2016 ‘Blue & Gold’ Pre-Olympic Games Dinner

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On Wednesday the 4th of May, the ‘Blue & Gold’ Pre-Olympic Games Dinner took place, with pre-dinner drinks in the Main Quadrangle and dinner in The Great Hall.

At the outset, the following 31 Olympians were acknowledged by enthusiastic dinner guests, who included many other aspiring Sydney Uni Olympians hoping to be selected for the Rio de Janeiro Games in the weeks ahead.

Rob Bell 2000/04/08 Canoeing
Milly Clark 2016 Athletics
Joshua Clarke 2016 Athletics
Lavinia Chrystal 2014 Alpine Skiing
Cheryl Collins (née Peasley) 1972 Athletics
Sarah Cook 2008/12 Rowing
Bronwen Downie (née Watson) 2012 Rowing
Kyeema Doyle 2004 Rowing
Matt Dunn 1992/96/00 Swimming
Peter Farmer 1976/80 Athletics
Ed Fernon 2012 Modern Pentathlon
Trent Franklin 2004/08 Water Polo
Chris Fydler 1992/96/00 Swimming
Rose Fydler (née Brown) 1980 Swimming
Natalie Galea 1996 Judo
Jinnie Gavin (née Wadhawan) 1972 Diving (for India)
Peter Hadfield 1980/84 Athletics
Chris Harrison 1998 Water Polo
Colin Hamilton 1992 Modern Pentathlon
John Hayres 1956 Swimming
Lauren Hewitt 1996/00/04 Athletics
David Hynes 1996 Baseball
Michelle Jenneke 2016 Athletics
Andrew Kiely 1988 Modern Pentathlon
Doug Maclennan 1964 Gymnastics
Peter Montgomery 1972/76/80/84 Water Polo
Lachlan Renshaw 2008 Athletics
Anneliese Rubie 2016 Athletics
Lionel Robberds 1960 Rowing
Justin Rowsell 1992 Boxing
Thomas Whalan 2000/04/08/12 Water Polo

Chris Fydler, Sydney Uni’s gold medal-winning Sydney 2000 Olympian, addressed the dinner in his capacity as Deputy Chef de Mission of the Australian team for Rio de Janeiro. He provided fascinating insights into the venues for the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games, as well as the accommodation for athletes in Rio. Chris was very buoyant about construction being finished in time for the Games. He was also very positive about Australia’s likely overall performance, especially our medal chances in the pool and in team events.

Just prior to the main course being served, our dinner guests enjoyed a video produced by the SUSF marketing team, featuring players from Sydney Uni Women’s Water Polo National League champions. Five of the sixteen players in the Olympic squad (which will ultimately become a team of fourteen players) are Sydney Uni aspiring 2016 Olympians.

Adam Spencer moderated a thoroughly entertaining panel of past Sydney Uni Olympians. Peter Farmer, a jovial hammer thrower from the 1976 Montreal and 1980 Moscow Olympics, was flanked by two extremely personable rowers in Kyeema Doyle from the 2004 Athens Games and Sarah Cook from both the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Olympics. All three athletes captivated the audience with really insightful accounts of their personal Olympic experiences.

There was a very generous response to the Olympic-themed live auction, as indeed there was to both the raffle and silent auction items. Special thanks in this regard to the Urbanest table and also Bruce and Annie Corlett.

The final entertainment segment was Adam Spencer’s panel of aspiring 2016 Sydney Uni Olympians. That panel included Michelle Jenneke – the “dancing hurdler” – and Joshua Clarke – Australia’s answer to Usain Bolt – both of whom had already gained a place in the Australian team for Rio. The third panel member was Chloe Dalton, our brilliant exponent of Women’s Rubgy 7s, who has high hopes of joining Shelly and Josh in Brazil come August.

The bubbly personalities of the girls made for a great combination with the dry sense of humour of Australia’s fastest man. Shelly maintained that her logical goal would be to make the final of the women’s 100m hurdles. Josh will aim for a personal best performance and a wealth of experience towards his future career. Given that Australia has the N°1 ranked team in the Women’s Rugby 7s, Chloe’s goal is very definitely a podium finish!

At the conclusion of the dinner, everyone was in the Olympic spirit. We will all take great interest in the Olympic campaigns of Shelly, Josh and hopefully Chloe, but also the performances of the many other Sydney Uni Olympians and Paralympians in Rio de Janeiro.

Everyone was exhorted to enter the ‘Blue & Gold’ Olympic Celebration Luncheon in their diaries. It will be held on Friday 16th September at The Ivy Ballroom, 320 George Street (opposite Wynyard station). All of Sydney Uni’s returning Olympians will be there and hopefully some of them will be wearing new bling!

In the interim, we will keep you posted with selections of Sydney Uni athletes as they come to hand. The current ‘state of the nation’ is as follows (as at 13/05/16):

Olympic Athletes 

Amelia (Milly) Clark Athletics Women’s Marathon
Joshua Clarke Athletics Men’s 100m Sprint
Madeline Hills Athletics Women’s 3000m Steeplechase
Michelle (Shelly) Jenneke Athletics Women’s 100m Hurdles
Ella Nelson Athletics Women’s 200m Sprint
Brendon Reading Athletics Men’s 50k Walk
Anneliese (Annie) Rubie Athletics Women’s 400m & 4 x 400m Relay
Jessica Fox Canoe/Kayak Women’s Single K1 Canoe Slalom
Murray Stewart Canoe/Kayak Men’s K4 1000m Kayak
Jaime Ryan Sailing Women’s 470 Class
Will Ryan Sailing Men’s 470 Class

Olympic Officials

John Boultbee  Volleyball Team Leader (Indoor & Beach)
Chris Fydler OAM Australian Team Deputy Chef de Mission, Information Services
Mark Prater Rowing Coach

Paralympic Athletes 

Angela (Angie) Ballard Athletics T53 Wheelchair Sprint Events
Prue Watt OAM Swimming S13/SB13/SM13 Events

A Sydney Uni Olympian is defined as either a Sydney University graduate who has competed for Australia at the Olympic Games or a current Sydney University student or club member who gained their Australian Olympic selection while representing Sydney Uni at their respective sport. 

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