The Northern Territory news Sat 31 Jul 2021
The Northern Territory news; NewspaperNT
Community newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin.; Australian newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin.
News Corp Australia
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News Corp Australia
SATURDAY JULY 31 2021 LIFESTYLE 29 V1 - NTNE01Z01MA 05 Dear Cate, your spirit is worth more than any Olympic gold CATE Campbell received so many hateful messages and criticism in the first few days after she bombed out at the 2016 Rio Olympics that she mistakenly thought she had let the whole of Australia down. She hadnt, but the vicious online trolls had tricked her into believing she owed everyone an apology, so she went on national television to say sorry for what she described as the greatest choke in Olympic history. She was wrong about that too, it wasnt anything of the sort. But it was only in the weeks and months and years that followed that Campbell began to understand how many Australians shared her heartbreak that night on the Rio pool deck. She received a sackful of letters from people of all ages, from all over the country, telling her how much they admired her. When she went to shops, strangers would approach her and encourage her to keep swimming when she was thinking about quitting. She felt the love and vowed to repay everyone who not only supported her but also changed her outlook on life and swimming. I am a person first and a swimmer second, she said. Sometimes that gets lost. Australia is bursting with pride at what Australias swimmers are doing in Tokyo right now and a lot of that is because of Campbell, the soul of the team. If Campbell never wins the individual Olympic gold medal that has eluded her during her career, it doesnt matter because shes achieved something greater. Of all the medals she has won on the international stage, few are as precious as the bronze she collected in the 100m freestyle final, won by Emma McKeon. It wasnt colour that mattered. It was what it represented: the Aussie spirit of never giving up, no matter how bad things look. Now 29, its unknown whether Campbell will keep swimming after Tokyo, but if this is her last Olympics she can rest assured she never let Australia down. And she certainly never owed anyone an apology. CATES BRONZE OVATION said. It honestly means the world to me. Its been a really long journey to get here. And Im incredibly proud of that performance. She was quick to congratulate McKeon in the lane next to her. Im so happy for Emma, she said during interviews. Seeing her get up, and Im so glad that theres going to be an Australian national anthem echoing through this stadium. And Im so glad that I get to be on the podium and share that moment with her. She is one of the toughest competitors and trainers I have encountered. She deserves everything that has come her way. When Campbell touched the wall in third, at that same moment, all the lingering doubts and anxieties and the what ifs that have burdened her for the past five years just vanished, forever. As hard as she had tried to convince herself and everyone else, Campbell had never quite gotten over what happened in Rio. She went into the Games as the red-hot favourite and clearly fastest on paper, but didnt win a medal in either of her two individual events. And then she played out her disappointment in a series of interviews, even at one point offering an apology to Australia for letting everyone down. But she left Rio and after some soul searching, set about putting together plan to land on the dais in Tokyo. She provided a rare and deeply personal insight into all the tricks and methods she uses to stop herself from thinking about Rio each time she steps back on the blocks. But she knows the fears are real and always trying to find a way back into her mind, especially during major meets. It takes a lot of discipline to keep those nagging doubts at bay, she said, matter-of-factly. Where you are in a position where you have had a bad experience and you wilfully put yourself in that position again. Understandably your body is saying what are you doing to me? I guess I have done a lot of work in the past five years. A lot of processing. She said: There were under standably quite a few demons knocking on my door this morning, but I held them all at bay. I performed when it counted and I get to stand on an Olympic podium. One of the tricks she uses to remain calm is listening to her favourite music on her headphones. Her playlist includes Lady Powers by Vera Blue, a Slumberjack Remix, as well as rap and heavy metal but for Tokyo she added a tune from another Aussie icon, Helen Reddy. In terms of how I kept the demons at bay, I have had I Am Woman on repeat in my head, she said. The lyrics are perfect coming into this meet. At 29 and already competing at her fourth Olympics, no-one knows, including Campbell herself, whether she will stick around for the next edition in Paris in 2024. Despite the 12-month delay and the obvious problems with organising an Olympics in the middle of a global pandemic, Tokyo has already been close to perfect for Campbell. She was chosen to carry the Australian flag at the opening ceremony, the first female to do so. Although many before her opted not to take up the offer because it is too close to their events, Cate knew how much it would mean. And then in the week since then, she has won a third straight Olympic gold in the 4x100m freestyle relay and now a second individual bronze to go with the one she won in the 50m freestyle at Beijing in 2008 and she has the 50m freestyle and medley relays to come. It honestly means the world to me. Its been a really long journey to get here Cate Campbell J U L I A N L I N D E N I N T O K Y O Emma McKeon (left) and her Dolphins teammate Cate Campbell on the podium during the medal ceremony for the womens 100m freestyle. Picture: Tom Pennington/ Getty Images Cate Campbell congratulates Emma McKeon (left), who won gold in the 100m freestyle final, setting an Olympic record in Tokyo. Picture: Getty Images HEADING into Tokyo, newly minted gold medallist Lucy Stephan had two goals: to win an Olympic gold medal rowing in the womens coxless four and to not get arrested. Stephan, 30, was one of the nine athletes detained by police in the ticket-gate saga of the Rio Olympics. The messy saga involved putting stickers on accreditation placards, giving them access to the Australian basketball teams semi-final against Serbia. Its an Olympic tradition for athletes not only the Australians to put a sticker on their accreditation with another venue code on it. After spending the night in jail and negotiating a fine ($4092 each) in lieu of a jail term, the Aussies were released and sent home on a charter flight. The incident traumatised Stephan, a self-confessed country girl from Nhill, a western Victorian town of just over 2000. At the time and not to throw anyone under the bus its always been a thing to go and see as many events as you can, she said. Youre at the Olympics, youre an athlete and you want to see other athletes compete. I think it got to the point in Rio where they said no, enough is enough and I made a mistake. I shouldnt have been there. It was tricky. As soon as it hap pened the IOC said, Its our event, we dont want them arrested. But it was out of their hands by then. I joke when I say theres no way in hell I would go and see another event without accreditation. Or I will just spend the Games watching on TV I dont want to go to jail again. This Olympics hasnt been an opportunity but it did leave me traumatised. Rio was my first Olympics and it was tough. And I guess Ive found my fairytale finish with three really good mates. Australias rowing team flies out on charter flight Saturday night and will quarantine in Howard Springs. Stephan stays out of hot water long enough to savour her Games triumph SELINA STEELE IN TOKYO