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               The Matt Caroll interview                                                                                           THE JOURNAL OF SPORT,  LEISURE & RISK  WITH AN INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVE         November 2021


              Exclusive Touchline Interview with                                                                                   performance on the                                medals and 3 bronze at these Games




              Matt Carroll,                                                                                                        one hand and, equally                             etched her place in the record books. Her
                                                                                                                                                                                     career tally makes her our greatest ever
                                                                                                                                   importantly, the attitude and
                                                                                                                                                                                     Olympian. That happened at these Games.
                                                                                                                                   approach of the team to the
              Australian Olympic                                                                                                   unique circumstances of the                       But stepping away from the medals and
                                                                                                                                                                                     results, the Team culture was outstanding.
                                                                                                                                   Games?
                                                                                                                                                                                     They were unified and cohesive. They were
              Committee CEO.                                                                                                       A. We competed in 33 sports with a Team  were very grateful for the opportunity to
                                                                                                                                                                                     thrilled just to have got to Tokyo and they
                                                                                                                                                                                     perform. Australia is very proud of them all.
                                                                                                                                   comprised of 53% female competitors and
                                                                                                                                   47% male. That’s a new high mark to have
                                                                                                                                   so many Australian women represent their          Q. Attention now moves
                                    In an exclusive interview following the Australian team’s                                      country at an Olympic Games. We also              to the 2022 Winter Games
                                    magnificent performance in Tokyo, Touchline caught up with CEO                                 selected 16 Indigenous athletes to Tokyo,
                                    of the Australian Olympic Committee, Matt Carroll AM, to get his                               another record – with the great Patrick           in Beijing. Are the current
                                    thoughts on the team’s achievements and where to from here.                                    (Patty) Mills becoming our first Indigenous       geopolitical tensions
                                                                                                                                   Flag Bearer. Cate Campbell became the             between Australia and China
                                    Q. How would               And yes, it was a challenge for the AOC                             first female swimmer to carry the Flag in
                                    you describe               to send nearly 1,000 athletes and support                           an Opening Ceremony. Because the Team             a concern for the AOC and,
                                                               staff to a Games during a pandemic and
                                    the Games and              bring the team home safely through                                  could not really mix with other countries         if so, what impacts may the
                                                                                                                                   due to COVID protocols, they turned to
                                    what Japan                 quarantine across six jurisdictions without                         each other – athletes from all the different      current situation have on the
                                    and Tokyo                  one positive COVID result.                                          sports mixing together far more than in           Australian team?
                                    were able to               The friendly time zone and the difficult                            previous Games.                                   A. We have no concerns at all. Our Team
                                    deliver?                   circumstances in Australia with the                                 We made the Village setup particularly            is focused on performance and following

                                                               pandemic meant the Games shattered                                  homely for them, right down to an in-             the rules that will keep them safe in Beijing.
              A. They were certainly a Games held in           television and digital records. Australians                         house barista. They were very proud of it.        The Playbook COVID rules are out now, so
              challenging circumstances. Challenging           embraced the Games in quite an                                      And the scoreboard read well for us too.          we know how to keep our team safe and it
              for our hosts, Japan, to whom we                 extraordinary way. All that hard work                               The total of 17 gold medals equalled the          will be very similar to Tokyo.
              are extremely grateful. They held a              undertaken by everyone was certainly                                previous high and the total medal tally of
              magnificent event without the Japanese           worth it.                                                           46 was our third highest ever. In all, 99         Athletes aren’t an extension of foreign
              people being able to attend. That was                                                                                of those 486 athletes came home with a            policy. They are athletes and they are
              immensely disappointing for them                 Q. Australia was                                                    medal, an inspiration to 99 communities           competing against the world’s greatest
              because the Japanese people love sport.          represented by the largest                                          across Australia. The Team won gold               winter athletes in Beijing. We have high
                                                                                                                                                                                     hopes for our team and we want to give
                                                               team at an off-shore Games                                          medals in the new events including                them every opportunity to perform on
              It was challenging for the athletes to                                                                               skateboarding and BMX freestyle and of
              prepare for and qualify for these Games.         and it would be difficult                                           course Emma McKeon with her 4 gold                their day.
              But they showed great determination and          to identify a team that has
              resilience. From an Australian perspective,      represented this country
              the athlete feedback has been
              extraordinarily positive. They bonded as         with greater distinction,                                                We competed in 33 sports with a Team comprised of
              a team and loved the experience. Even            modesty and gratitude.                                                   53% female competitors and 47% male. That’s a new high
              those who did not achieve their own goals        What are your reflections                                                mark to have so many Australian women represent their
              have observed that the Tokyo Games               on the Australian team’s                                                 country at an Olympic Games”.
              were a wonderful experience.



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