CEO Update - September 2016
Articles | Monday, Oct 10, 2016
Olympics / Paralympics
This update is a special one to report directly on the Olympic and Paralympic Games conducted in Rio during the months of August and September.
As you would all know we were privileged enough to walk away from Rio with a Gold Medal won by Catherine Skinner in the Women's Trap event. This is our first Olympic Shooting Medal since a Bronze in Beijing in 2008 and our first Gold Medal in either the Olympics or Paralympics since 2004.
This result was a terrific one for our sport and delivered us significant positive exposure and profile. Australia won 8 Gold medals at the Olympics and for one of these to be from the sport of shooting is a great achievement for our sport and one we should all be proud of.
Almost four years ago we presented to the Australian Sports Commission, the Australian Institute of Sport and most of the State and Territory Institutes. At this time we detailed our athlete cohort and the planning and programming of our sport. The Women's Trap event was one of the events we highlighted as an event we would deliver a medal in at Rio. To see this eventuate for our sport the way it did is again another sign to our partners, investors and stakeholders that we are doing lots of things right.
Almost as impressive as Catherine winning the Gold Medal, was the fact that not one but two Australians made it into the finals in Women's Trap. Laetisha Scanlan who shot brilliantly to lead qualiying also made the final six. To watch these two young Australian athletes represent our sport at their first Olympics with such dignity, grace and excellence was inspiring. One of the most endearing and lasting images of the Rio Olympics for all Australian's, and consequently almost the single most positive promotions of our sport, was the moment Laetisha jumped into Catherine's arms after she had secured gold. This moment will live with me forever and is possibly one of the most powerful signs of what we are capable of when we work together.
The other performance of note from the Olympics was that of James Willett. James went into the Men's Double Trap event ranked number one in the world and carried a considerable amount of pressure and expectation.He handled himself remarkably well equalling the Olympic Record in qualifying and finished 5th in a tense finals environment. James was eight years younger than any other athlete in the field and more than ten years younger than any other athlete who made the Double Trap finals.
Catherine, Laetisha and James represent the changing face of shooting in Australia; humble, respectful, hard-working, and professional. With such a young team in Rio, the future and sense of team being established is exciting for Tokyo and beyond.
Just as exciting was the performance of our athletes at the Paralympics in September. Although this team did not win a medal they displayed extreme courage and determination and are universally loved and respected for their approach.
The stand out performances were from Natalie Smith and Chris Pitt. Natalie undertook a huge program competing in four events which, combined with all of the preparation work and training, saw her just about live at the range. Natalie went on to make two finals finishing with a 5th and 8th place in what is her second Games appearance. I know she is disappointed in her performances, but to make two Olympic Finals and compete in four events is a monumentally great achievement. Chris Pitt went into the Games hoping to do well and he certainly did. Chris finished fourth in the P3 Mixed 25m Pistol event after qualifying into the Bronze Medal match. Chris showed great resilience. After the precision stage of qualifying he was a long way from the top 8 and, what many believed an insurmountable distance back. However he shot the second highest rapid stage to fly up the leader board and into the finals.
Collectively our Olympic and Paralympic athletes performed well and we are extremely proud of they way they represented our sport and indeed all of Australia.
The task we now face is how do we ensure we get better together. This task has already begun and we will continue to be relentless in this space. We must celebrate our successes such as those achieved in Rio, but we must never be scared to pursue excellence and to want more for our athletes and for our sport. My promise, to you our stakeholders, is that we will be fierce. We will strive to find the things we can do better and implement them without apology, for the betterment of our sport