London Olympics 2012: Five Aussies to watch
London will play host to the 2012 Summer Olympics for the third time in the history of the Olympics, the only city to do so.
Despite being one of the smallest teams Australia has ever sent to any Olympic Games, the athletes that have been selected are representative of the diverse array of experiences and skills possessed that are needed to succeed at the London 2012 Games.
Emerging stars will be showcased and the season campaigners won’t be far behind. Here are five athletes you should watch out for.
Ivo Dos Santos: Judo
Making his debut as a member of the Australian Olympic Team, Ivo Dos Santos is aiming to become the first Australian male to medal at Olympics since 1964.
Dos Santos got involved in the sport after his father enrolled at a local judo club. After competing and winning at national level in a junior competition it was only natural that Dos Santos took that next step.
Winning his first senior title in 2007 at the age of 21, his ambitions were then realised when he made his first Olympic team at the age of 26 after claiming the U/66kg division at the 2012 Oceania Championship.
Ivo competes on July 29.
Casey Eastham: Hockey
At 19, Casey Eastham was the youngest player on the 2008 Beijing Olympic team and was viewed by her former coach Frank Murray as having the potential to be “one of the world’s best”.
Now 23, Eastham is one of the most important members of the Hockeyroo’s team.
Having already played in one Olympic Games, World Cups and Champion Trophy’s, Eastham is focused on bringing home gold for Australia.
“I’ve been to an Olympics already. For me it’s not just about Olympic selection. The goal and the vision is the gold medal. That’s what drives me, that’s what makes the sacrifices worth it.”
Pundits rate the Hockeyroos as a good medal chance in London and Eastham knows she needs to be on her game if they are to succeed.
“I’d be lying if I said there was no pressure,” she says. “Our results show we are capable of coming out with a gold medal at London.”
The Hockeyroos play their first group match on July 29.
Emma Moffett: Triathlon
Beginning triathlon at the age of 13, Emma Moffett is one of the stars of Australian Triathlon having won multiple World Championships and bronze on debut at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
At the end of 2011, as a reward for years of consistent performances, Moffett was pre-selected for the London Olympic Team to ensure she would compete at her second Olympic Games.
Having known since November that her Olympics berth is a certainty the pressure to perform is as strong as ever.
The controversial omission of Beijing gold medallist Emma Snowsill from the Australian squad will add also add that extra scrutiny to all our triathletes to bring home medals but you get the feeling it’s that pressure that Moffett thrives on.
“My recent performances haven’t been the best, but that’s made me more motivated.”
“I’ve been training well and every week I feel like I’m getting that bit better. As long as I stay injury and illness free, come August I will hopefully be in good shape,” she says.
The women’s triathlon will take place on August 4.
Malcolm Page: Sailing
London 2012 will be Malcolm Page’s third Olympic campaign. He is attempting to be the first Australian sailor to win back-to-back gold following his Beijing victory.
Determined to be apart of the Olympics from a young age, Page commenced sailing as an 8-year-old and has gone on to win a host of World titles.
The Aussie sailing team admit they are under pressure to return home from London with medal, but the record breaking seven times world champion insists he likes having the weight of the nation on his slim shoulders.
The sailing team has targeted three gold medals and two of another colour – and are perfectly capable of winning even more. But Page knows the host nation will be out to ruin any aspirations the Aussies have of dominating this event once again.
Sailing will take place from days 2 – 16.
Glenn O’Shea: (Men’s Cycling-Track)
Growing up in Bendigo, O’Shea began cycling when he was eight. Steadily working his way through the ranks to eventually become Junior World Champion as part of the team pursuit in 2007.
Glenn O’Shea you could say officially announced himself on the world’s stage and as the man to beat in London in the debut of the omnium event in Olympic competition when he won gold in at the 2012 Track World Championships.
O’Shea understands he is marked man heading into the London Games but he is ready for the challenges that lie ahead.
“18 months ago I set myself a goal to go to the Olympics. I’ve been ticking off the boxes ever since.”
“Throughout 2012, they [the national coaches] gave me targets and I’ve met them. Being world champion in the omnium, I think I deserve a spot at the Games.”
The cycling team will take centre stage from days 6 – 11.
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