Start strong, set the pace

Start strong set the pace

They say how you start determines how you finish. If you go in feeling prepared and confident, some early wins can give you an edge and propel you forward. 

If that’s anything to go by, #Tokyo2020 is going to be a Games to remember (and Australia is going to bring home medals in the many)!  

Australians have felt immense pride watching our swimmers’ performances, got some good laughs with some of the reactions (gold medallist Kaylee McKeown and coach Dean Boxall) heartbreak for Sally Fitzgibbons, suspense watching the Matildas tie with USA, joy for our history-making rowing teams who've won four medals today(!), and we all have our fingers crossed for Patty Mills to bring home gold in his fourth Olympics.

You’d think competing at the Games would have taken a lot of stamina, but actually, watching our Tokyo athletes has felt even more intense! I’ve got four screens on the go at home (so I don’t miss any of the action!), and I feel like I’m right there with them: playing every point, swimming every stroke, shooting every hoop, hitting every target.

I’ve also had to try my hand at ‘juggling’: finding the balance between educating my daughter about our amazing athletes and what it means to be an Olympian, with her requests to please put on some cartoons! (If we can make Bluey our #Brisbane2032 mascot, then we’ll all be happy!)

The action so far has just been sensational. The Games kicked off with an Opening Ceremony that was epic, entertaining and reflective of this year’s unique circumstances. I especially loved the pictograms, and the clever way they formed the logo at the end. And, of course, it was a highlight to watch Naomi Osaka lighting the Olympic cauldron.

It was a glorious moment watching Patty Mills and Cate Campbell, our 2020 Flag Bearers, leading the Australian Olympic Team into the stadium. The team looked so proud in their uniforms (and definitely brought a tear to my eye!) These are the most resilient athletes we’ve ever seen – each has their own story, and each has shown incredible strength in overcoming the challenging lead-in to Tokyo. 

Dolphins swim

Tokyo Bay by Erik Zunder

Our Dolphins swim team have been racking up the medal tally – in the opening week of #Tokyo2020, the Women’s 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay team (Emma McKeon, Meg Harris, Cate Campbell, Bronte Campbell) set a new world record, Ariarne Titmus snatched gold from the ‘unbeatable’ Katie Ledecky TWICE, and Kaylee McKeown made history as Australia’s 200th female gold medallist when she won the 100m backstroke.

With her recent win at Wimbledon, Ash Barty was well on her way to Olympic gold. However, after a disappointing start against Naomi Osaka, Ash has brought it back in her doubles pairing with Storm Sanders. The two looked effortless earlier this week when they won against Xu Yifan and Yang Zhaoxuan.

And finally, some of the best starts have come from 2020’s new events: skateboarding, surfing, karate and sport climbing. There’s been a huge buzz around our awesome surfers, like Owen Wright who won the sport’s first-ever bronze medal, but I reckon it’s the skateboarders who have stolen the show!

Aussies Shane O’Neill and Hayley Wilson had us all glued to our TV sets (and computer screens, and tablets). But my favourite story so far are the three teenage girls – Momiji Nishiya (13), Rayssa Leal (13) and Funa Nakayama (16) – who took out the top spots in street skateboarding, and competed with such camaraderie. I can guarantee we’ll be seeing a lot more kids down at the skate parks, inspired by the trail these girls are blazing.

Mariafe Artacho de Solar and Taliqua Clancy

And tonight, we’ll watch both Aussie beach volleyball teams battle it out - Christopher McHugh and Damien Schumann against the Spanish side at 6pm (AEST), and Mariafe Artacho de Solar and Taliqua Clancy against the Italian team at 10pm. Of course, I’m super pumped about these two matches!

If you need me, you know where to find me: on the couch with my family, four screens playing, cheering loud enough for our athletes to feel the love all the way over in Tokyo!