Queensland pole vaulter Alana Boyd will create Australian Olympic history when she lines up in Beijing, becoming the first Australian to join with both parents as Olympians.
Boyd achieved automatic nomination by winning her first Australian title in the pole vault at the 86th Australian Athletics championships and Olympic selection trials at the Queensland Sports and Athletics Centre in Brisbane last night.
Boyd’s mother Denise (nee Robertson) and father Ray both competed for Australia in Olympic competition. Denise reached the final of the 200m in Moscow in 1980, finishing 7th, after making her first Olympic team in Montreal in 1976. Boyd had a strong competitive rivalry with dual Olympic silver medallist Raelene Boyle and won 11 Australian titles over 100m, 200m and 400m and held the Australian 200m record of 22.32 until it was broken by Cathy Freeman in 1994.
Father Ray, who doubles as Alana’s coach, competed in the 1972 and 1976 editions of the Games in the pole vault and won the 1982 Commonwealth Games in Brisbane. He was Australian champion on 12 occasions in the pole vault.
It is the first time in any Olympic sport that an Australian combination of mother, father and either son or daughter has achieved the coveted title of Olympian.
“Having mum and dad’s experience of competing at the highest level and them knowing what exactly it takes to get there, has helped me and my brother and sister immensely,” explained the 23-year-old newly crowned national champion.
“Mum and dad have never put any pressure on any of us. We were never pushed into athletics and I was the one who at 12-years-old said I wanted to start little athletics. I just developed a love for it like mum and dad have.”
Of course parents burst with pride at the success of their offspring, but the feeling for father Ray is even more meaningful given his dual role.
“If it was just somebody I coached going to the Olympics it would be ok, but when its your daughter its very good, It’s very fulfilling,“ explained the proud father and coach.
“I think she’s got one of the best techniques in the world. Now we’ll go back into training without any pressure of trying to get an A-qualifier. If she can get into the final in Beijing, I think anything can happen.”
In Australia’s celebrated Olympic history there have been many Olympic dynasties, including three generations of Jenny Donnet’s family in diving and the Roycrofts in equestrian competition, but never a mother/father/daughter (or son) combination.
Boyd was one of six athletes to achieve automatic nomination during the three day titles, bringing to 14 athletes whose names have been inked on the team sheet for the August Games.
400m and 800m Australian champion Tamsyn Lewis and pole vaulter Steve Hooker have both achieved automatic Olympic nomination and both have family connections to the Olympics. Tamsyn’s father Greg ran the 100m in Mexico in 1968 and Steve’s mother Erica competed in the long jump in 1972.
It is anticipated that Athletics Australia selectors will add additional names from those who have achieved the Olympic qualifying standards, when they announce the next round of selections early next week.
Luke Adams (20km walk)
Nathan Deakes (50km walk)
Steve Hooker (pole vault)
Craig Mottram (5000m)
Jana Rawlinson (400m hurdles)
Adam Rutter (50km walk)
Jared Tallent (20km and 50km walks)
Kellie Wapshott (20km walk)
Automatic nomination after achieving two A-qualifiers and victory at the Selection Trials
Jarrod Bannister (javelin)
Alana Boyd (pole vault
Tamsyn Lewis (400m and 800m)
Donna MacFarlane (3000m steeplechase)
Dani Samuels (discus)
Kylie Wheeler (heptathlon)
Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com
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