In all the angsting about Australia’s medal count, it was salutary to witness the reactions of some of our young female athletes to their achievements on the track: specifically Ella Nelson and our 4 X 400 metres relay team.
Ella, who ran the fastest 200 metres by an Australian earlier this year, posted another personal best when she ran third in her semi-final at the Olympics in a time of 22.50. She was genuinely elated by her performance and was optimistic about the future – and rightly so!
Our 400 metre relay team of Jess Thornton, 18, Anneliese Rubie, 24, Caitlin Sargent-Jones, 24, and Morgan Mitchell, 21, were equally excited by their run in their heat in a time of 3:25.71 which saw them scrape into the final. As they were being interviewed after their heat, they saw that they had made it to the final and anyone viewing them would have shared in the moment.
While their finals run was two seconds slower (in fact, had they run as fast in the final they would have score a bronze medal) they too are an exciting prospect for the future. They were our first team to run in a final for 16 years.
Maybe our athletes are more realistic than some sections of our media and realise that running personal best times at an Olympics augurs well for their futures on the track. Maybe we can learn to appreciate their steps along the way and share in later successes, rather than overloading them with the pressure of a whole nation for medals.