News

Twenty-one Sydney athletes bound for Beijing



25 July 2008

Alex Croak will represent Australia in the 10-metre-platform diving competition. At the 2000 Olympics in Sydney she performed in the gymnastics team, and is one of a handful of athletes to have competed at Olympic level in two sports.
Alex Croak will represent Australia in the 10-metre-platform diving competition. At the 2000 Olympics in Sydney she performed in the gymnastics team, and is one of a handful of athletes to have competed at Olympic level in two sports.

Twenty-one Sydney University athletes are trying to settle their nerves and avoid last-minute injuries as they get ready to compete in next month's Olympic Games.

With less than two weeks to go to the opening ceremony in Beijing on August 8, the University's line-up has been finalised with the selection of four members of the men's water polo team, and Sarah Stewart for the women's wheelchair basketball team.

The squad of 21 athletes is the University's biggest-ever representation at an Olympics, one more than in 2000. All but one will wear the green and gold of Australia - the odd man out is swimmer Carl Probert who represents Fiji. While the athletes command most of the attention, a large supporting cast of University staff and students are involved in Olympic-related events.

Allan Snyder, director of the Centre for the Mind, is in Beijing making final preparations for the "What Makes a Champion?" conference on August 4 and 5. The conference builds on the success of the event held at Sydney University in 2000, attended by Nelson Mandela.

Professor Snyder has again assembled a distinguished roll call of delegates. Among those who have indicated they will be attending are Henry Kissinger, Sebastian Coe, Cathy Freeman, Jackie Chan and Kevin Gosper.

Professor Snyder said one of the themes of the conference would be to examine how the different cultures of east and west influence our perception and realisation of champion status.

"I think the Olympics is the quintessential platform for the investigation of achievement, not just in sport," he said.

Leo Jeffcott, the Dean of Veterinary Science, flies to Hong Kong today (July 25) in his role as veterinarian to the equestrian events. Officiating at his sixth Olympics, Professor Jeffcott has been busy trying to ensure the horses can cope with the heat and humidity of Hong Kong.

Accompanying him are 14 final year veterinary science students and graduates from Sydney. Six of these will help with the quarantine process for the 230 horses flying in from around the world, and eight will work at the clinic dealing with medical and surgical problems.

"It's the chance of a lifetime for them," Professor Jeffcott said. "They will be working with a truly international team and some of the best horse vets in the world."

The University will be represented by half a dozen officials and administrators, including Dr Donna O'Connor, women's basketball trainer, and wrestling coach Leonid Zaslavsky.

Meanwhile 11 musicians from the Conservatorium of Music, including the Dean, Professor Kim Walker (bassoon), performed concerts in Beijing this week as part of a pre-Olympic Musicathlon at the Beijing Central Conservatory. The Con was one of only nine international institutions invited to take part.

The Conservatorium team performed over two days, playing a range of classical and contemporary pieces including music linking the harpsichord (played by Neal Peres Da Costa) and the didgeridoo (William Barton).

Visit the athletes' home page.

Contact: Andrew Potter

Phone: 02 9351 4514 or 0414 998 521

Email: 506c4115274d3244710c3e12301d2a2d1d792a01