Three Cheers for Coffs Coast Olympians
The Games of the XXXII Olympiad have begun! 472 Australian athletes are competing in Tokyo 2020 across all 33 events. We’re cheering extra loud for two athletes who hail from the Coffs Coast.
The Coffs Coast and beyond was recently abuzz with the news that famous local Russell Crowe is creating a $400 million movie studio at Pacific Bay Resort. One of his partners in this exciting venture is the owner of Pacific Bay Resort, Bonville Golf Resort and Jonah’s in Sydney, Peter Montgomery.
But Montgomery has other claims to fame, having represented Australia in water polo at the Olympic Games from 1972 to 1984. Since then, he has remained heavily involved in the sport, and the Olympic movement as an official, serving as Vice President of the Australian Olympic Committee from 2001 to 2016.
Over 11,000 athletes worldwide are currently preparing to compete at the Tokyo Olympics, (referred to as the 2020 Olympics, after being postponed due to COVID-19) which will run from July 23 to August 7 this year. Australia is sending our second largest team in history, which includes the greatest number of women (254) and the highest number of Indigenous athletes (16).
Two members of the current team used to call Coffs Harbour home:
Maddy Gough – Swimming
Maddy was born and bred in Coffs and qualified for her first Australian team in 2018. At the 2021 Australian Swimming Trials Gough set the Australian record for the 1500m freestyle allowing her to make her debut Olympic appearance in Tokyo.
Lachlan Miller – Men’s Rugby Sevens
Lachlan called Sawtell home and attended John Paul College before playing for Southern Cross University’s rugby club. He’s already had a big year, welcoming his first son into the world just last month, before heading to Darwin to the Olympic training camp just a week later. In the Vancouver leg of the 2019/20 World Series, Miller scored against Scotland, Samoa, Canada and had a hat-trick against the USA in a 29-7 win.
Other Coffs Coast locals who have represented Australia at past Olympics include:
Liz Cambage – Basketball – Bronze 2012
Liz arrived here from London at the age of three and attended Bishop Druitt College until moving away when she was 10. Cambage was also on the 2016 team and holds the Women’s National Basketball Association’s single game scoring record (53 points against New York Liberty in 2018).
There is still speculation that Cambage’s one handed dunk in Australia’s 70–66 victory over Russia in 2012 was the first successful dunk by a female athlete during the Olympic Games.
Nat Titcume – Softball – Bronze 2000, Silver 2004, Bronze 2008
In 2020 Bishop Druitt College was lucky enough to gain Titcume as their Head of High Performance and Athlete Development, so her days are now filled with mentoring high school students.
Titcume has 352 career caps for Australia in softball – 36 of those at the Olympic level – and captained the Australian team between 2004 and 2007. She also played professionally in Japan between 2006 and 2009.
Alex Croak – Gymnastics 2000, Diving 2008
Growing up in Coffs, Croak started gymnastics aged four and won gold in the team event and silver on the beam at the 2002 Commonwealth Games. Switching to diving, she won a silver medal at the 2006 Commonwealth Games, becoming the first Australian woman to compete at consecutive Commonwealth Games in different sports. She reached the semi-final of the 10m platform diving at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, and then in 2010 won the 10m synchronised platform with Melissa Wu, making her the first Australian woman to win gold in two different Commonwealth Games sports.
Emma Moffatt – Triathlon – Bronze 2008
Raised in Woolgoolga, Moffatt was involved in cross country, athletics and surf-lifesaving as a youngster. With both her parents and all three siblings competing in triathlon, “Moffy” joined them in her early teens. She made Australian Olympic history by becoming the first triathlete to compete at three Olympic Games (2008, 2012 & 2016) and this year has been inducted into the Triathlon Australia Hall of Fame.
Marjorie Jackson – Athletics – Gold 1952
Born in Coffs Harbour but raised in Lithgow (leading to her nickname “the Lithgow Flash”) Marjorie Jackson-Nelson, as she is now known, won the 100 m in a then world-record-equalling time of 11.5, and the 200 m. These were the first Olympic athletics track titles for Australia since 1896.
Jackson-Nelson was one of the flag-bearers at the opening ceremony of the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, and held the post of Governor of South Australia from 2001 to 2007.
Catch the excitement of this year’s Olympic Games on the big screen on level 1 of Coffs Central.