The sporting events in which Australia could claim the trifecta

The sporting events in which Australia could claim the trifecta

McKeon – known as Australia’s “Superfish” – is the most decorated athlete on the Commonwealth team.

In 2018, McKeon won Commonwealth gold in the 100m butterfly, the 4x100m medley, and the 4×100 and 4x200m freestyle double, but she announced herself at the Tokyo Olympics by winning gold in the 50m and 100m freestyle.

Gold medalist Mollie O’Callaghan of Australia celebrates her victory after the women’s 100m freestyle final at the 2019 FINA championships.Credit:AP

While the road for Jack was relatively rocky, her return to the pool was music to the Australian team’s ears as she recorded a personal best and a silver medal-winning time of 52.60 seconds in the event at this year’s Australian trials.

Jack was banned for four years after testing positive to the banned selective androgen receptor modulator Ligandrol in 2019 before the world championships in South Korea. The ban was overturned in 2021, allowing her time to get back in the water before Birmingham.

Rounding out the trifecta is O’Callaghan, who won gold at the world swimming championships this year after a burst in the dying stages. Not only did she win big, she also swam the fastest second half of a 100m freestyle race ever recorded (26.43 seconds). She was last at the turn.

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The 18-year-old Queenslander’s personal best is 52.67 seconds.

Men’s 400-meter freestyle

After struggling at the Tokyo Olympics, 23-year-old Elijah Winnington took a break from the pool to build up his mental and physical strength for the world championships this year. I have smashed the trials in the 400m freestyle, before winning gold at worlds. With a personal best time of 3:41.22, Winnington should flourish in Birmingham.

Rio Olympics gold medalist Mack Horton is also one to watch. He is one of only two Australian athletes to hold a full set of Commonwealth Games medals – three gold, two silver, and one bronze. Horton missed qualification for the 400m in Tokyo but is back now with a point to prove in his favorite race.

The other to keep an eye out for is Sam Short, who is making his Commonwealth Games debut. With an impressive entry time of 3:44.34 (faster than every other competitor except for his fellow Australians), he should make the podium.

Mack Horton won big at the 2016 Olympics and hopes for the same in Birmingham this year.

Mack Horton won big at the 2016 Olympics and hopes for the same in Birmingham this year.Credit:Getty Images

Women’s 50-meter butterfly

Australia’s butterfly star Holly Barratt should perform well at the Commonwealth Games, having secured a silver medal at the last Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.

McKeon is bound to impress in multiple events in Birmingham, including the butterfly. As well as her Commonwealth Games success, she also picked up bronze in the 100m butterfly at the Tokyo Olympics.

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Debutant Alexandria Perkins is also in the medal hunt. With an entry time of 26.18s, she’ll be neck-and-neck with Canada’s Katerine Savard (26.14) and Margaret MacNeil (25.13).

The pool is not the only place where Australia could win big. Long roads, tracks and squash courts could be scenes of celebration if athletes in the green and gold continue their winning streaks.

Road cycling (women)

Alexandra Manly returns for her second Games after winning gold in the women’s 4000m team pursuit in 2018. Though she has competed on the track in the past, she is now hitting the road.

Rising star Grace Brown will debut on her bike at the Commonwealth Games as one of the best female cyclists in Australia to date. She completed a wonderful ride for bronze at her third Tour of Flanders in 2021, as well as coming fifth at La Course. Her fourth place for her at the Olympics did not quite earn her a spot on the podium, but the 30-year-old will be champing at the bit for a medal in Birmingham.

Grace Brown has become one of Australia's best female cyclists.

Grace Brown has become one of Australia’s best female cyclists.Credit:AP

Sarah Roy just missed out on a medal at the previous Games on the Gold Coast, coming in fifth place in the women’s road race. She has since won the under-elite 104.4km women’s road race at the 2021 Federation University Road National Championships, which secured her selection for Australia’s only women’s WorldTour team.

Javelin throw (women)

The women’s javelin event could provide a welcome surprise.

A strong few years for Kelsey-Lee Barber has her well on her way to becoming one of the world’s javelin greats. The 30-year-old now has back-to-back world titles to her name de ella, as well as a bronze medal from the Tokyo Olympics.

Kelsey-Lee Barber with the prize after defending her world javelin title.

Kelsey-Lee Barber with the prize after defending her world javelin title.Credit:Getty Images

Meanwhile, Kathryn Mitchell will be defending her gold medal from the last Commonwealth Games. A veteran of the Games, Mitchell is well-placed to claim a medal as the seventh-longest javelin thrower in world history with a personal best throw of 68.92m.

There are also high hopes for Mackenzie Little. Beginning as a two-time NCAA (US college) javelin champion, Little pushed her way to the finals at the Tokyo Olympics last year. Holding Australian and Oceanian titles, the 25-year-old will compete at the Commonwealth Games for the first time this year, where she could round off the podium alongside her more experienced compatriots.

Squash singles (women)

With the return of squash legend Rachael Grinham, Australia has high hopes for the women’s squash singles in Birmingham. Like swimmer Horton, Grinham holds a full set of Commonwealth Games medals – with two gold, two silver and four bronze.

Rachael Grinham will be competing at her sixth Commonwealth Games in Birmingham later this month.

Rachael Grinham will be competing at her sixth Commonwealth Games in Birmingham later this month.Credit:Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

It will be the 45-year-old’s sixth Commonwealth Games and she is likely to push for a podium finish once again.

Competing at her fourth Games with high expectations is Donna Lobban. She reached the quarter-finals in the women’s singles in the Gold Coast, as well as gold in the mixed doubles and bronze in the women’s doubles.

On the court alongside veterans Grinham and Lobban is Jessica Turnbull, who is debuting at the Games this year. She won the Australian Nationals in June and made it to the quarter-finals at the Irish Open in April.

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