The number of inspiring Australian women competing in the Tokyo Olympic Games is more than ever. It all comes with months and years of arduous training.
Whilst a lot of dreams may have been dashed with the postponement of the Olympic Games in 2020 and despite the ever-present Covid-19 pandemic, the Olympics still hold the power to inspire us.
Despite all its challenges, the Tokyo Olympics will mark an impressive milestone for Australia, with 254 women competing — the highest number of female athletes ever to compete for Australia.
The second largest Australian team to attend the Olympics with 472 members. Only the 2004 Athens Games sported a larger team.
Australia will compete in 33 sports, including four of the new ones: skateboarding, sport climbing, surfing and karate. Our oldest team member is Mary Hanna. She’s riding in the equestrian team for her sixth Olympics. Our youngest team member at 17 years old is swimmer Mollie O’Callaghan.
Let's take a look at some of the inspiring women that have taken hours of gruelling training, juggling families and a global pandemic all in their stride.
Hot off her Wimbledon victory, World Number 1 Ash Barty now has her sights set on Olympic gold in tennis. This month, the young Queenslander made history at Wimbledon, becoming the first female Australian to take home the trophy since 1980 and the second Indigenous Australian to win the singles title.
The 25-year-old will be making her Olympic debut.
Marathon runner Lisa Weightman is heading into her 4th Olympic Games, having made her debut at the 2008 Beijing Olympics at the age of 29. Her Olympic highlight was at the 2012 London Olympics where she placed 17th — the fourth best performance by an Australian female runner.
With no sign of slowing down, 42-year-old Weightman will become the third oldest Australian to compete in athletics at the Olympics. Not only is the legendary runner an Olympian but an IBM technology consultant, wife and mother to son Peter — an incredible feat for a full-time athlete.
29-year-old Cate Campbell made her debut at the 2008 Beijing Olympics at just 16, where she scored two bronze medals. She took home gold at the London 2012 Olympics after winning the 4x100m relay and again at Rio 2016 when she won the 4x100m freestyle.
Now participating in her 4th Olympic Games, Campbell has been chosen as one of Australia's two flag bearers at the Olympic Opening Ceremony, a significant moment for the Olympian who will become the first Australian female swimmer to fly the flag.
27-year-old Sam Kerr is another sporting superstar with several accolades and wins already under her belt. Born in WA, the young footballer and Olympic team captain previously represented Australia in several AFC Women's Asian Cup Tournaments. She has also played in 3 FIFA Women's World Cups, and in 2019 became the first Australian (female or male) to score a hat trick at a World Cup.
Kerr has since played for US teams, becoming the all-time leading goal scorer in the American NSWL. In 2019 she landed a spot playing for legendary Chelsea in the English FA Women's Super League.
The determined leader of the Australian team is known for her celebratory backflips, which we look forward to seeing at the upcoming Olympic Games.
Over the period of the Olympic Games (they finish 8 August), these and over 200 female athletes will be proudly flying the Australian flag. But with no family or supporters on the ground, our gals in green and gold will need Australia's support more than ever.