Aussie Women: King,
Jones, Harrop, Gallager, Carney, Hill, Hackett, Keat,
Mitchell, depth...2000 gold
worlds is easy compared to making the Australian
women's Tri team.
a dilemma that plagues a select few countries in the
world. The Austrians face it in skiing. A team with so
much talent that some of the best in the world are not
allowed to compete in the Olympics because their
teammates are performing better. No matter that they
have a real chance to win a race on any given day,
there are others that have a better chance. So it is
with the Australian women's triathlon squad--too much
bloody Australians. I have been beaten by almost
every Australian this year: Emma, Jackie,
Loretta, Joanne. But I actually haven't finished
out of the top three since 1991, so I have a
pretty good record. And Joanne had a great race
today and she definitely deserved to win...I
think it's great for the sport to have new faces
Joanne King, 1998 ITU World
year at Perth the Aussie women swept both the elite
and junior races. The elites placed five athletes in
the top 12 and the juniors took five of the top seven
slots. They accomplished this without the help of this
year's world champion, Joanne King, who didn't race in
either category--she was too old for juniors and
didn't qualify for the elites. This year they took
four of the top six elite spots and five of the top 12
junior places, including 1-2 in both divisions.
Now consider that Beth
Thomson, who was this year's third- place junior
racing for Great Britain, placed second at last year's
worlds racing as an Australian. That country is
so bloated with female stars that they've taken to
exporting racers out of the country. Of course, the
move doesn't hurt Thomson's chances of racing as an
elite next year under a British flag. Britain's top
female, Steph Forrester, placed 16th in Lausanne.
The Aussies spice their raft
of talent with an incredible desire to win, for
themselves and for their country. Now put the first
Olympic triathlon on the Australian home court. Does
anyone want to bet against the likelihood that the
women from down under will hold the gold in Sydney? If
you know someone who does, there's still that bridge
waiting in Brooklyn.
No one appreciates the bittersweet reality of the
Aussie "problem" more than the Australians.
Champion King almost didn't go to Lausanne. "I
was the last one selected in the Australian
team," she said. "I had to have a good race
at the Gamagori [Japan] ITU race. I finished third
there, so that put me on the Australian team."
What does she think of her
chances at the 2000 Olympics? "First of all, the
biggest struggle will be to make the Australian team.
So, once I do that then maybe I can start thinking of
the 2000 Olympics."
Scary thought, if King can
beat Michellie Jones and Jackie Gallagher, and she's
still worried about making the cut, what super
heroines will be vying for gold in Sydney? Bets
Rebekah Keat, Aus; Nicole Hackett, Aus; Beth Thomson,
Gbr (formerly Aus)