28.05.2008 – By Graham Croker and Nick Bailey
Sydney University diver and Sports Scholarship holder Alex Croak today became one of a select few to represent Australia in two different sports when she was named in a nine-member Australian diving team for the Beijing Olympic Games in August.
Croak was on the verge of making history when she finished second in the 10m platform category at the recent Australian Olympic Selection Trials in Hobart. She scored 78.20 in her final dive of the event to finish second behind Melissa Wu and all but book her place in the Australian diving team for Beijing.
The nine-strong team announced today already has eight Olympic medals and many titles to their names.
The women’s team includes: Alexandra Croak: 10m Platform Individual, Chantelle Newbery: 3m Springboard Individual, Sharleen Stratton: 3m Springboard Individual, 3m Springboard Synchronised, Briony Cole: 3m Springboard, 10m Platform Synchronised, Melissa Wu: 10m Platform Individual, 10m Platform Synchronised.
The men’s team includes: Mathew Helm: 10m Platform Individual, 10m Platform Synchronised, Matthew Mitcham: 3m Springboard Individual, 10m Platform Individual, Robert Newbery: 3m Springboard Individual, 3m Springboard Synchronised, 10 Platform Synchronised and Scott Robertson: 3m Springboard Synchronised.
Croak, 23, will become the 13th Australian athlete to compete in two different sports when she takes off from the 10m platform at Beijing.
She competed in gymnastics at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games and won an all-round gymnastics team gold medal and individual vault silver medal at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester.
“I will be solely focusing on Beijing now,” she said. “If I can do a personal best performance, then a medal isn’t out of sight. I am just going to concentrate on one dive at a time and let the results take care of themselves.”
Croak retired from competitive sport altogether after the Manchester Games, but the urge for competition came back in 2005 and she wrote to renowned NSWIS diving coach Chava Sobrino, to ask him to take her on as a “mature age” diving student.
He accepted the offer and the partnership quickly reaped rewards when she won silver at the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games in the synchronised 10m platform event with a then 13-year-old Wu.
Croak becomes first Australian to compete in two different disciplines since Nova Peris achieved the feat by winning gold with the Hockeyroos in Atlanta in 1996 and representing Australia in athletics in 2000.