As the sun sets on an unforgettable few weeks in Tokyo, Australia can look fondly back on one of its most successful Olympic campaigns in history. A campaign that featured 152 Commonwealth Games Australia alumni team members have had their Tokyo moment, 41 leave Japan as Olympic medallists.
In a Games truly like no other, the Australian Olympic Team served up one of its greatest performances ever, winning a record-equalling 17 gold medals and 46 medals in total.
Key to Australia’s success was the 41 Commonwealth Games Australia Alumni who contributed to the final medal tally.
Of the 46 medals gathered in Tokyo, 28 were won by Commonwealth Games Australia alumni. Of those 28, nine were gold, six were silver and 13 were bronze.
The medal haul by those who have donned the green and gold at the Commonwealth Games is all the more impressive by the fact that they made up just over 30% of the entire Olympic Team.
The scene was set on the first morning of the swimming finals when the women’s 4x100m freestyle relay was won by Australia in World Record time.
The team of Cate and Bronte Campbell, Meg Harris and McKeon touched the wall first some three seconds ahead of silver medallists Canada. The win made it a three-peat for Australia in the 4x100m freestyle relay, with our golden run dating back to the London 2012 Games.
The relay gold was the start of a record-breaking campaign for McKeon who finished the Games as Australia’s most decorated Olympian.
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Australia would only go from strength to strength at the Tokyo Aquatic Centre, with Titmus stealing the headlines as she announced herself as one of the world’s best swimmers.
The three-time Gold Coast 2018 gold medalist kickstarted her Olympic debut by defeating the great Katie Ledecky in the women’s 400m freestyle final.
The Aussie flew home to break the Oceanic record with a personal best time of 3:56:69, falling just 0.23 seconds short of Ledecky’s world record of 3:56:46.
The moment was made all the more memorable due to the wild celebrations of Titmus’ coach Dean Boxall.
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That was only the beginning Titmus went on to claim another gold in the women’s 200m freestyle.
In doing so, she became just the third person in Australian history behind Shane Gould and Ian Thorpe to win the 200m and 400m at a single Olympics.
Titmus went on to add a silver in the 800m freestyle and a bronze in the women’s 4x200m freestyle relay.
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Another Olympic debutant to have made the successful leap from Commonwealth Games to Olympic Games was McKeown.
The 20-year-old won Australia’s third gold medal of the games and the nation’s first-ever gold in the women’s backstroke when she took out the 100m backstroke final.
It marked an incredible journey for the swimmer who made her major multi-sport event debut at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Her Olympic record-breaking swim in Tokyo was 2.61 seconds quicker than the time that granted her fourth place at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
McKeown then went on to do the double, claiming gold in the women’s 200m backstroke final.
The Queenslander capped off an outstanding Olympics with a third gold medal in the women’s 4x100m medley relay.
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A relatively unknown entity heading into the Games, he walks away as a gold medallist and Olympic Record holder for the men’s 200m breaststroke.
The 22-year-old has grown enormously since debuting at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.
The breaststroker failed to make it out of the heats at the 2018 Games but, after lots of hard work and dedication, he can now call himself an Olympic champion.
Following his triumph in the 200m breaststroke final, Stubblety-Cook went on to be a key contributor in the mixed 4x100m medley relay bronze medal winning team.
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The best story of the Games came on a day where the Australian Olympic Team won a record four medals across the board.
On the final day of the swimming roster, Emma McKeon cemented herself as the most decorated Olympian in Australian history by adding two gold medals to her tally of five.
Heading into the final day, McKeon already had two gold and three bronze medals in her possession.
The 12-time Commonwealth Games medallist became an 11-time Olympic medalist after winning gold in the women’s 50m freestyle and another gold in the women’s 4x100m medley relay.
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The four time-Commonwealth Games medallist secured her second career Olympic medal after claiming bronze in the women’s 10-metre platform diving final.
After claiming silver at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games in the synchronised 10m platform, it’s Wu’s first individual Olympic medal.
Her last attempt at Tokyo secured her best score of the final — an 81.60 — which delivered her the bronze she is so deserving of, finishing behind Chinese pair Hongchan Quan and Yuxi Chen.
Australia’s success at Tokyo wasn’t just limited to the pool, with great results from our men’s hockey and basketball squads a highlight.
The Kookaburras fell agonisingly short of a gold medal after losing out to Belgium in the men’s hockey final.
It wasn’t the result that the Gold Coast 2018 gold medallists were after, but the men’s national side should be incredibly proud after playing a wonderful tournament.
Australia finally secured that elusive Olympic men’s basketball medal that has avoided them so often – finishing fourth on four occasions.
The Boomers defeated Slovenia 107-93 in the bronze medal playoff match and were led by the outstanding Patty Mills and Joe Ingles who were ably supported by CGA Alumni Chris Goulding, Nick Kay and Nathan Sobey.
They became the first Australian pair to feature on the podium in 21 years of Olympic competition.
Another long stint off of the podium was ended by boxer Harry Garside who finished with a bronze medal. He became the first Australian to win an Olympic boxing medal in 33 years, ending a long drought.
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There was also plenty of good performances to come out of the track and field events at Tokyo that should fill the athletes with confidence heading into the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
The performances of Ashley Moloney (bronze in the men’s decathlon) and Peter Bol (fourth in the men’s 800m) must also be noted.
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Australia’s Tokyo 2020 campaign ended with 17 gold medals, 7 silver and 22 bronze for 46 in total – finishing in sixth position on the overall table.
After such a successful Olympics, Australia will be spurred on to reach similar heights when the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games come around.