The youngest Australian Athletes competing at Tokyo 2020
When we think of professional athletes headed to the Olympics in 2020, what do we think of? Seasoned, well-equipped professionals with years of experience and athletic prowess?
While all the Australian Olympians are more than prepared and equipped to take the world’s stage in Tokyo next year, some have fewer years of experience than others. In fact, some are barely old enough to drive. Yes, they’ve devoted their lives to their sport and they really are that good, but they’re also pretty young. In fact, some are kids, which makes their status as Olympians even more impressive.
Here are five young athletes to watch in the next years Tokyo Olympics.
1. Cassiel Rousseau
Cassiel Rousseau is only 18, but he’s set to represent Australia in diving, competing in the men’s 10-metre platform. A former acrobatic gymnast, he switched to diving in 2017 and in 2018 won the junior nationals 3m springboard competition. Athleticism runs in the Rousseau family — Rousseau’s grandfather was French cyclist Michael Rousseau, a 1956 Olympic gold medalist, winning in track cycling.
2. Zoe Thomson
Not much older at age 19, Zoe Thomson represents Australia in her first Olympic campaign, in Tokyo. A sailor living in Western Australia, she’s competing in Women’s Laser Radial. She is the current Laser Radial Youth World Champion and WA Youth Sailor of the Year. She’s been sailing since age 8.
3. Penny Smith
Penny Smith has qualified to represent Australia in Women’s Trap Shooting. Smith is 24 and lives in Bookar, country Victoria. When she’s not shooting, she’s an aquatic team leader by trade and she also enjoys horse riding. Some of her career highlights include taking first place in the World Cup in India, New Delhi in 2017 and taking top spots at the 2016 World Cup in Jan Marina, 2013 Qatar Open 68/75 and 2013 Spain World Cup 68/75.
4. Matt Wearn
Matt Wearn, also 24, grew up in Perth, where he began sailing at age 6. He’s been a member of the Australian Sailing Team since 2014 and his home club is the Royal Perth Yacht Club, Fremantle SC. He chose sailing over a potential career in Australian Rules football and was the first Australian since Tom Slingsby in 2008 to win the Laser Euros.
5. Maddison Keeney
At age 23, Maddison Keeney is a female diver set to represent Australia in the women’s 3-metre springboard competition. This won’t be her first time competing in the Olympic Games. She won a bronze medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. She’s also snagged gold medals at the 2017 and 2019 World Aquatics Championships and silver medals at the 2014 and 2018 Commonwealth Games.