Veteran Jacob Whetton Aims for Gold in Third Olympic Appearance

Jacob “Whetty” Whetton, a stalwart of Australian men’s hockey, is set to make his third Olympic appearance at the Paris 2024 Games. At 33, Whetton brings a wealth of experience to the Kookaburras, having amassed over 200 caps for the national team since his debut in 2011.

Whetton’s Olympic journey began in Rio 2016, where he made his debut on the world’s biggest sporting stage. However, it was in Tokyo 2020 where he tasted his first Olympic success, securing a silver medal after a nail-biting penalty shootout loss to Belgium in the gold medal match.

Photo Credit: Australian Olympic Committee

Known for his trademark zinc cream – a nod to late Australian cricket star Andrew Symonds – Whetton has been a consistent force in the Kookaburras’ recent successes. He played a crucial role in Australia’s gold medal victories at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and again in Birmingham 2022, where he scored twice in a dominant 7-0 win over India in the final.

Photo Credit: Australian Olympic Committee

Whetton’s path to Paris included strong performances in the 2023 Hockey World Cup and the Oceania Cup, where he helped secure Australia’s Olympic qualification. His recent domestic success with the Brisbane Blaze in the Hockey One league further cements his status as a key player for the national team.

Photo Credit: Australian Olympic Committee

As the Kookaburras aim to improve on their silver medal performance from Tokyo, Whetton’s experience and scoring ability will be crucial. The team, under the guidance of coach Colin Batch, will be looking to claim Australia’s first Olympic gold in men’s hockey since 2004.

Whetton’s journey from the Eastern Suburbs Tigers junior club to potentially being a three-time Olympian is a testament to his dedication and skill. As the Paris Games approach, all eyes will be on this veteran player to see if he can help lead the Kookaburras to Olympic glory.

Published 18-July-2024

Griffith University Swimming Champ Kaylee McKeown Eyes Gold at Paris 2024

Griffith University swimming champion Kaylee McKeown is poised to dominate the Paris 2024 Olympics, leveraging her world record-breaking prowess and extensive international experience.

Kaylee, who has been making waves in the swimming world, currently trains with the Griffith University swim group under the guidance of coach Michael Bohl.

Kaylee’s Journey in Swimming

At just 15 years old, Kaylee joined her older sister Taylor on the Dolphins swim team, becoming one of its youngest members. Inspired by her sister, who she considers a hero, Kaylee made her international debut in 2017 at the World Championships, finishing fourth in the 200m backstroke. Her strong performances continued at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, where she placed fourth in both the 100m and 200m backstroke events.

In 2018, she shone at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, securing gold in the 50m backstroke, silver in the 100m backstroke and 4x100m medley, and bronze in the 200m backstroke. Her success continued into 2019 when she won silver in both the women’s 200m backstroke and the women’s 4x100m medley relay at the World Championships.

The postponement of the Tokyo Olympics due to COVID-19 appeared to benefit Kaylee. In 2021, she broke national backstroke records in the 50m, 100m, and 200m events at the Sydney Open. She then set a world record in the 100m backstroke at the Australian trials for the Tokyo Games. Opting to focus on backstroke events at the Olympics, she won gold in the 100m and 200m backstroke, as well as in the women’s medley relay, and also claimed bronze in the mixed medley relay.

In 2022, she continued to excel, winning the 200m backstroke world title in Budapest and dominating at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, where she won four gold medals and six medals in total. She ended the year with a victory in the 200m backstroke at the World Short Course Championships in Melbourne. Her momentum carried into 2023, where she set a new world record in the 200m backstroke at the NSW Championships.

Kaylee’s Olympic Prospects

Online sportsbooks have recognised Kaylee McKeown’s potential for the upcoming Olympics, placing her as a favourite for the 200m backstroke. Despite the competitive field, including American Regan Smith, McKeown’s consistent performances and current world record position her as a strong contender.

Professional gamblers and swimming analysts suggest that while McKeown is the favourite, the race will be highly competitive. McKeown’s odds reflect her dominance in the sport, but the competition from athletes like Smith ensures that the event will be exciting to watch.

Griffith University’s Olympic Aspirations

Griffith University will be well-represented at the 2024 Paris Olympic and Paralympic Games with a team of 45 students, alumni, and team members. This includes debutants like sprinter Torrie Lewis and seasoned athletes such as Cameron McEvoy and Jessica Fox.

Duncan Free, Director of Sports Engagement at Griffith University and a former Olympian, expressed immense pride in the athletes. He highlighted the university’s tradition of nurturing champions and is optimistic about surpassing their best-ever medal haul from Tokyo.

The Paris 2024 Olympics, scheduled to take place from July 26 to August 11, 2024,  are set to showcase the world’s top athletes across a range of disciplines, with high expectations for thrilling performances and record-breaking achievements. The event, anticipated to be one of the most watched in history, will feature a significant presence from Griffith University, including top contenders like Kaylee McKeown.

Published 18-July-2024 

Kelsey-Lee Barber: QAS Javelin Star Sets Sights on Paris Olympics

Olympic bronze medallist and two-time world champion Kelsey-Lee Barber, who trains at the Queensland Academy of Sports (QAS) in Nathan,  is intensifying her preparation for the Paris 2024 Olympics, despite facing a recent injury challenge.

The 32-year-old javelin thrower has been working tirelessly behind the scenes, aiming to add to her impressive collection of medals. Barber, known for her clutch performances in major competitions, has consistently improved her results since her Olympic debut in Rio 2016.

Career Highlights

Barber’s journey in athletics began when she moved to Australia during the Sydney Olympics. She quickly rose through the ranks, winning her first international bronze medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Her career reached new heights in 2019 when she threw an impressive 67.70m in Luzern, placing her second in the world for the year. Later that year, she claimed the world title in Doha with a throw of 66.56m.

In 2022, Barber defended her world crown, becoming the first athlete ever to do so in javelin. She followed this up with a gold medal at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, completing her collection of medals from the event.

Recent Challenges

Despite her success, Barber has faced recent setbacks. At the 2023 World Championships in Budapest, she placed seventh in the final with a throw of 61.19m. Shortly after, she announced the end of her season due to a small calf tear.

The start of 2024 has also presented challenges, with Barber battling an elbow issue. She competed in two major domestic competitions, placing seventh in Melbourne and third at the Nationals.

Team Support

Barber attributes much of her success to her Nathan QAS support team. Her husband, Mike Barber, also serves as her coach, creating a unique dynamic in their professional and personal lives.

Kelsey-Lee Barber and Mike Barber
Photo Credit: Kelsey-Lee Barber/IG

Patrick Castelli, Barber’s strength and conditioning coach, emphasises the importance of their tight-knit team. He notes that managing Barber’s body and its response to training is one of their biggest challenges.

Barber remains focused on her goal of competing at the Paris 2024 Olympics. Her determination and history of performing under pressure make her a strong contender for adding to her Olympic medal tally.

As Barber continues her preparations, she aims for medals and values the relationships she’s built throughout her career. For her, these connections are an integral part of her sporting journey and will remain with her long after her competitive days are over.

Published 12-July-2024

Nathan Star Zac Stubblety-Cook Aims for Second Olympic Triumph at Paris 2024

At 25, Zac Stubblety-Cook from Nathan is poised to make another splash on the global stage as he prepares for his second Olympic appearance at the Paris 2024 Games.

Read: Meet Jeff Dunne, The Teen Sensation Competing for Breaking at the Paris Olympics

The champion swimmer, who trains under the guidance of coach Vince Raleigh, has already etched his name in swimming history as an Olympic, World, and Commonwealth champion.

Stubblety-Cook’s journey began humbly at the Water Ratz learn-to-swim program in Wellers Hill. Little did anyone know that those early strokes would lead to Olympic gold. His rise through the ranks was meteoric, making his Dolphins debut at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.

Photo credit: Zac Stubblety-Cook OAM/Instagram

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics marked Stubblety-Cook’s arrival as a swimming superstar. In a performance that echoed Ian O’Brien’s 1964 triumph, he clinched gold in the 200m breaststroke with an Olympic record time of 2:06.38. This victory was particularly sweet as it was Australia’s sole swimming gold in the men’s events at those Games. He didn’t stop there, adding a bronze medal in the debut of the mixed 4x100m medley relay.

Photo credit: Zac Stubblety-Cook OAM/Instagram

Stubblety-Cook was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in the 2022 Australia Day Honours for his service to sport as a gold medallist at the Tokyo Olympic Games 2020, further cementing his status as one of Australia’s swimming elite.

Now, with Paris 2024 on the horizon, Stubblety-Cook is leaving no stone unturned in his preparation. He secured his spot on the Australian team by winning the 200m breaststroke at the Olympic trials in Brisbane. This followed his double victory in the 100m and 200m breaststroke events at the 2024 Australian championships on the Gold Coast, demonstrating his excellent form leading into the Olympics.

Photo credit: Zac Stubblety-Cook OAM/Instagram

Training out of the Chandler Aquatic Centre, Stubblety-Cook balances his rigorous swimming schedule with academic pursuits. He’s currently working towards a double degree in psychological science and business at Griffith University, showcasing his commitment to personal growth both in and out of the pool.

Read: Mt Gravatt QSAC Eyes Metro Lifeline For 2032 Games Legacy

As the swimming world turns its eyes to Paris, Stubblety-Cook carries the hopes of a nation. With his track record of success and dedication to his craft, he’s not just aiming to participate – he’s gunning for gold. The next chapter in this remarkable swimmer’s story is about to unfold, and the world will be watching.

Published 8-July-2024

Meet Jeff Dunne, The Teen Sensation Competing for Breaking at the Paris Olympics

Jeff Dunne, a 16-year-old former resident of Mount Gravatt East, is set to represent Australia in breaking at the Paris Olympics.

Read: Olympians and Paralympians Challenge Venue Decision on QSAC in Mt Gravatt

This opportunity comes after Dunne’s stunning victory at the Oceania Breaking Championship held at the Sydney Town Hall last November, where he triumphed over 37 contenders from Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, Fiji, and Australia.

Born in Davao City, Philippines, Dunne was adopted by an Australian family as a baby. His journey in dance began early in life and took a significant turn when his family moved from Mount Gravatt East to Casuarina, just south of the Queensland border, when he was seven. 

Jeff Dunne
Photo credit:

Dunne’s passion for breaking ignited when he was just five years old, sneaking into breaking classes while his older sister attended hip hop lessons at a Brisbane dance studio. Initially content to watch from the corner, Dunne soon began showcasing his moves, demonstrating a natural talent for the art form.

Jeff Dune back in 2018 (Photo credit: Jeff Dune/Instagram)

Dunne began private lessons on the Gold Coast with renowned local b-boys Gaz Griffiths and Liam Masters, eventually joining their dance crew, Team Cream. Together, they participated in numerous dynamic and energetic battles.

In 2019, Dunne, competing as “J Attack” claimed his first Australian Youth Championship and has since accumulated titles worldwide, with victories in China, Taiwan, Singapore, Slovenia, Slovakia, Holland, and the US. 

Photo credit: Jeff Dune/Instagram

By 2022, he was ranked ninth globally and finished within the top 16 at the world under-18 championships. His achievements in breaking were further recognised in 2023 when he became the first breaker to receive a Sport Australia Hall of Fame scholarship.

Breaking at the Paris Olympics

Breaking, a dance style rooted in 1970s hip hop culture in the United States, is distinguished by its acrobatic movements, stylized footwork, and the integral roles of the DJ and master of ceremonies during battles. Known also as breakdancing, it will make its Olympic debut at Paris 2024.

Jeff Dunne
Photo credit:

The Olympics will feature two breaking events: one for men (B-boys) and one for women (B-girls). In these events, athletes will compete in dance battles, judged on creativity, personality, technique, variety, performativity, and musicality. Success in breaking demands a blend of dance moves from three basic categories: top rock, down rock, and freeze.

At Paris 2024, 16 B-boys and 16 B-girls will compete in solo battles. Athletes will combine power moves and improvisation to the beat of the DJ’s tracks, striving to win the judges’ votes.

Read: Upgrades Foreseen at the QSAC in Nathan for the 2032 Olympics

As Jeff Dunne steps onto the Olympic stage, he brings with him not only his exceptional talent but also the dreams and support of a community that has watched him grow from a young boy sneaking into dance classes to a world-class athlete representing his country on the biggest stage in sports.

Published 19-June-2024