AUSSIE SPORTSWOMEN MAKE A SPLASH!
The Australian Women's Weekly|Christmas 2021
2021 has been a golden year for Aussie sportswomen and their victories have lifted our spirits. For that, The Weekly says thank you!
BEVERLEY HADGRAFT

While it’s been a dark year for those of us affected by COVID lockdowns, there has been a shining light – the opportunity to cheer and be cheered by our golden girls of sport.

Ash Barty won the world’s most prestigious tennis tournament, Wimbledon; our cricket team beat India in a multi-series; Minjee Lee won her first golf major, and of course our Olympians and Paralympians gave us cause to celebrate day after day.

Not since the Melbourne Olympics in 1956 has Australia taken away more gold medals in the pool. “Three seconds ahead of the world! You just don’t see that!” marvelled Ian Thorpe as the 4x100m relay team smashed the 3 minute 30 second barrier for the first time ever.

Meanwhile, Ariarne Titmus didn’t just win the 200m and 400m freestyle at her first-ever Olympics – she did it by beating the world’s greatest ever female swimmer, Katie Ledecky.

And with the International Olympic Committee committed to gender equality, Jess Fox got to compete in the inaugural women’s C1 canoe slalom and won gold. We marveled as she kneeled in her tiny boat to spin it through the turbulent water and around 25 gates. There was more success in the water when our women won the rowing fours and Melissa Wu got bronze in the 10m diving, while, on dry land, we won medals in the women’s beach volleyball, high jump, and javelin.

A few weeks later our Paralympic women won 10 golds between them for cycling, swimming, table tennis, long jump and wheelchair racing. Madison de Rozario was the only member of the entire team to win two golds and the first Australian woman to win the marathon in one of the most exciting finishes of the competition. In November she also became the first Australian woman to win the New York Marathon.

In other news, it was announced that all AFL clubs will now sport women’s teams, and football bible Goal nominated three Matildas – Sam Kerr, Caitlin Foord and Ellie Carpenter – for their Best Female Player in the World award.

It’s said that if you can’t see it, you can’t be it. Our golden girls have had a great set of mentors to follow and they’re now providing our daughters and granddaughters with the best role models – women who never let us down on or off their chosen arena.

Swimming SUPERSTAR

EMMA McKEON

As Emma McKeon became our most decorated Olympian ever, with 11 medals across two Olympics, Leisel Jones and Ian Thorpe were in the commentary box watching her overtake their records. “They were buzzing,” Seven Network commentator Mel McLaughlin told her afterwards. “I look at them as the legends. I’m just honoured to be mentioned in the same category,” responded Emma modestly. If there were medals for humility, she’d have a dozen of them. “Being humble – that’s my number one thing I’ve always wanted to be,” she says. Emma’s from swimming royalty – her parents were Olympic and Commonwealth swimmers and trained with her coach, Michael Bohl. Her brother David is also a former Olympian, and in footage of him pacing the backyard before her race, he looked far more nervous than she did. “I was excited to dive in the pool, give it my all,” Emma says. “To have brought so much excitement to everyone back home as well – it was nice to be a part of that.”

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