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Australia's outstanding athletics performance at the 2021 Olympic Games

By Chris Lewis - posted Monday, 9 August 2021

While I congratulate all of the Australian team who made it to the Tokyo given the coronavirus disaster, and am thankful the OG went ahead despite widespread Japanese public opposition, this article highlights the many Australian athletics competitors that did exceptionally well at Tokyo in terms of their results.

At face value in terms of medals won, Australia's performance in athletics pales in comparison to other Olympic Games (OG) sports.

With just three medals (silver in the womens high jump and bronze in the decathlon and womens javelin), the lay person could note that Australia's swimming teams alone won 21 medals (nine gold medals).


But the lay person should also note just how well Australia's athletics team did in one of the toughest and most prestigious of all OG sports where most countries compete, despite that sport hosting the most OG events (48).

In the sprints, where OG stadiums normally produce pretty good conditions and the latest fast track technology, many of our sprinters did deliver with personal bests (PBs).

As the late Rick Mitchell (1980 OG 400m silver medalist) has stated, running PBs in the global competitions should indeed be the ultimate goal for our sprinters.

You simply cannot do better than that, as it is impossible to control the prospects of those competing against you as they run in their own individual lanes.

In the men's 100m, Rohan Browning did fantastic to run a personal best (PB) of 10.01 in his heat to make the semi-finals.

Browning, aided by a coach Andrew Murphy who knows all about the importance of leg power, will hopefully make further improvement in coming years in this extremely competitive event which perhaps best expresses a human's ability to demonstrate explosive speed.


Browning is already a very good technical runner who makes the most of his speed in terms of running an efficient 100m.

With the 100m a glamorous event which has the capacity to drive greater domestic interest in athletics, Browning could well become a leading light through his example for other young Australians to try and emulate.

Also very impressive was Riley Day who ran a PB of 22.56 in the 200m when third in the semi-final.

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About the Author

Chris Lewis, who completed a First Class Honours degree and PhD (Commonwealth scholarship) at Monash University, has an interest in all economic, social and environmental issues, but believes that the struggle for the ‘right’ policy mix remains an elusive goal in such a complex and competitive world.

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