The Top 10 Australian Moments of Tokyo 2020
- 10: Clancy & Artacho del Solar claim Silver
- 9: Nicola McDermott leaps over the Australian record
- 8: Here comes Harry
- 7: 18 year old Keegan Palmer shreds to Gold
- 6: A golden run from Logan Martin
- 5: Dubler pushes Moloney to the end
- 4: Patty Thrills the Boomers
- 3: Peter Bol
- 2: The Fourth's time the charm for Jess
- 1: The Golden Girls dominate the pool
What a rollercoaster two weeks the Tokyo Olympics was. As the Olympic ceremonial flame blows away we say Arigato to Tokyo & Bonjour to Paris 2024. In the midst of the most uncertain, unprecedented and unlikely events, The world was treated to the greatest athletes competing it out on the biggest stage. Sure it looked different.. Little to no crowds, masks and a completely different dynamic.
Australia's Tokyo Olympics campaign has been one of its most successful ever, Tallying up 46 total medals (17 Gold, 7 Silver & 22 Bronze) in comparison to Rio 2016. (8 Gold, 10 Silver, 11 Bronze) But, even outside all of the gold medal wins, these Games have thrown up a bevy of heart-stopping moments. As we reflect on Australia’s Tokyo 2020(1) Olympic campaign, here are Pickstar’s Top 10 most memorable Australian moments:
10: Clancy & Artacho del Solar claim Silver
The dynamic duo of Mariafe Artacho del Solar & Taliqua Clancy took Australian Women's Beach Volleyball to the medals podium for the first time in 21 years since Kerri Pottharst & Natalie Cook. Embarking on a fairytale run, the Aussie duo was ranked 5th prior to the games. However opinions were quickly changed after convincing hard fought victories in elimination matches against Canada & Latvia setting up a Gold medal showdown with the USA’s Alix Klineman & April Ross. Unfortunately going down in the Gold medal game, the loveable bubbly Aussie duo deservedly earned a spot on this list for one of the feel good moments of the games.
9: Nicola McDermott leaps over the Australian record
Just what was she writing down?
Positivity & a massive smile accompanied Australian high jumper Nicola McDermott as she won silver and shattered the Australian record in the process. Not only did McDermott set a new Australian record mark of 2.02 metres, she also became the first Australian woman to clear the 2m mark at an Olympic Games.
A devoted Christian, McDermott caught attention for scribbling down in her journal after each of her jumps, Rating her performance and reflecting on her faith. During her record breaking performance her wrists read “Jesus makes all things new."
8: Here comes Harry
24-year-old Australian Harry Garside secured an Olympic bronze. The first medal in boxing for the nation in 33 years. Garside pulled off a stunning victory over Kazakhstan‘s Zakir Safiullin in the lightweight quarterfinals to become Australia’s first boxing Olympic medallist since Spike Cheney in 1988.
Despite going down to a unanimous decision defeat to Cuban star Andy Cruz in the semi-finals of the lightweight tournament, the defeat culminated an incredible journey for Garside, who initially missed out on automatic qualification to the games.
7: 18 year old Keegan Palmer shreds to Gold
It was 18 year old Australian skater Keegan Palmer who stole the show in the Park skateboarding final. Producing winning runs of 94.04 and 95.83 respectively to crown himself the inaugural Gold medalist in the event. Cementing himself in the history books, Palmer became Australia's third-youngest gold medalist of the century.
The teenagers incredible performances saw him out-skate seasoned veterans Pedro Barros & Cory Juneau, what was even more remarkable to see was the overwhelming support and camaraderie between all competitors throughout the whole event. WIth all skaters embracing each other after entertaining runs, at times celebrating their rivals’ success over their own.
6: A golden run from Logan Martin
Another Aussie who also crowned himself as an inaugural gold medalist was Logan Martin, who took home the highest prize in the Freestyle BMX. The 27-year-old scored 93.30 and celebrated victory with a processional second attempt after his nearest competitors couldn’t touch his top score. The Queenslander is an X Games gold medallist and world champion, who came into the event as a hot favourite to win gold.
Post event, Martin explained his challenges in preparing for the games, being desperate to train but unwilling to move overseas. He and his family purchased a house and built his own skatepark in his backyard. A decision which even his neighbours can finally understand as he raised his gold medal.
5: Dubler pushes Moloney to the end
"I was screaming at him so loud in that last 300 that I had to kind of stop to keep screaming"
In one of the more unique moments of Tokyo 2020, Ash Moloney became the third youngest Australian man to win an Olympic track and field medal with his bronze in the decathlon. Finishing with a total of 8649 points, breaking his own national record in the process as Canada's Damian Warner won gold with 9018 and world record holder Kevin Mayer from France took the silver.
The uniqueness of Moloney’s bronze is remarkable, where his Australian training partner & fellow participant Cedric Dubler provided him with the inspiration for when it all seemed as if the final moments of the 1500m race were proving too much. The scenes of Dubler disregarding his own race and shifting his focus to willing on his teammate through the tough times of the last event was the ultimate sign of Aussie mateship. A unique visual that will go down as one of the most iconic acts of athlete selflessness in Australian Olympic history.
4: Patty Thrills the Boomers
Olympic history had not been kind at all to the Boomers. Narrowly missing out on a chance to take home a medal time after time. Tokyo saw the culmination of all previous teams that had tried and not succeeded. The Boomers claimed its first ever medal, winning bronze following a win over NBA superstar Luka Doncic’s Slovenia. A team buoyed by team spirit and mate-ship, The Boomers led by team captain Patty Mills and his excellent supporting cast of Joe Ingles, Matisse Thybulle and Jock Landale fashioned wins against highly rated oppositions in Nigeria, Italy, Germany & Argentina setting up an all important semi final showdown with the star studded USA.
After a superb start, The Boomers found themselves in-front at the half, only to surrender its lead to the elite play of US stars in Kevin Durant and company. When it came to the Bronze medal game, Patty Mills ensured the Boomers were not leaving empty handed once again, scoring a monumental 42 points to help his team reach the podium for the first time ever.
3: Peter Bol
Australia's 800 metres runner Peter Bol raced three times in Tokyo for two PBs, two Australian records and an Olympic final. The Sudanese born’s performance made him the first Australian to qualify for the gold medal race since Ralph Doubellat the 1968 Olympics. In the final, Bol led for much of the race before being overtaken at the final bend finishing 4th and narrowly missing out on a medal.
What stood out from Bol's olympic campaign was his heart, courage & determination which was on display during his races and in a humble post-race interview. Epitomising the Australian culture and winning massive praise all over the country.
2: The Fourth's time the charm for Jess
Having fallen short at three consecutive games, Canoe Slalom queen Jess Fox made sure her fourth attempt in Tokyo ended with a Gold Medal. Finally achieving the moment, an emotional Fox broke down in tears after finally capturing the elusive title. The World No.1 & 7-time world champion appeared gutted after missing out on the K1 gold, But after recording the fastest semi-final heat in the C1, Fox started on fire during the finals.
With a determined look on her face, Fox powered home and finished with the fastest time of 105.04 and was three seconds ahead of silver medalist Mallory Franklin.
A real tear jerker moment for all Aussies!
1: The Golden Girls dominate the pool
Our number 1 spot deservedly goes to 'The Golden Girls’ of the pool. It would be hard to acknowledge just one, so we’ve combined all the memorable Aussie swimming moments.
Titmus vs Ledecky
It was one of the most anticipated moments in the swimming pool. American Katie Ledecky vs Australian Ariane Titmus battling it out in the 400m freestyle. Two superb rivals set for a race which Ledecky has dominated. An event mastered by swimmers with a well timed strategy Ledecky (As anticipated) led for the vast majority of the race before Titmus produced a sensational finish over the last 100m to claim gold. Executed superbly, Titmus sparked now iconic celebrations from her coach Dean Boxall, reminiscent of the WWF’s Ultimate Warrior as he set out to do battle in the early 90’s.
4 X 100m Medley Womens Team
In another remarkable Australia vs USA showdown, it was one of the final races of the swimming events where Cate Campbell, Emma McKeon, Kaylee McKeown & Chelsea Hodges took home Gold in the 4X100m medley relay. Another race that went down the wire, it was Cate Campbell's quick reaction time that ultimately made the difference. Breaking the olympic record, had the Australian swim great been just 0.14 of a second slower, they would have been second on the podium behind the United States.
A remarkable collection of medals in Tokyo for Emma McKeon. Equalling the most number of medals won by a female at a single games with 7 of her total 11 medals overtaking the likes of Aussie swimming legends Ian Thorpe & Liesel Jones.
Here’s what she accumulated in Tokyo:
4 X Gold (50m Freestyle, 100m Freestyle, 4x100 Freestyle relay, 4x100 medley relay)
3 X Bronze (100m Butterfly, 4x200m freestyle, 4x100m mixed medley relay)