All Pomp But No Ceremonies For Cate Campbell As Swimmers Prepare For Fly-In-Fly-out Games

Cate Campbell AUS, 50m Freestyle Final, 18th FINA World Swimming Championships 2019, 28 July 2019, Gwangju South Korea. Pic by Delly Carr/Swimming Australia. Pic credit requested and mandatory for free editorial usage. THANK YOU.
TOKYO HERE WE COME: Cate Campbell welcomes the latest travel and testing measures for next year's Olympics: Photo: Delly Carr (Swimming Australia).

Triple Olympian Cate Campbell has said she would “walk on her hands” to get to Tokyo for a fourth Games next year following announcement of updated travel and testing measures for next year’s postponed Olympics with no Closing or Opening Ceremonies for the swim team.

It comes in the lead up to a return to competition for the majority of Australia’s prospective Olympic swimmers at this week’s 2020 Hancock Prospecting Australian Virtual Short Course across five inter-state venues.

Cate Campbell abd Bronte Campbell Swimming World

SISTER ACT: Back in the pool in Sydney this weekend. Bronte, left, and Cate Campbell. Photo Courtesy Delly Carr (Swimming Australia)>

Campbell herself will line up alongside fellow sister of speed Bronte Campbell and fellow world champion Madi Wilson in the NSW meet at the Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre on Friday night.

The triple Olympian and dual relay gold medallist from London and Rio has spoken candidly on the Channel 7 Sunrise program following the announcement that:

  • Athletes would almost certainly fly into Tokyo five days before the Games and fly out when finished
  • They would be tested before and on arrival and tested almost on a daily basis
  • Swimmers, rowers and track and field athletes would not march in the Opening Ceremony.
  • That only 7000 people would be in the Village at any one time and not the 16,500 originally touted and;
  • Athletes would have to return home straight after their events and miss the Closing Ceremony

“I know everyone says the moment the Olympic Games begins is the moment you walk into the Stadium for the Opening Ceremony but for me it’s the moment I stand behind the starting blocks or the starting line and you hear your name called out and you’re representing Australia.,” said Campbell.

“So I think as swimmers we have our head around this and I’ve never walked in an Opening Ceremony; I’ve partied at a lot of Closing Ceremonies which will be sad to miss this time.

“But honestly I would do just about anything just to go and compete at the Games ..but all of these measures are really, really practical and really rational.

“These measures will be easy to adjust to; normally we would only arrive into the Village four or five days before the start of competition anyway so it’s pretty standard.

“Probably the thing that would change slightly is that normally we would go to a host country and stay in a town outside an Olympic Village before we head into the Village so obviously we are going to have to look at whether or not we fly from Australia straight (into Tokyo) to cut down on travel time and cut down on risks .

“So things will change slightly but arriving into the Olympic Village will be pretty much be the same.”

As far as setting themselves for the Games, Campbell said the athletes would do pretty much what they have to do.

“This is our moment, this is the thing we’ve been training for, some of us our whole lives; whatever it takes we will get there, we will do it.

“If they told me I’d have to learn to walk on my hands to get there then I would; fortunately they haven’t suggested that.

“But honestly (athletes will do) whatever it takes; athletes are pretty good at adapting to change and pretty good at being pro something and then having to re-adapt and I think these Olympics will be a real testament as to how adaptable the human race is…and I cannot wait.”

The Australian team is hopping to know their arrangements come the National Event Camp in February following discussions with the Australian Olympic Committee to get a clear line of sight.

The swimmers had been scheduled to attend a pre-Games camp in their adopted Japanese training base in Nagaoka – less that a two-hour train ride.

But it may well be that they will begin their “fly-in fly-out” Games campaign with a direct flight from their Australian training-base camp in Cairns into Tokyo and go straight I to the Village five days out from the Opening Ceremony.


IMPRESSIVE WITNESS: Shayna Jack ponders her comeback in 2021. Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr (Swimming Australia)

CAS Arbitrator Says Shanya Jack Most Impressive

Meanwhile Campbell was also one of several character witnesses for her former training partner and relay gold medallist Shayna Jack, who had her four-year doping ban reduced to two by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) for her positive test to Ligandrol before last year’s World Championships.

CAS arbitrator Alan Sullivan QC said Jack was the most impressive witness he had ever seen in giving evidence.

Its full decision, published earlier this week, the 22-year-old was highly commended for her honesty by CAS.

Jack still does not know how the banned substance entered her system, and the finding reported that her credibility as an honest witness “ remained completely intact” even when she was “thoroughly but properly tested in cross-examination”.

“Indeed, she was one of the most impressive witness the sole arbitrator (Sullivan) has seen in his more than 40 years of practice,” the findings stated.

“She appeared to be completely straightforward, genuine and honest in the answers she gave. Her demeanor was excellent and her dismay and upset at the situation she found herself was evident.

“She became emotional at times in giving her evidence but not inappropriately or theatrically so.

“The Sole Arbitrator could not detect any signs of acting or disingenuousness. On the contrary, as stated, the applicant (Jack) presented as an honest, decent, reliable and very plausible witness.”


FLYING THE FLAG: Mack Horton continues to unleash with the Australian schools. Photo Courtesy: Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports

Olympic Champion Mack Horton To Mark 150 000 Students Inspired by Olympics Unleashed

In other news from Australia Rio Olympic 400m freestyle champion Mack Horton and 150 students from the bushfire-affected NSW south coast will notch a special milestone today, with Horton’s virtual visit surpassing 150 000 students who have connected with Olympians through Olympics Unleashed, presented by Optus.

Students from Sapphire Coast Anglican College in Bega and St Peter’s and Carroll Colleges in Broulee were digitally connected with Melbourne-based Horton, to share their experiences and hear from Mack about his Olympic journey.

(And it co-incided with the announcement that Victoria had completed 28 days Covid free and would be open to NSW and Queensland from December 1.)

Since launching in 2018, Olympics Unleashed has seen students from 1096 schools across the country connect directly with Olympians and Tokyo 2020 hopefuls, using lessons from their Olympic story to help students overcome challenges and pursue their passion.

Rio 2016 400m freestyle gold medallist and Optus Ambassador Horton looked forward to connecting with students across the NSW south coast.

“This year has been testing for everyone, everywhere and it’s important we embrace how much it has taught us about coming together to overcome it all,” Horton said.

“I’m excited to have a moment with the students that focuses on positivity and camaraderie, to share my personal learnings and in turn, learn from their experiences with overcoming unimaginable adversity.”

Horton will share his own personal journey, from a ten-year-old afraid of being underwater to an Olympic swimming champion, to inspire students to find and chase their passion.

“I want people to discover who they are as people and what they are capable of achieving so that they are able to fully give themselves to their dreams,” he said.

Horton, like Campbell, will return to the water when he lines up in the Victorian-based Virtual meet, starting at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre tomorrow night (Thursday, Australian time) with Horton lining up the 50, 100, 200, 400 and 800m freestyle events.

Joining Sydney and Melbourne will be corresponding meets in Hobart, Perth and Brisbane with $100,000 in prizemoney for the swimmers and $32,000 for the coaches.


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