieve this goal, my family, friends, support staff and anyone who has been a part of my life along the way. Thank you all so much and I can’t wait to share this journey with you. Bring on the games #olympics #tokyo2020 #tokyo2021 #austeam #olympicgames #greenandgold

A post shared by Alex Hoberg (@official_alex_hoberg) on


While everyone pulled on their ASICS Australia Happi Coates and showed off their Qantas Boarding Passes.


Super excited to say I’ll be going to #tokyo2020 next year! It’s hard to put into words what it means to be selected to this Australian Olympic Team... so I’ll give more words later but for now swipe right to check out my new kimono 🤪 ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ #tokyo2020 #tokyo202one #olympics #olympics2020 #olympicteam #olympian #australianolympicteam #athlete #happy #isolationcelebration #olympicshooting #pistolshooting #sportshooting #shootingsports #issf #shootingaus #shootingaustralia #focus #pistol #workhard #workhardplayhard #trainhard #determination #camaraderie #friendlygames #doctorswithhobbies #stayhome #findyour30 #tokyotogether #selected @shootingaus @vicinstsport @eley_ltd @ausolympicteam

A post shared by Elena Galiabovitch (@el.gee) on


So this stuff turned up today. Better late than never. Making an Olympic team is a dream come true. I told my mum when I was 5 years old that I wanted to go to the Olympics. I actually thought that this would be in equestrian but when my grandfather gave a shotgun to my dad that all changed. I started shooting American Skeet and had success at state and national levels and then I decided to give ISSF Skeet a go. Lots of people told me that I shouldn’t do it. I would ruin my American Skeet and besides it was too hard to be successful when you live in Western Australia and I was too small. There was so many reasons why I couldn’t or shouldn’t do it. I’m so glad I didn’t let my failures define me and so thankful for everyone who has helped me get this far in my journey especially Nick who has been my rock and I couldn’t have done this without him ❤️. Thanks to my Perazzi family (Mauro Perazzi, Filippo Petriella) for sticking with me through good times and bad. Great things happen to those who don’t give up. #ausolympicteam #tokyotogether #happicoat #olympicdream #tokyo2020 #tokyo2020ne #perazzi #perazzihightech

A post shared by Laura Coles (@misslauracoles) on


Fantastic news to share with you all finally! It’s official today that I have been selected into the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Team or be it ‘2020ne’ which as we all know has been moved to next year. This gives us all time to prepare and tackle the pandemic we are currently facing. I have to thank my sponsor @perazzi.australia @perazziofficial for their years of support and having my back the whole way in the ups and downs. Shooting Aus for their continued support also during the last 4 years. And finally to my family especially my mum who has been there from the start and she always says she is my biggest fan. And to my late Grandpa and my only coach he would be “over the moon” and would be telling me to take it “one at a time”. For now it’s work at the hospital and soon hopefully back to training for 2021. @ausolympicteam @royalaustraliannavy @australia #aussiesofinstagram #murse #nurse #olympian #dualolympian #shooting #perazzi #shooter #outdoors #ticket #ontheway #tokyo @tokyo2020

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Release of 2019 Annual Reports and Financials

Submitted by admin on Fri, 04/17/2020 - 15:00
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The Australian Olympic Committee and Australian Olympic Foundation 2019 Annual Reports, Financial Statements, Independent Auditor’s Reports and Agenda for the online AOC Annual General Meeting to be held Saturday 9 May 2020 have today been provided online to members and are now available on the AOC website.


AOC Financial Statements for calendar year 2019 record a surplus of $5.437 million before settlement of that amount on the Foundation, leaving a Nil balance.

Independent Auditor, EY has provided an unqualified Opinion that the Financial Statements present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the AOC as at 31 December 2019.

Australian Olympic Foundation Financial Statements for calendar year 2019 report net assets at 31 December 2019 of $171.415 million compared to $150.879 million at 31 December 2018 - an increase of 13.6%, after distributing $6.25m to the AOC in the year.

Independent Auditor, EY has provided an unqualified Opinion that the Financial Statements present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the Australian Olympic Foundation as at 31 December 2019.

Net assets in interim accounts at 31 March 2020 are $150.848 million, after distributing $1.562m to the AOC in the quarter - a decrease of 11.9% for the three months from the Covid-19 market downturn compared to a decrease in the Australian ASX 200 accumulation index for the period of 23%.

The Australian Olympic Foundation’s net assets is relevant to the AOC’s financial planning as the quarterly distributions it receives from the Foundation are calculated, under the terms of the Foundation Deed of Trust, at 4 % p.a. of net assets at the commencement of each four year period. The next such calculation date is 1 January 2021.

The net assets of $150.848 million at 31 March 2020 includes cash of $11.94 million - sufficient to cover the remaining distributions in 2020 and those in 2021 without realising any investments in a depressed market.

Attached to the Agenda and set out in the Explanatory Memorandum provided are proposed amendments to the AOC Constitution to:

  • include provision for a potential new position of Honorary Life President who will be a non-voting member of the AOC but not a member of the AOC Executive unless in another capacity
  • empower the AOC to provide funds surplus to forecast expenditure to the Australian Olympic Foundation so that such funds may be invested or otherwise utilised by the Foundation
  • provide for electronic voting; and
  • make various drafting improvements and corrections.

A consequence of the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games by one year to 23 July-8 August 2021 is that under the AOC Constitution, approved by the IOC, the terms of:

  • the eight members of the AOC Athletes’ Commission who were elected at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games by the members of the Australian Olympic Team competing at those Games are extended by one year to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in 2021 and
  • the President, Vice-Presidents and seven Members of the Executive who were elected at the Annual  General Meeting  after the Rio 2016 Olympic Games on 6 May 2017 are extended by circa one year to the Annual General Meeting after the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in 2021 in late April/early May 2022.

John Coates AC
President, AOC
Chair, Australian Olympic Foundation

Daniel Repacholi: Five Olympic Games and one golden goal

Submitted by admin on Fri, 04/17/2020 - 14:12
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Gold medalist Daniel Repacholi of Australia poses during the medal ceremony for the Men's 50m Pistol Finals on day seven of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games at Belmont Shooting Centre on April 11, 2018 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Getty Images)
Article Introduction

At London 2012, shooter Daniel Repacholi attended his third Olympic Games and retired from the sport, thinking it was his last. Eight years later, the New South Welshman has just been selected for an amazing fifth Olympic Games and is chasing the one thing that has eluded him, an Olympic gold medal.

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When asked if competing at five Olympic Games was always part of the plan, Repacholi says, ‘definitely not.’

“I actually retired after London 2012, I was finished,” he said.

“I wanted to focus on being a better husband, a better father and I wanted to be around for my family more.”


This will be fun #secretlifeofpets2 #icantwait #👎👎👎👎👎👎#ihopetheylikeit

A post shared by Daniel Repacholi (@bigdanreps) on

Although Repacholi found much success throughout his 20-year shooting career, winning Commonwealth Games gold and bronze, it was always Olympic gold that had eluded him.

Repacholi will have his chance at Tokyo 2020 next year, when he contests the 10m Air Pistol event and is in good stead after taking out three out of four Australian Air Pistol Selection Events.

“My ultimate goal had always been to win an Olympic gold medal, but I hadn’t achieved that when I retired,” he explained.

“My wife knew I wasn’t done until I’d won Olympic gold, so she encouraged me to keep going so I could achieve that dream.

"My family has always been supportive, and nothing has ever been an issue when it comes to my shooting and my daughters know that sometimes I'm there and sometimes I'm not, but I make sure they are always involved."


Although wanting to put his wife and daughters first was the catalyst for Repacholi wanting to retire, they now play an important role in his shooting career. Along with acting as support crew, his daughters Zoe (6) and Asha (4) are also his fashion advisors.

“I let my girls choose my socks before I compete, and that keeps them happy and involved,” he said.
“It’s usually either rainbows, pink unicorns, suns or a pair with fat hippos that say, ‘dad bod.’ 

Repacholi says it’s the pink unicorns that draw the most attention when worn by the 6 ft 8-inch sharpshooter.

Times have definitely changed for the now 37-year-old, who made his Olympic debut as a fresh-faced 22-year-old at Athens 2004 and recalls being in the Olympic Village Dining Hall as the most eye-opening experience.

Daniel Repacholi

“At my first Games, I was in awe. It was an incredible experience” he said.

“Seeing people like Grant Hackett and Lauren Jackson was pretty amazing and we had Peter Brock as our mentor.

“The Olympic Games is like a different universe, where you’re surrounded by the best athletes in the world. They are all together in the one place and that never happens, it’s pretty special.

“The dining hall was the most outrageous thing you’ve ever seen, that was a really eye-opening experience for me,” he shared.

“When you think of an Olympian, you think of someone who is ripped and fit with the body of Adonis but sitting there in the dining hall you see people of all different shapes and sizes. 


“Something that a lot of people don’t realise is that there is a shape for every sport,” he said.
Sixteen years later, Repacholi says the biggest change for him between Athens 2004 and Tokyo 2020, is his mindset.

“Physically, I could shoot that perfect shot every time, but my mental game was what I struggled with most,” he explained.

“When you're younger, it’s not that you can’t do it, it's just harder. When you’re younger, you don’t have a care in the world, so you’re less focused but as I got a little bit older, I became more switched on and that really changed my mindset.

“I’m a lot more focused on achieving my goals and a lot more dedicated to working on my psychological training. 

“It used to always just be train, train, train and the harder you train, the better you'll be, which is right, but you also need to work on your mental approach, because if you haven't got it together mentally, you're never going to be at your best physically.”

What he is most looking forward to during his fifth Olympic experience all comes back to the podium.
“Going to Tokyo will be a really amazing experience, mostly for the fact that I am planning on coming back with a gold medal,” he said.

“That will be the highlight. I'm training and working towards being on that podium. I don't want to just go to have a holiday, because I would rather just have a holiday with my family.

“Saying you’ve been to five Olympic Games is great, but saying you’ve won an Olympic gold medal is even better, so that’s the goal and that makes the sacrifices all worth it.”

Liana Buratti

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Sharp shooters on target for Tokyo Olympics

Submitted by admin on Fri, 04/17/2020 - 09:32
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Article Introduction

The Australian Olympic Committee has officially selected fifteen Shooting athletes to the Australian Olympic Team for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics to be held in 2021.

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The selection marks an incredible fifth Olympics for Dan Repacholi, a fourth Games for Dina Aspandiyarova, a third for Dane Sampson, a second Games for five athletes while seven shooters will make their Olympic debut.


Elena Galiabovitch and Sergei Evglevski will join Repacholi and Aspandiyarova in the Pistol events, Penny Smith, Laetisha Scanlan, Laura Coles, James Willett, Thomas Grice and Paul Adams will contest the Shotgun events, while Dane Sampson, Alex Hoberg, Jack Rossiter, Elise Collier and Katarina Kowplos will compete in the Rifle.

After competing in four nomination trial events from January to March 2020, the fifteen athletes were nominated by Shooting Australia and officially selected by the AOC today.

Australia Chef de Mission Ian Chesterman welcomed the athletes to the Australian Olympic Team for Tokyo.

“Congratulations to the fifteen athletes selected today to continue Australia’s rich Olympic legacy in the sport of Shooting,” Mr Chesterman said.

“Making a single Olympic Team is an incredible accomplishment, but for Dan to make it to five Games, Dina four and Dane three is exceptional. To maintain excellence over such a long period is a special achievement.


“This is a day to celebrate not just for the athletes selected, but their families, friends, supporters, coaches, trainers, the state and Australian Institutes of Sport and the entire Shooting community who have helped make them the athletes and people they are today.

“I also want to thank Shooting Australia for its tireless work to develop such immense talent and depth across the Olympic Shooting disciplines.”

Trap athlete Penny Smith, who turns 25 next week, is ecstatic to make her Olympic debut in Tokyo.

“Making the Tokyo Olympics is a lifelong dream come true,” Smith said. “This is such a special moment not just for me, but my mum who’s my biggest supporter, my family, coaches, support staff and the whole Shooting community.”

“Women’s Trap is so competitive in Australia and I’m so proud to have won the nomination trials and make the Olympic Team.

“I’ve got nothing to lose in Tokyo. I just want to soak up the experience and make my country and family proud.”


Growing up in western Victoria, Smith was never far from horses and initially dreamed of riding for Australia at an Olympics. Smith’s mum, Kim, was a groom for seven-time Olympian Andrew Hoy at the 1984 Olympics.

“I grew up around horses and was riding since I was three,” Smith continued. “The whole family was very into Equestrian. It’s incredible to think mum was a groom for Andrew Hoy at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics and now I might even be on the same Olympic Team as him for Tokyo.

“I took up Shooting after my brother got interested in it – I can’t really do anything half-hearted, I’ve put all my dedication and passion into it and now I’ve just made the Olympics. It still feels unreal.”

Smith isn’t the only athlete announced today with an Olympic family connection, with Sergei Evglevski following in his six-time Olympian mother Lalita Yauhleuskaya’s footsteps, Jack Rossiter’s sister Tori is a 2018 Youth Olympian, Elena Galiabovitch’s father Vladimir is the Pistol national coach and Aspandiyarova’s husband, Anatoly Babushkin was the Australian Olympic team Pistol coach in 2004, 2008 and 2012.

Thirty-three-year-old rifle shooter Dane Sampson also came from Shooting stock, crediting his parents love of the sport for his own passion.

“I’m proud to have made my third Olympic Team and I’m excited as I’ll enter Tokyo in the best form of my life,” Sampson said.

“The Olympics is so special because it brings together 11 000 athletes from across the world, every background imaginable, but you can all relate to each other. No matter what sport, you’ve all dedicated your life and made sacrifices to be the best you can be and there’s a real respect and kinship in that – I’m excited to get to experience that again in Tokyo.


A proud Queenslander from Coominya, west of Brisbane, the Adelaide-based athlete revels in the pressure of Olympic competition.

“If you can take away the external pressures, the lights, the cameras, the crowd and focus on the work you did to get there and the attitude you bring to it, the rest takes care of itself – you can thrive and enjoy the moment rather than buckle under pressure.

“Making the World Cup final in 2019 was the highest pressure competition of my life, but inside I was grinning because I knew what I had done to get there and I could enjoy it.”

Shooting Australia CEO Luke van Kempen paid tribute to the athletes on their Tokyo Olympic selection.

“Shooting Australia congratulates the 15 individual athletes who have emerged from a thorough, rigorous and fair Olympic nomination process, to be selected for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games,” Mr van Kempen said.

“While we acknowledge the Olympic selection of these athletes, Shooting Australia wishes to pay tribute and congratulate all the athletes who registered Minimum Qualification Scores and contested the nomination events for the spirit in which they have competed.

”Olympic Team athletes now have the certainty of selection and they can now direct their singular focus on training and preparing for the commencement of the Tokyo Olympics in July 2021. We will be working hard with them all to ensure they are in top form at the end of an extended preparation period.”

Today’s selection takes the selected Team size for Tokyo 2020 to 71 athletes.

Shooting at Tokyo will consist of Shotgun (Trap and Skeet), Pistol (10m Air, 25m Rapid Fire Pistol and 25m Sports Pistol) and Rifle (50m 3-Positions and 10m Air Rifle) events. Tokyo will also see the Olympic debut of Mixed Team events in Trap, 10m Air Pistol and 10m Air Rifle.

The Australian Olympic Committee has confirmed selected athletes shall remain members of the Australian Olympic Team to Tokyo, and athletes who have completed the entire qualification process, under the existing National Federation nomination criteria and international qualification systems, shall be nominated and selected in line with the existing policy.

More voluntary pay cuts at the AOC

Submitted by admin on Thu, 04/16/2020 - 15:00
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COVID-19 update
Article Introduction

Following the 20% pay cut announced by AOC President, John Coates to his consulting fees as a consequence of the impact of COVID-19 on the AOC’s short term financial position, CEO Matt Carroll and all seven members of the Senior Management Team have volunteered 20% pay cuts to their base salaries, effective from 1 May, 2020.


In the case of Matt Carroll, his base salary was to be $506,675 plus superannuation. It will now be $439,117. He will retain a bonus of $37,500 received for his performance in 2019 but will receive no further bonuses this year.

The seven members of the Senior Management Team were to receive total base salaries of $1,707,028 plus superannuation. They will now receive $1,499,369 plus superannuation.

In 2019 the AOC Executive initiated a remuneration scheme for the Senior Management Team (excluding the CEO) that in return for forgoing base salary increases in 2019 and 2020, provided for awarding bonuses based on performance and retention.

For their performance in 2019 and retention in 2020, the Senior Management Team total bonus pool was $350,000. The senior managers have volunteered to defer 50% of this payment until 2022. They will receive no further bonuses this year, or next year.

The AOC Culture, Remuneration and Nominations Committee will determine Executive and Senior Management Team remuneration for 2021 before the end of this year.

AOC President, John Coates thanked Matt Carroll and the seven members of the Senior Management Team for volunteering these cuts.

“These cuts, and net savings arising from the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games to 2021, will ensure the AOC balances its books for both 2020 and the four-year cycle ending 31 December 2020.”

“The AOC, through prudent financial management over the years and now these contributions by our CEO and his Management Team, is able to continue to fund our Olympic and other teams and provide direct assistance to athletes, while retaining our long held independence, including financial independence, from Government.

“This is particularly critical in these challenging times as Government looks to support so many Australians of all ages and not-for-profit community and other sports bodies who are doing it tough,” Mr Coates concluded.

Jess Fox's #OlympicTakeover from home isolation

Submitted by admin on Thu, 04/16/2020 - 14:50
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Jess Fox's #OlympicTakeover
Article Introduction

When the greatest slalom paddler in the world can't train on the white water rapids due to COVID-19 home isolation, how does she stay fit and in shape at home?


We found out when soon-to-be three-time Olympian Jess Fox took over the @AUSOlympicTeam Instagram account from her home in Western Sydney on her #OlympicTakeover.

The dual Olympic medallist isn't letting the current global pandemic dampen her spirits, and is getting creative to stay on top of her training.

From her home workout routines in the pool and daily nutrition, to learning how to juggle and adopting a greyhound, Jess gave an insight into what's keeping her busy at home.


See more #OlympicTakeovers from Aussie Olympians and Tokyo 2020 hopefuls HERE.