As the Tokyo Olympics come closer, we’re highlighting five sports that haven’t necessarily been at the forefront, but are worth turning on the TV for.
Softball is one of two women-only events at the Olympics and made its debut in 1996. Australia’s ‘Aussie Spirit’ competed—and medalled—four times until 2008, when the sport was removed from the Olympic program. In Tokyo, Softball returns for the first time in thirteen years. For this reason, 14 of Australia’s team of 15 will be making their Olympic debut—Stacey Porter will be competing at her third games. The Australian team is comprised of Michelle Cox, Chelsea Forkin, Leigh Godfrey, Rachel Lack, Stacey McManus, Kaia Parnaby, Leah Parry, Gabrielle Plain, Stacey Porter, Ellen Roberts, Tarni Stepto, Taylah Tsitsikronis, Jade Wall, Clare Warwick and Belinda White.
Australia has seven women headed to Tokyo to compete across six different shooting events. Four of the Australian team—Elise Collier, Katarina Kowplos, Laura Coles and Penny Smith—will be making their Olympic debut. It will be the second games for Elena Galiabouitch and Laetitia Scanlan, while veteren Dina Aspandiyarova will appear at her fourth games—her third for Australia. Despite just 35 of Australia’s 116 Olympic shooters throughout history being women, the first Olympic medallist in green and gold was Patti Dench who won bronze in 1984.
The Modern Pentathlon comprises Fencing, Swimming, Horse Racing and a combined Run and Shoot event—named the ‘Laser Run’. Women have been able to compete in the Modern Pentathlon since 2000, while men have been able to qualify since 1952, and for this reason just four women have represented Australia for the event at the Olympics. Our first medal, however, was gold won by Chloe Esposito in 2016. At Tokyo, Marina Carrier will be the sole Australian woman in the event. Hailing from New South Wales, Carrier will be making her Olympic debut.
We have one woman representing Australia in Archery at the Tokyo Olympics, West Australian Alice Ingley. Alice is a multiple Australian Open champion, and has competed at the 2010 Glasgow Commonwealth Games and 2016 Rio Olympic Games. She will be competing in the Individual Women’s Archery event in Tokyo.
Australia has eight women headed to Tokyo for the Artistic Swimming events—team and duet. Alessandra Ho, Amie Thompson, Emily Rogers, Hannah Burkhill, Hannah Cross, Kiera Gazzard, Kirsten Kinash and Rachel Presser will compete in the team event, with Thompson and Rogers also competing in the duet category. The Australian team is heading over with five Olympic debutants, and new coach, Lolli Montico who is determined to improve the country’s current ranking of 10th.