Sports Advocacy Group

Olympic Celebration - October 8th

On October 8th, following a day of fun and competitive sport at the Canberra Parliamentary Sports Festival, the Sports Advocacy Group hosted the Australian Olympic Committee and six of our victorious Olympians from the 2012 London Olympic Games. The Olympic Celebration Dinner took place in the evening at the Hyatt Hotel to celebrate the ending of this year's Olympic campaign. Guests included Craig Phillips and John Coates from the AOC and Olympians, Malcolm Page, Jared Tallent, Claire Tallent, Alicia Coutts, Kimberley Crow and Murray Stewart. John Coates was the keynote speaker and the athletes took part in a panel discussion led by host Stephanie Brantz.


Alicia Coutts

aliciacouttsAlicia Coutts claimed her first Olympic team position in style, with a personal best time in the 200 IM at the 2008 Olympic Selection Trials. Coutts went on to make the final at the Beijing Olympic Games, finishing a fantastic fifth. The promising young Queenslander then exploded onto the international swimming scene with a phenomenal five gold medals at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi. Coutts became the star of Australia’s swim team at the London 2012 Games when she took home five medals. Kicking off the Games in style, Coutts won gold in the 4 x 100m freestyle relay alongside Brittany Elmslie, Cate Campbell and Melanie Schlanger on the opening night of competition. A night later she claimed bronze in the 100m butterfly, 0.96 seconds behind Dana Vollmer of the USA who set a new world record in the process. Coutts won her second individual medal of the Games in the 200m individual medley when she was unable to hold off Chinese sensation Ye Shiwen in the final 20 metres. Ye set a new Olympic record and Coutts had a medal of every colour. The Queenslander who trained at the AIS in Canberra added two more silver to her haul in the 4 x 200m freestyle relay and the 4 x 100m individual medley relay as Australia finished second behind the USA in both events. Coutts became only the third Australian Olympian after Shane Gould and Ian Thorpe to win five medals in a single Olympic Games.

Murray Stewart

murraystewartAt the start of 2012, Murray Stewart stormed into the public eye with a huge run of top performances at the Olympic selection events for the London 2012 Games. The 25-year-old from Sydney came 1st in the K1, K2 and K4 1000m events at the Oceania Championships, before backing up at the Australian Championships to win the same three events and as a result was announced the ICF athlete of the month for March, 2012. Lining up for three events at the London 2012 Games, undoubtedly Stewart’s highlight of his debut Olympic campaign was taking out gold in the K4 1000m alongside teammates Jacob Clear, David Smith and Tate Smith. In what was a closely fought tussle, the Australians held a 0.09 second lead at the halfway mark of the race before going on to claim victory by 0.61 seconds ahead of Hungary at the Eton Dorney course. Stewart finish 8th in the B Final of the K1 1000m and 6th in his heat of the K1 200m – missing the semi-finals.

Claire Tallent

clairetallentClaire Tallent (Woods) competed at the Beijing 2008 Olympics in the 20km race walk finishing 28th in a time of 1:33:02. She made her international debut at the Race Walking Cup in Naumburg, Germany. Claire married Olympian Jared Tallent just after the Beijing Olympics. A silver medallist at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, Tallent matched her husband’s feat of winning the 2012 National title in the 20km event to qualify for the Games. Hours after watching husband Jared win silver in the 20km event, Tallent took the road herself in the women’s 20km. She was the leading Australian throughout the first 12km of the race, sitting in 10th, but was disqualified soon after and pulled from the event.

Malcolm Page

malcolmpageMalcolm Page, who narrowly missed competing at Sydney 2000, joined with Nathan Wilmot to win the gold medal in the men’s 470s at Beijing 2008. They were world champions in the class going into Athens 2004, where they finished a relatively disappointing twelfth. Two more world championships, in 2005 and 2007, meant that they had great form approaching the Olympic regatta. The performance at Athens was also a driving force behind an improved showing at the Qingdao Sailing Centre on Fushan Bay. Page and Wilmot had the gold medal in their keeping before the final race. Their gold medal, ahead of the British and French crews, was on the same day as Tessa Parkinson and Elise Rechichi won the women’s 470 class. Victor Kovalenko coached both champion crews. Page made his third consecutive Games appearance in 2012 as he lined up alongside partner Mathew Belcher with whom he had won the 2010 and 2011 470 World Championships. The pair pulled off five race victories heading into the medal race where they finished second to ensure they knocked off the Brits on their own waters and take home the gold. Page was the only Australian to defend an Olympic title at the London Games.

Kim Crow

kimcrowKim Crow had finished second to Jana Rawlinson in the 400m hurdles at the Australian Championships before injury halted her promising athletics career. Turning to rowing in 2004, Crow combined with Sarah Cook in the women’s pair in 2007. The girls showed immense potential, winning gold and bronze medals at the 2007 World Cups and finishing fourth at the World Championships. They were selected in the women’s pair at the Beijing Olympic Games and placed 10th. Crow became one of the stars of the Australian rowing team at the London 2012 Games as she took home a silver and a bronze medal. Crow set herself the task of competing in two separate events, a rare feat for rowers, competing in the double sculls and the single sculls. Rowing alongside partner Brooke Pratley in the double sculls, Crow claimed her first Olympic medal when the duo won silver behind Britain’s Anna Watkins and Katherine Grainger. The gold medallists became the first British women to stand on top of the podium at an Olympic rowing event. Crow backed up the following day to win bronze in the single sculls behind Czech Miroslava Knapkova and Dane Fie Udby Erichsen to cap off a stellar second Games campaign for Crow.

Jared Tallent

jaredtallentJared Tallent strode into history at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games - completing a rare double by winning medals in both walking events. Six days after he won bronze in the 20-kilometre race, he collected silver in the 50km event. It was the first time a male Australian track and field athlete had won two medals at a single Games in more than a century: Stan Rowley performed the feat when he won three bronze sprinting medals at the Paris Games in 1900, and Edwin Flack won gold in the 800 and 1500 metres at the first modern Games in Athens in 1896. The last female track and field athlete to do so was Raelene Boyle, with two silvers in Munich in 1972. Tallent’s Games campaign had been overshadowed by that of his fellow-walker Nathan Deakes, who had won the 2007 world 50km championship, having set a world record for the distance earlier in the year. Deakes had been a favourite for Beijing until injury forced his withdrawal from the Australian team. Having won gold at the 2010 Commonwealth Games he returned to Olympic competition in London in 2012 where he again lined up in the 20km and 50km events. He matched his 2008 silver medal winning performance in the 50km walk, setting a new personal best time as he came in second behind Russia’s Sergey Kirdyapkin. Earlier in the Games, Tallent finished 7th in the 20km event 1:16 behind China’s Ding Chen. Tallent was one of six children raised on a potato farm near Ballarat, Victoria. He lost his right index finger in a potato grading machine as a toddler. He was accompanied to the Beijing and London Games by wife, fellow walker Claire Tallent (Woods), who finished 28th in the women’s 20km event in Beijing before being disqualified at the London Games after being placed 10th at the halfway mark of the race. The pair married after the Beijing Games in Woods’ Adelaide home suburb … a place called, appropriately enough, Walkerville.