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TAFE NSW London Olympic and Paralympic Games Update Centre

London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games

Want to feel part of all the Olympic action? Want to know all the important info: the who, what, when, where, why and how many milliseconds of London 2012? Don't have time to spend 16 days glued to the television? Then you've arrived at the right place.

This page can be your virtual stadium. Keep track of the entire spectrum of Olympic and Paralympic emotions as they happen - triumph, disappointment, red cards and everything in-between. We'll bring you details of events as they unfold, let you know of athletes to keep an eye on and even some juicy Olympic morsels, tidbits and history thrown in for good measure. And all of this while maintaining a resting heart rate and without raising a sweat.


'The way of the hand and the foot'

This phrase is a loose translation of 'taekwondo', which is also the national sport of South Korea. Taekwondo may have a very long and proud history, but it's only been a fully-fledged Olympic sport since Sydney 2000. Before that, it had appeared as a demonstration sport only in 1988 and 1992. It was also during its Olympic debut that Australia won its first two taekwondo medals: Lauren Burns claimed gold in the under 49kg category, while Daniel Trenton scored silver as a heavyweight.

At London 2012, Australia's taekwondo team comprises a soon-to-be married couple: Carmen Marten who was a quarter-finalist four years ago, and her fiancée Safwan Khalil, who went to Lurnea Primary and High Schools. Needless to say both competitors are hoping for gold around their necks before they slip gold onto each other's fingers later this year.

Competition begins on Wednesday 8 August at 9.00am London time with the Preliminary Round of the women's 49kg.

Table tennis - what a racket!

When it comes to Olympic table tennis, the Chinese are the undisputed masters having won 20 of the 24 gold medals awarded in the sport since it made its Olympic debut in 1988 at Seoul. On their home turf at Beijing in 2008 they even made a clean sweep of all four events.

In spite of an absence of Olympic medals so far, the Australian table tennis team remains undeterred. Aussie women Miao Miao and Jian Fang Lay are the players to watch in London 2012, both competing in their fourth Olympics after an upward trajectory that began in Sydney 2000.

On the Aussie men's table tennis front, 29 year-old William Henzell is currently our top-ranked player and is no stranger to Olympic history being the first Aussie bloke to win matches in both the singles and doubles events at Athens 2004.

The Australian team competing at London 2012 includes Justin Han,who attended Asquith Boys High School.

Competition began on Saturday 28 July ay 9.00am London time at the ExCel complex in London's Docklands, the venue with the biggest cluster of Olympic and Paralympic events outside of the Olympic Park.

Sailing - anchors aweigh

It seems fitting that as a nation girt by sea, Australia should have lots of Olympic medals for sailing. Nineteen of them in fact, including seven gold.

Our Olympic sailing glory began on home turf (or water, rather) in Melbourne 1956 with a bronze and silver. Our first gold medal came eight years later in Tokyo at the 1964 Games.

Officially known as "yachting" until Sydney 2000, the only break in the sport's clean sweep of 20th century Olympic representation occurred in 1904. Logistic problems transporting boats and equipment to the landlocked St Louis in Missouri, USA, forced the decision to cancel the sport for that Olympiad only. Ever since its return in London 1908, it's been a hugely popular event on the Olympic program.

Australia's sailing team for London 2012 includes five former-students from NSW public schools: Jessica Crisp from Vaucluse Primary School, Nina Curtis from Bilgoa Plateau Primary and Barrenjoey High Schools, Iain Jensen from Rathmines Primary and Merewether High Schools, Olivia Price from Drummoyne Primary and Sydney Distance Education High Schools and Lucinda Whitty from Lane Cove Primary School.

The competition is taking place at Weymouth and Portland on England's southern coastline and began on Sunday 29 July.

Hockey - men - with a little bit of puck

Hockey is another Olympic sport that was dominated by just two countries in the 20th century. For 40 years from 1928 to 1968 every Olympic title in Hockey was won by either India or Pakistan.

Bu the 21st century is another story. When the Aussie men's hockey team, the Kookaburras, pound the field in London 2012, they'll have one thing on their mind - gold. Their first Olympic title back in 2004 at Athens was an iconic victory - who could forget Jamie Dwyer scoring that winning goal? - but after having to settle for bronze in Beijing, the boys are fired up and ready for the challenge that lies ahead.

Three of the Kookaburras are from NSW public schools: Matthew Butturini went to Burringbar Primary and Murwillumbah High Schools, Simon Orchard went to Muswellbrook Primary and Keiran Govers went to Keiraville Primary and Woonona High Schools.

It was in London 1908 that hockey first appeared as an Olympic sport and in Melbourne1956 when the Australian men's team made their Olympic debut.

The Kookaburras are currently ranked as the World Number One Team in the sport and can be proud of Australia's history of medals won at eight different summer Olympics since 1956.

Hopes are high that in 2012 the plucky Kookaburras will be laughing all the way home with the ultimate prize.

Competition began at the Olympic Park's Riverbank Arena on Monday 30 July with finals scheduled in the second week of the Games.

Triathlon - good things happen in threes

Although the world's very first triathlon was held in 1974 in San Diego USA, it took almost a quarter of a century for the sport to reach Olympic status. It was in Sydney 2000 that the first Olympic triathletes competed with Aussie women claiming medals at the sport's coming out party.

Our female triathletes have continued this medal-winning tradition at every Olympiad since. Our first triathlon gold was won by Emma Snowsill at Beijing 2008. For London 2012 the blokes are joining the women as serious triathlon medal contenders.

Our Olympic triathlon team has three former NSW public school students in its ranks: Erin Densham from Ruse Primary School, Emma Moffatt from Woolgoolga Primary and High Schools and Brendan Sexton from East Maitland Primary School and Maitland Grossmann High School.

Competition began on Saturday 4 August with the Women’s Triathlon.

Athletics - faster, higher, stronger

Australia's Olympic track and field accomplishments date back to Athens 1896 when Edwin Flack – our very first Olympian and the only Aussie to compete in the inaugural modern Olympic Games – won two gold medals in the 800m and 1500m races. Since then, track and field events have produced some of our most hallowed Olympic names – Elliott, Strickland, Boyle, Landy, Jackson and more recently, Freeman … and that's just the runners!

Aussie athletics was given a huge confidence boost after Beijing 2008 when our athletes brought home four medals – the highest athletics tally for 40 years.

The London 2012 track and field program is enormous accounting for almost 20% of this year's Olympic athletes who'll be competing in 47 events. Of the 52 Aussies on the athletics team, 13 are from NSW public schools

  • Luke Adams from Putney Primary School
  • Zoe Buckman from Grafton Primary School
  • Martin Dent from Berkeley Vale Primary School Primary and High Schools
  • Ryan Gregson from Albion Park Primary School and Illawarra Sports High School
  • Benn Harradine from Warners Bay High School
  • Tim Leathart from Roseville Primary School
  • Beki Lee from Minchinbury and Colyton Primary School and Rooty Hill and St Marys Senior High School
  • Isaac Ntiamoah from Fairfield Primary and High Schools
  • Joshua Ross from Henry Kendall High School
  • Adam Rutter from Thornleigh West Primary School and Pennant Hills High School
  • Dani Samuels from Merrylands Primary School and Westfields Sports High School
  • Steven Solomon from Lindfield East Primary School
  • Eloise Wellings from Grays Point Primary School and Kirrawee High School

Athletics competition started Friday 3 August at 10.00am London time so buckle up, tune in, log in and start viewing this week to watch our Aussies compete in track races, discus, shot put, javelin, long jump, high jump, triple jump, steeplechase, hurdles, 20km race walk, marathon, decathlon and heptathlon events.

Canoe/kayak slalom - wet and wild

It's been 40 years since slalom events first appeared on the Olympic program at Munich 1972. Twenty years later, Danielle Woodward brought home Australia's first slalom medal after winning silver at Barcelona 1992. This year she's officiating in London as head of Athlete Services for the Australian Olympic Team. In the years since 1973 we've accumulated two more medals – one bronze and another silver - but the gold still remains elusive.

At London 2012 Games slalom gold medal hopes are riding on the shoulders of 18-year old Jessica Fox, an ex-student from Leonay and Glenbrook Primary Schools and Blaxland High School. "The Flying Fox" is the daughter of two former Olympic kayakers so she's certainly made of all the right stuff for Olympic glory.

Aussies will be competing in all four of the Olympic salmon events at London 2012 and the team considers the London course to be the finest ever constructed.

Competition in London starts with the first run heats of the Men's Canoe Double (C2) on Monday 30 July at 1.30pm London time.

Canoe/kayak sprint - the 'Paddling Powerhouse'

Australia's most successful male Olympian at the Beijing 2008 Games was kayaker Ken Wallace who brought home both gold and bronze. The women's team also did well notching up a bronze and earning the entire Aussie canoe/kayak team the nickname 'The Paddling Powerhouse'.

The canoe/kayak sprint program for London 2012 is different to the one the Paddling Powerhouse conquered four years ago and will test their skills with at least one new event and one deleted event.

Formerly known as 'Flatwater', canoe/kayak sprint made its inaugural Olympic appearance in Berlin 1936. Australia first competed twenty years later in Melbourne 1956.

In the competition schedule, the "K" represents kayak races where competitors use a double-bladed paddle and the number represents how many people are in the boat. The "C" signifies canoe races where a single-bladed paddle is used. At the London Olympics women will only compete in the K1 while the men will race in K1, C1 and also the pair C2 event.

Hitting the white-water are three team members who hail from NSW public schools: Jo Bridgen-Jones from Newport Primary School and Freshwater Senior Campus High School, Naomi Flood from Bilgoa Plateau Primary School and Barrenjoey High School and David Smith from Lake Illawarra South Primary School and Lake Illawarra High School.

Competition begins on Monday 6 August at 9.30am London time with the Men's Kayak Single (K1) 1000m Heat.

Cycling/track - making tracks

Over the years Australia has garnered 38 Olympic medals in track cycling ever since Edgar "Dunc" Gray won bronze at the 1928 Amsterdam Games.

This century, however, Olympic track cycling has become a tug-of-war between the Aussies and the Brits. After our proud medal haul at Athens 2004 of nine including five gold, the Brits pipped us four years later with 14 medals at Beijing 2008 to our lone silver. The track cycling stakes are, therefore, pretty high for London 2012 with the hosts determined to defend their mantle and the Aussies equally determined to win it back.

All of this will be played out at the iconic Velodrome, nicknamed "the Pringle" because it looks like one (but is it salt & vinegar or BBQ?). With five men's and five women's events on the Olympic program, the track cycling gender split is exactly 50/50 – an Olympic first for the sport.

The Aussie team includes well-known sprinter Kaarle McCulloch who attended Bowral Primary School, Bowral and Endeavour Sports High Schools. She's been on the national team for six years.

Competition starts on Thursday 2 August at 4.00pm with the qualifying Women's Team Sprint.

Equestrian – dressage - courses for horses

Dressage is a French term commonly translated as 'training' in competitive equestrian sport. Horse and rider are expected to perform from memory a series of predetermined movements in an arena. A sequential training system was developed in the Renaissance and developed into classical dressage which is considered to be the basis of modern dressage.

Australia's dressage team includes the Oatley girls – Lyndal, who went to Denman Primary School in the Hunter Valley and her cousin Kristy who's our most successful dressage Olympian so far. There's also Mary Hanna who, at age 57, has the distinction of being the oldest Aussie Olympian on the London 2012 team and is representing Australia at her fourth Olympic Games.

Although Australia has won 11 Olympic medals in equestrian, none of them have been for dressage. Australia's strong dressage team for London 2012 puts us in a good position to possibly break this cycle in this equestrian discipline.

The London 2012 dressage venue is located at Greenwich at zero degrees longitude and comprises 183 acres of World Heritage-listed Royal Parkland and stunning views of Central London. Hopefully these views won't distract the horses.

Dressage competition begins on Thursday 2 August.

Badminton - slamming the shuttlecock

Although Australia has competed in badminton at every Summer Olympics since the sport was first introduced at Barcelona in 1992, we've yet to acquire a medal of any colour. This is in stark contrast to the world badminton champions – China – who have 30 medals in their national collection.

In London 2012, Australia's badminton team includes Renuga Veeran who went to Sydney Secondary College, Leichhardt Campus. The Malaysian-born 26-year old has been on Australia's national team for six years and comes from a family with strong badminton tradition and skills. In London, Renuga will be playing in the women's doubles and we'll be cheering her on to success.

Competition starts on Wednesday 25 July at 8.30am at London's famous Wembley Arena.

Boxing - boys and girls both pulling punches

Until London 2012, boxing was the last remaining Olympic sport from which women were banned. This year marks the first time in Olympic history that women are allowed to compete in boxing events.

Boxing first became an Olympic sport in St Louis 1904 where there was even a demonstration-only boxing event for women. It's been on the Olympic program (for men) ever since, with the notable exception of the 1912 Stockholm Games where it was not on the program as the boxing was banned under Swedish law at that time.

Two Aussie boxers competing in London 2012 are from NSW public schools. Jai Opetaia is a current student at Gorokan High School and Cameron Hammond is a former student of Moree East Primary and Moree High School.

Australia's Olympic boxing glory has been sporadic, beginning in London 1908 when legendary all-rounder Reginald "Snowy" Baker won silver. Our next medal, bronze, came 48 years later at the 1956 Melbourne Games, with two more bronze added to the tally in Rome 1960. This was followed by another 28-year drought until another silver in Seoul 1988.

Gold, however, still remains elusive. Perhaps the women can finally provide this missing piece of the story. The gloves are on.

Competition begins on Saturday 28 July at 1.40pm with the Men's Bantam (56kg).

Volleyball - set to net results

Although volleyball has been on the Olympic program for almost half a century, Australia has had difficulty breaking into the sport. Our first Olympic competitors appeared at the Sydney 2000 Games due to our host nation privilege. The blokes then qualified (in their own right) for Athens 2004 but, unfortunately, didn't make it to Beijing four years later.

However, the newly-formed Volleyroos have inspired a lot of optimism among the faithful. Their very existence is thanks to Argentinean Olympic medallist, Jon Uriarte, who spearheaded a scholarship program for the next generation of Australian volleyballers. This year the team includes one player who attended a NSW public school - Aidan Zingel from Minnamurra Primary.

Competition started on Sunday 29 July at Earl's Court with Australia against Argentina in the (group A) preliminary round. Argentina defeated Australia 3-0.

Cycling - on the road again!

Road cycling is a popular recreational activity and one of the most highly-publicised and viewed sports in almost every country in the world. For international competitions like the annual Tour de France and the Olympic Games, cycling is a sport which demands precision, endurance, agility and high-tech equipment.

Road bikes are light weight and use narrow, high-pressured tyres to decrease rolling resistance. Even the athletes’ uniform and head gear is tested to the highest degree to ensure the best aerodynamic performance.

This year the Aussie road cycling team has two ex-NSW government students in the team:  2012 Australian Road Title winner, Amanda Spratt, from Springwood Primary School and Cadel Evans, former Woolgoolga/Newling Primary School and Duval High School student.

Amanda is now in London on the Olympic comeback trail after hip surgery in 2008.

Cadel, currently one of the biggest names in road cycling, thanks to his status as Australia’s first ever Tour de France winner, will be keen to medal after his withdrawal from the French race due to illness.

So far, Australia’s Olympic gold medals in road cycling have been won by women – Kathy Watt at Barcelona in 1992 and Sarah Carrigan at Athens in 2004, so Evans has his eye fixed firmly on the gold that has so far evaded the guys on bikes.

Competition starts with the final of the men’s road race on Saturday 28 July at 10.00am London time. The women’s road race final starts on Sunday 29 July at 12.00pm.

Rowing - swiftly down the stream

This year marks 100 years since Australia first competed in rowing at the Olympic Games. In that century Australia has won 32 medals in the sport, the most memorable being the “Oarsome Foursome” winning back-to-back gold in both Barcelona 1992 and Atlanta 1996.

The Olympic rowing program comprises 14 different events; eight sculling and six sweep-oared. These involve crews ranging from single through to the eight with coxswain, which is traditionally the most popular and receives the most publicity. All races are contested over 2,000 metres and, unlike many other Olympic sports, it’s the crew’s overall place that matters, rather than its actual time.

In London 2012, eyes will be on Drew Ginn who’ll be competing in his fourth Olympic Games and aiming for his fourth gold medal.

The Aussie rowing team in London includes seven athletes who are former NSW government school students: James Chapman who attended Lindfield East Primary; Tess Gerrand from Cundletown Primary and Taree High School; Tobias Lister from Artarmon Primary School; Brooke Pratley from Norfolk Island Central Primary School and Crookwell High School; Nick Purnell from Pymble Primary School; Tom Swann from Mulwala Primary School and Bronwen Watson from Heathcote High School.

Competition starts with the women’s pair – heats on Saturday 28 July at 9.30am London time.

Swimming - life in the fast lane

Swimming has been on the Olympic program since the inception of the modern games in 1896. And Aussies have been winning medals in the pool since 1900 – a staggering 178 medals with 58 of these as gold.

With outstanding Aussie swimmers Ian Thorpe, James Magnussen and James Roberts respectively nicknamed ‘Thorpedo’, ‘Missile’ and ‘Rocket’  it’s no secret that swimming is one of Australia’s most popular Olympic sports.
Half of the London 2012 swimming team will make their Olympic debut while Leisel Jones will be the first Aussie swimmer to compete at four Olympic Games.

This year, five team members are former students of NSW Government schools:

  • Daniel Arnamnart from Mt Colah Primary and Asquith Boys High School
  • Angie Bainbridge from Redhead Primary and Newcastle HighSchool
  • Ky Hurst from Terrigal Primary and High Schools
  • Kenrick Monk from Marayong Primary School and Quakers Hill High School
  • Daniel Tranter from Bradbury Primary School and Westfields Sports High School

Twenty-one year old James Magnussen from Port Macquarie NSW is undoubtedly the swimmer to watch in London. But he’s certainly not alone, with the likes of Jones, Stephanie Rice and Libby Trickett gearing up to make some serious splashing.

Competition begins with heats for the men’s 400m individual medley on Saturday 28 July at 10.00am London time at the Aquatics Centre. Heats for the women’s 100m butterfly kick off 34 minutes later.

Equestrian – eventing - all saddled up

It seems fitting that the Australian athlete who has made the most appearances at the Summer Olympics is Andrew Hoy, who attended Culcairn Primary School, a township located on the Riverina’s Olympic Highway.

Andrew’s own personal Olympic Highway has been a triumphant journey indeed, competing in the equestrian eventing in 1984, 1988, 1992, 1996 where he was the opening flag bearer, 2000 and 2004. London 2012 will be his seventh Olympic Games.

Equestrian has been part of the Olympic program for 100 years, although eventing was originally only open to military officers. The first Aussie equestrian team competed at the Melbourne Olympic Games in 1956 although, ironically, this event took place not on Australian soil but in Sweden due to Australia’s strict quarantine regulations for horses.  Australia’s first equestrian - eventing medals were won in Rome in 1960.

Another interesting feature of equestrian – eventing is that it’s one of the few sports where men and women can compete against each other and on equal terms.

Competition for equestrian – eventing begins on Saturday 28 July at 10.00am London time.

Women's Basketball - Shining Opals

A gold medal for Aussie women’s basketball team, the Opals, remains elusive although they’ve notched up plenty of Olympic silver and bronze over the past 16 years. Hopes are high for this Olympiad, however, as the Opals have committed to training camps over the last two years which has given them more on-court time than ever before.

No doubt the Opals are shining brightly and hopeful that all the extra training might just be enough to make that golden difference this year.

Opals Captain Lauren Jackson hails from the NSW Riverina where she attended Murray High School in the border city of Albury. She’s  been an inspiration for students and basketball players in Australia and USA for over a decade and is highly regarded all over the world. And to add to her accolade, Jackson is the Australian Team flag bearer for these Games so millions of Australians in the stands and watching on TV will be cheering her on.   Jackson is the first Australian woman to be the flag bearer since diver Jenny Donnet in Barcelona in 1992.

Preliminary rounds of women’s basketball begin on Saturday 28 July at the Olympic Park Basketball Arena, at 9.00am London time.

The Opals play Great Britain at 10.30pm London time.

Men's Basketball - tall blokes with high hopes

Men’s basketball has traditionally been dominated by the USA but the sport has become increasingly competitive over the years and, in 2012, the Australian men’s team, the Boomers, has every reason to feel confident of bringing gold home from London. This is in spite of the loss of star player Andrew Bogut to an ankle injury.

The Boomers currently have two players who are former NSW Government school students among their ranks – Aleks Maric from King Park Primary School and Matt Nielsen from Emu Plains Primary and St Marys Senior High School.

Men’s basketball didn’t receive full medal status as an Olympic sport until 1936 in Berlin. It was in Melbourne in 1956 that the Australian men first played on the Olympic stage, however their best placing to date has been fourth and medals of any colour have remained elusive. The team has high hopes that gold may be within reach in London.

Preliminary rounds of men’s basketball begin on Sunday 29 July at the Olympic Park Basketball Arena at 9.00am London time.

The Boomers play Brazil at 11.15am London time.

Shooting - on target

The London 2012 Olympic shooting events are taking place at London's historic Royal Artillery Barracks, a venue which dates back to 1716.

Highly-decorated medal winners, Michael Diamond, a former student of Port Hacking High School, and Russell Mark are competing at their sixth Olympic Games. History may be in the making as the team also includes Russell's wife Lauryn. They are aiming to become Australia's first husband and wife Olympic medal winners.

Other Aussie shooters from NSW Government schools in the team are Suzanne Balogh from Queanbeyan Primary and High Schools, Clive Barton from Timbumburi Primary School and Tamworth High School and Warren Potent from Hill Top Primary School and Greystanes High School.

This year's shooting team accounts for half of the 12 medals already won by Australians in this sport and they'll have more gold in their sights to add to their tally.

Shooting is one of the Olympic sports that date back to the inaugural Modern Games in Athens in 1896. Australia's first shooting medal was won in Paris in 1900 when Donald Mackintosh won gold and bronze. However, Australia had to wait 84 years for our next shooting medal when Patti Dench won bronze in Los Angeles in 1984.

Competition begins on Saturday 28 July. The women's air rifle qualification is at 8.15am London time and the men's air pistol qualification is at 12.00pm London time.

Women's Hockey - girls with sticks

With an average age of just 25, the London 2012 Australian women’s hockey team, the Hockeyroos, is one of the youngest.

Currently ranked World Number 7, the team comprises five players who attended NSW government schools: Jade Close from York Primary School and Westfields Sports High School; Toni Cronk from Padstow Park Primary and East Hills Girls Tech High School; Casey Eastham from Albion Park Primary and High Schools; Kate Jenner from Hillvue Primary and Oxley High School; and Emily Smith from Crookwell High School.

Women’s hockey first appeared as an Olympic sport in 1980 at Moscow and the Hockeyroos made their Olympic debut the following Olympiad at Los Angeles. Since then, the team has won gold three times:  in 1988 at Seoul, in 1992 at Barcelona and in 1996 at Atlanta. The Atlanta victory was particularly significant, as the team included Nova Peris who became the first Aboriginal woman to win an Olympic medal.

Women’s hockey competition begins with the Preliminary Round (Group B) Australia versus New Zealand on Sunday 29 July at 8.30am London time at the Riverbank Arena.

Water polo - making a splash

Water polo has been a perennially popular Olympic event ever since its debut in 1900. Almost every country competing in the London 2012 Olympic Games has athletes competing in this sport which is why tickets sold out as soon as they were released.

Eight of the Aussie water polo team members currently in London are former students of NSW public schools, with two high schools, Sefton and Kirrawee, accounting for two team members each - Joel Dennerley, Mel Rippon and Alicia McCormack, Nicola Zagame respectively.

Other team members include former students James Clark from Birchgrove Primary School, Johnno Cotterill from Kensington Primary School and Randwick Boys High School, Holly Lincoln-Smith from Narrabeen Lakes Primary School and NBSC – Mackellar Girls Campus High School and Gavin Woods from Birchgrove Primary School and Hunters Hill High School.

To date, the high water mark for the women’s team, the Aussie Stingers, was winning gold with 1.2 seconds on the clock at Sydney in 2000 which was also the year the sport was first open to women. So far the men’s team, the Aussie Sharks, haven’t won a medal, coming fifth in both 1984 and 1992.

Water polo competition starts with the men’s preliminary round (Group A) on Sunday 29 July at 10.00am London time. The Aussies’ first appearance is at 2.10pm when the guys take on Italy.

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