When Emily Watts rides she starts a conversation.

Emily Watts is a young Australian cyclist with ambitions to reach the top and to inspire people in the process. She recently won the best young rider category at the Tour Down Under and rides for a team with a mission to advance women’s sport and promote positive mental health among the wider community.

Emily’s cycling career began on the quiet roads of Hartley on the edge of the NSW Blue Mountains, and the 21-year-old is now a familiar sight on her long, lonely training rides whenever she makes it back home.

While the dream of world championship and Olympic success dictates Emily’s strict daily routine, she is acutely aware of the need to ensure her general wellbeing and holistic development. She is currently studying a Bachelor of Education / PE Teaching at the University of Sydney and teaches swimming part-time, and is looking for a well-rounded World Tour team to join in the future.

“I’d like to ride for Canyon Sram or Trek Segafredo, because they seem to have the same values that I have. Each individual rider in the team is supported and they look like they enjoy being in the peloton, and it’s important for me to ride for a team with the right atmosphere.”

Emily is a General Classification rider with Knights of Suburbia, a team which actively promotes the wellbeing of its riders and the general community.

“KOS is a team with a strong meaning behind it. We’re a competitive cycling team and we race to win, but we’re more than that. The team was established with the specific goal of providing opportunities for female cyclists who don’t have the financial resources or other resources to race full time.

It’s also part of a community with a strong focus on supporting people through mental health struggles, and the values of the team align with my personal values. Everyone in this team is supported and this is something that I really enjoy about racing with them.”

KOS is aligned with the Love Me Love You Foundation, which promotes positive conversations about mental health and helps people through those challenges in life. The group runs social rides from Melbourne to Mt Isa, with the goal of bringing people together to remove the sigma around mental health and to promote wellbeing.

It also creates an extra element for the members of KOS.

“Riding for a team like this does carry more responsibility. The way we carry ourselves, the way we speak in public and the way we conduct ourselves is very important because when we pull on the jersey, we’re not just representing ourselves but also a community and the team which has a purpose. When we ride, we’re advocates for LMLY.”

Emily has also faced mental health issues in her own life, from specific challenges in elite sport to negotiating adolescence. As recently as January her mental fortitude and flexibility was tested.

“At the Tour Down Under, I was road captain on stage 1, which was a new responsibility for me. Normally I get pretty stressed before a stage, but this time I had to stay calm for the sake of the team and relax into the race.”

It worked, as Emily won the stage in a sprint against riders from some of the world’s best teams.

She also overcame challenges during high school.

“I went through mental health issues, some which affect all teenage girls going through high school like identity, and high academic expectations.”

Emily’s dedication to sport, and her passion for cycling, also caused some issues, even in a sports-mad nation like Australia where sports stars are adored.

“Some students saw my sport and dedication to cycling as bizarre and I was seen as a bit of a weirdo. There was definitely an aspect of tall poppy syndrome. It might also have been because I developed a greater sense of maturity than the average teenager, because when I was in high-school I was already racing and training with cycling squads and many of them were adults.”

“Or maybe it was just jealousy because I was beating the boys in the cross-country races.”

As a future secondary teacher, Emily is also very aware of mental health issues in teenagers, and in particular the impact of social media, especially because today’s elite athletes are required to have a presence on social media. They use social platforms not just to communicate with fans, but to promote themselves, their sport, their team and especially their sponsors.

“I’m very aware of the dangers of social media and how it affects young people. What matters is the way we use social media, and not putting everything on it, and being careful about what we see. For teenagers, it’s vital that they learn how to self-manage.”

Being a female athlete also forces Emily to spend more time on social media than she otherwise might.

“It’s also a bigger part of the sport in the women’s peloton because there’s not as much coverage of our races on TV or in the media in general. We need to be active on social media to get our story out there and to try to attract support for ourselves and our teams, and even for a foundation like LMLY.”

Images: Getty Images, Knights of Suburbia

Emily Watts is hungry for more success.

Emily Watts is chasing domestic and international success in 2022 after claiming the biggest win of her young career in January.

Emily won stage 1 of the Tour Down Under to start the year and also claimed the white jersey as best young rider. This followed bronze medals in the U23 Road Race and ITT at the national titles, and proves that she if fulfilling her undeniable potential.

Success at TDU preceded a block of training with the Podium Potential Academy in Adelaide on the track and the road, before reuniting with Knights of Suburbia teammates at the Tour of Gippsland.

Emily has won medals on the track at national level, but sees her future on the road and has mapped out a three-year-plan accordingly. Now that she has beaten some World Tour riders, she wants to join them.

“By 2025, I’d like to be riding for a World Tour team,” she said, while confirming that success at the World Championships and Olympic Games is the ultimate goal. The first step is to perform well on the National Road Series before heading overseas for the remainder of 2022.

“Winning the GC at the Tour of Tasmania is a major goal. I’m looking to learn as much as I can over the four days of the race, and combine this with what I learned at the TDU this year.”

One lesson was managing the added responsibility as road captain on stage 1 of the TDU.

“Normally I get pretty stressed before a stage, but this time I had to stay calm for the sake of the team and relax into the race.”

It clearly worked, as the KOS team planned their attack perfectly and launched Emily to the biggest win of her career in the bunch sprint, a result which surprised many, including Emily herself.

“I’m not a pure sprinter, I normally sprint well under load, but being an uphill sprint worked to my advantage over the pure sprinters. The win improved my confidence in sprinting, but If I did decide to become more of a pure sprinter, I’d have to change my training.”

The same is true of her climbing. She regards herself as a proponent of short, sharp, punchy climbs, and for that reason has her sights set on GC results in the long term.

Upon completion of the 2022 Australian racing season, Emily plans to travel to the United States to chase races, prize money and increased exposure in Criteriums and road races. If this objective is achieved, she will then head to Belgium in future years and into the heartland of international cycling.

“In Belgium there are races almost every day, plus a very high standard of racing and the chance to be noticed by some world tour teams.”

“I’d like to ride for Canyon Sram or Trek Segafredo, because they seem to have the same values that I have. Each individual rider in the team is supported and they look like they enjoy being in the peloton, and it’s important for me to ride for a team with the right atmosphere. This is what I feel riding for the Knights of Suburbia team as well.”

Despite planning to base herself in Belgium, Emily does not anticipate a career in Cyclocross.

“Cyclocross requires some pretty good bike handling skills and coordination. I don’t have very good hand-eye coordination, so maybe I shouldn’t ride Cyclocross,” she laughs, while also ruling out a career in AFLW:

“I’m studying a Bachelor of Education, PE Teaching, at Sydney Uni, and on a teaching practicum recently I had to teach the kids how to kick an AFL ball and, well, when I finally managed to kick it the kids all clapped and cheered.”

21-year-old Emily may have planned her career trajectory perfectly as the sport of women’s cycling continues to grow.

“By 2025, there might be more races for women,” she predicts.

“We already have the Giro d’Italia Donne and the women’s Paris Roubaix. I handled the gravel sections of some of the Aussie road races well, so who knows. This could mean more opportunities for female cyclists in general.”

Racing the Giro or the Hell of the North is a long way from the tiny town of Hartley on the edge of the NSW Blue Mountains where Emily grew up on the family property.

While a country childhood denied her the chance to train with a local squad on a daily basis, riding alone day after day helped to forge the self-discipline and mental strength that are vital to road cycling success. She is now a national U23 champion in the Individual Time Trial.

“I would get up at 5.30am to get in some training before going to school in Bathurst, and sometimes I’d leave my bike at the Principal’s house and then ride home to Hartley. I don’t remember exactly how long it would take, but I think it was about 60 – 70 km.”

“Plus, riding to places like the Jenolan Caves was enjoyable, and riding on the road to Oberon was hilly, so that developed my climbing skills.”

There was one ride, however, on which her father and younger sister would join her.

“To the Lolly Bug shop, because we could buy lollies halfway.”

Images: Getty Images

ACT Brumbies make controversial announcement.

The ACT Brumbies Super Rugby team has shocked the rugby world after deciding to change its name to the ACT Feral Horses. The club made the sudden call after realising that the word Brumby romanticises one of the most destructive feral animals in Australia.

“The ACT Super Rugby franchise will now be known as the ACT Feral Horses,” began a statement from the club.

“The word Brumby carries a romanticised ideal of a destructive feral pest which is causing enormous damage to Australia’s environment, especially in the alpine national parks which lie just a short drive from the ACT. For that reason, the club has decided to apply a name which more accurately depicts our mascot.”

Conservationists and scientists throughout Australia have long been calling for the eradication of feral horses from alpine regions, especially the NSW section of Kosciuszko National Park. However, strong lobbying from a small group of conservative politicians, farmers and people running horse-related businesses in the park has succeeded in preventing the eradication.

“When the ACT Super Rugby franchise was established in 1996, we were unaware of the harm Brumbies were causing to the natural environment. We only knew of the Brumby as a tough, rugged, free-spirited, resilient animal, whose attributes reflected the attributes we want in our own players.

However, we now know they are causing the destruction of areas which many of our players, officials and supporters love to visit. The snowy mountains are just a short drive from the ACT and many within the ACT rugby family want to see these areas protected.”

The name change also means that a percentage of ticket sales, membership and merchandise sales will be donated to organisations working to eradicate the feral horses.

Fans erupted on social media at the news.

Some slammed the club for pandering to the wishes of bleeding heart greenies and saw the move as excessive political correctness. Many denied the claims of environmentalists about the extent of the damage feral horses are causing the alpine regions, and said they ‘reject the science’.

One feared the club would simply become known as the ‘Ferals’, to which another supporter replied:

“Well, have you seen what goes on at rugby clubs?”

A number of members threatened to cancel their membership, and one went as far as saying he would now support the Waratahs.

In contrast, various members and supporters endorsed the change, arguing that naming a mascot after a destructive pest helps to create an unrealistic image of the horses, which are the only feral species in Australia which is protected by law. Other supporters said the team could always choose another animal as its mascot, and that protecting the national park was more important than giving a football team a nice name.

The club also explained that it would consider changing its name back to the ACT Brumbies once every single feral horse is removed from the park.

“This would allow us to acknowledge one small piece of Australian history, and to honour the remaining animals which are able to be rehomed on private properties where they can live out their lives in peace.”

Image: Sitthixay Ditthavong

Exclusive: Secret judging scandal rocks Beijing 2022.

Exclusive: The world’s best freestyle skiers and snowboarders are in shock after learning that judges have been using a hidden category to decide the medallists at the Olympic Winter Games in Beijing.

Anonymous sources have revealed that judges have been been rating competitors according to how many social media followers they each have, in addition to Progression, Amplitude, Variety, Execution and Difficulty, in events such as Ski and Snowboard Big Air, Slopestyle and Halfpipe.

“Judges have been scoring competitors according to their popularity on social media,” revealed a spokesperson for judges, on condition of strict anonymity.

“After tallying their scores for the five standard categories, judges then add the number of followers each athlete has on the major social media platforms, in order to create the final score, which then determines the medal winners.”

The judge explained that the secret category was added in Beijing for many reasons, the most salient being that freestyle skiing and snowboarding are sustained by social media.

“Freestyle events like Big Air, Slopestyle and Halfpipe are all devoted to image – just like social media itself. Thus, adding social media presence to the judging criteria was a natural progression.”

Judges reportedly search for athlete profiles on Instagram, Youtube, Snapchat and, to a lesser extent Facebook, before the competition. As the event is being held in China, greater emphasis is being placed on an athlete’s presence on Tik Tok, and Chinese social media site Weibo.

“Do you think Eileen Gu won gold based on her jumps alone?” suggested the judge in hushed tones.

Gu has about 2 million followers on Weibo, and 147,000 plus on Tik Tok, which is Chinese owned and known as Douyin.

Judges also confessed that they welcomed the addition of the new category, which has stunned those within the sports.

“It gives us a way to distinguish between each run,” they admitted.

“Let’s face it, every athlete is basically doing the same trick, one after the other, so this way we can more objectively score the athletes. Assessing a snowboarder’s Cork 720 Mute against another’s is actually quite complicated.”

Judges initially attempted to sneak in a new category in the women’s events. Points were to be deducted if the athlete didn’t have two strands of hair cascading down her face from under her helmet.

“This might be, maybe, possibly, potentially… why Tess Coady only won bronze in Slopestyle. Maybe,” suggested a judge.

“But virtually every woman was doing it, so it didn’t help us to differentiate. Thus, the natural solution was to use social media popularity, which is more objective – you either have 700,000 Instagram followers or you don’t.”

Athletes and team officials are horrified at the subterfuge of event organisers, and have taken to social media to express their anger and demand answers from the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Federation internationale de ski (FIS) and Beijing 2022 organisers.

The governing bodies were reluctant to comment, but did say that if they had told athletes and officials of the new category prior to the games, athletes would have simply ‘bought’ more followers for their respective accounts.

Judges decided to take the risk of revealing this highly-classified information in order to assist young people aiming for gold at future wintersports competitions.

“Kids, get out the camera,” they declared.

“Get out the GoPro and the selfie stick, and film everything.”

“Film yourself at the halfpipe, on the jumps, at the park. Film yourself on the way to and from the park, film up and down the chairlift and to and from the slopes. Post about your favourite outfits, music, food, shoes, TV series – everything, even film your dog. Then like, poke, share, retweet, comment and subscribe like crazy”

“Because if you don’t, you’ll never win freestyle gold.”

Controversy surrounds Moana Pasifika.

The Moana Pasifika Super Rugby team has decided to boycott its first ever game just hours before kick off in order to protest inaction on climate change. The players from Pacific Island nations are demanding that countries like Australia do more to reverse climate change which threatens Samoa, Tonga, Fiji and the Cook Islands.

“Sea levels are rising and already threatening the homelands of the players which make up this team,” began a statement from the new franchise.

“This is caused by climate change, and climate change is being driven by wealthy countries such as Australia, where we will play many of our games and where some of the players have played and lived for years. We made this difficult decision after much discussion and in order to draw attention to this urgent issue.”

The statement went on to explain how Australia has the highest per capita carbon footprint of any nation on earth and is contributing greatly to the climate crisis. The country, which is home to four Super Rugby franchises, continues to burn and export coal, and is planning to expand the fossil fuel industry.

Furthermore, various members of the new Moana Pasifika team have played for the Wallabies.

“Our players are already seeing the lands of their ancestors adversely affected by rising sea levels. Salt water from the ocean is mixing with fresh water and ruining the crops on which people have relied for generations. If fossil fuels continue to be dug up and burned, entire low-lying islands could be underwater and residents would lose their homes.”

“For this reason, we have put family and country head of the sport we love and decided to boycott our first ever game. We hope the boycott will convince rugby fans and rugby loving politicians to move Australia away from fossil fuels and other destructive practices, and towards a future with renewable energy.”

Players from other Super Rugby teams expressed their support for the stand via social media, as many of them have Pasifika heritage.

In response, Prime Minister of Australia Scott Morrison tweeted a photo of himself in his Cronulla Sharks rugby league jersey.

Image: http://www.moanapasifika.co.nz

Australia kicked out of Olympic Winter Games.

The Australian Olympic Winter Games team is in disarray after the the International Olympic Committee (IOC) forced it out of Beijing 2022 on the eve of competition.

Athletes, coaches and team officials were thrown out of the athletes village and onto planes bound for Australia just hours before the official opening ceremony, due to the appointment of Hancock Prospecting as a major sponsor of the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC)

“Gina Rinehart and the mining activities of Hancock Prospecting threaten the very existence of the Olympic Winter Games,” began a brief statement from the IOC.

“Rinehart’s enormous fossil fuel mining and cattle farming businesses are major drivers of climate change. The subsequent accelerated warming is melting ice caps and creating less snow throughout the world.”

“Without snow, there is no Olympic Winter Games.”

The decision to announce Hancock Prospecting as the major sponsor of Australian Olympic teams until 2026 does not sit well with the IOC, and for this reason the Australian team was ordered out of the village, and out of the games. The governing body also disagrees with the decision to award Rinehart an Order of Australia (AO) in the recent Australia Day honours.

“The sponsorship arrangement also covers the Pacific Games in 2023, though there may not be many Pacific Island nations left in 2023 if Hancock Prospecting continues its climate destroying practices,” continued the statement.

The shock announcement denies any Australian athlete the opportunity to compete at the games, including those with realistic medal chances. The AOC was given no opportunity to appeal the decision.

International media has already highlighted the fact that the majority of the snow at Beijing 2022 is man-made.

“If the climate crisis continues, even man-made snow will not suffice for winter sports,” continued the IOC spokesperson. “Man-made snow is only effective if the ground is cold enough. If not, the snow simply melts, and conditions resemble late season skiing in Australia.”

The decision means that the Australian Olympic Committee is also banned from sending athletes to future competitions such as the summer and winter versions of the Olympic Games and Youth Olympic Games.

Australian Olympic Committee chief John Coates refused to comment of the sudden decision, explaining that he was waiting for Gina to tell him what to say. Meanwhile, Minster for Sport Richard Colbeck said the decision was of no major concern, because Australia wins so few medals at such events compared to other countries, such as China and The USA, that Australia shouldn’t bother competing in the games at all. Plus, he prefers cricket.

Rinehart, meanwhile, was unfazed at the announcement and its motivation.

“Personally, I couldn’t care less if some young Aussie kid wins a medal for twirling themselves up in the air on a snowboard. I only threw some of my pocket money at this to keep sports-mad Aussies under my spell, and to stop them from forcing the government to take real action on climate change.

“It’s amazing what you can do to the Aussie people if you pretend to like sport.”

Image: Patrick Hamilton

Geelong is the most dangerous footy team in Australia.

The Geelong Cats are the most destructive footy team in Australia ahead of the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the ACT Brumbies.

The AFL stalwarts are known as the Cats, and cats are the single most destructive introduced species in Australia.

Cats are estimated to kill about 1.5 billion native animals per annum in Australia. This destruction is the work of domestic cats, stray cats and feral cats. All of these cats are derived from pet cats. Feline species have never been native to Australia.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in 1994 only 26% of domestic cats were confined both during the day and night. This means 74% of cats where roaming happily, hunting and destroying native wildlife. In the same year, 42,126 cats were dumped on the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA). Only 3% of the cats were reclaimed and 74% were put down.

Feral cats threaten at least 124 Australian species which are in danger of extinction, and cats are a major reason that Australia has the highest rate of native mammal extinction in the world – not per capita – outright.

How do we solve this problem?

Ban cat breeding in Australia.

Ban the importation of any cat into Australia.

Introduce a cat curfew which keeps pet cats confined to their homes, or to a cat run, 24 hours a day.

Allocate more funds and resources to feral cat eradication programs.

The Rabbitohs trail Geelong in terms of destruction.

Rabbits cause about a billion dollars in lost agricultural production production every five years, and cause enormous damage to native flora and fauna. As few as one to two rabbits per hectare are able to stop native perennials sprouting, and rabbits contribute to drought conditions by removing native and other vegetation.

How do we solve this problem?

With science, and funding.

Viruses such as the calicivirus helped to reduce numbers, but rabbits soon built a resistance to this virus. Myxomatosis was later developed and was very successful in eradicating many rabbits. However, rabbits are likely to develop a resistance to this virus as well, so continued funding and research is required to keep rabbit numbers in check.

Eradicating feral and stray cats, and controlling pet cats, would help ensure the survival of more native animals. All Australians would see and hear more native birds, even in cities and suburbs, and native animals would continue to support the native ecosystem on which all Australians rely for our survival. We need native animals.

The ACT Super Rugby team meanwhile, plays under a mascot which is causing enormous damage to the Australian environment, especially in the NSW Snowy Mountains. Countless campaigns have been launched to eradicate the brumbies and protect the national park, but conservative forces in New South Wales resist their removal, claiming feral horses are part of Australia’s folklore, largely because someone wrote a poem about them as far back as 1890.

Eradicating, or at least controlling, cats and rabbits is an enormous challenge. Removing brumbies from national parks, however, is not as challenging. Various methods, including aerial culls, exist and are proven to work. The program could start tomorrow, and the national park could be saved. All that is needed is political will.

Images: Mike Bowers, South Sydney Rabbitohs, Geelong Cats, Jae Park

The perfect candidate for the 18th NRL team.

The NRL would be wise to consider a Pasifika team as the 18th team to enter the competition in the next few years, after recently adding the Dolphins as the 17th team. A team comprising players with Pacific Island heritage would be popular, appropriate and very, very hard to beat.

The Pacific Island nations of Tonga, Samoa, Fiji and PNG have become the new rugby league heartland and continue to supply more and more players to NRL and representative teams. It is estimated that almost 50% of NRL players have Pacific Island heritage. In addition, Rugby League is the national obsession in PNG and NRL players enjoy rock star status throughout the country, while the sport is starting to threaten Rugby Union for supremacy in the remaining three nations.

Every player in the squad would ideally possess Pasifika heritage. It would represent the islands and be based in either Queensland, for geographical reasons, or in Auckland. Auckland has a large Pasifika population, and Kiwi league fans could attend twice as many NRL games in New Zealand.

Isn’t this copying Super Rugby?

Yes. Super Rugby will add Moana Pasifika to the competition in the coming years. This is a good idea, so why not copy it?

A Pasifika team would also allow the NRL to honour the region which is supplying so many of the games best players, players who have elevated and redefined the game. Some games could be played in Pacific Island nations, which helps to grow the sport, and Channel 9 commentators might finally learn to pronounce players’ names correctly.

Would the team be any good?

Read the list of 30 potential squad members below, then consider the names that have been left out, and decide for yourself:

Fullback – Stephen Crichton

Wing – Xavier Coates, Brian To’o

Centres – Waqa Blake, Justin Olam

Halves – Anthony Milford, Jarome Luai

Props – Josh Papali’i, Junior Paulo

Hooker – Api Koroisau,

Back row – Viliame Kikau, Isaiah Papali’i

Lock – Jason Taumalolo

Squad members:

Will Hopoate, Maika Sivo, Kotoni Staggs, Daniel Tupou, David Nofoaluma, Brandon Wakeham, Sio Siua Taukeiaho, Sitili Tupouniua, Tevita Tatola, Moses Leota, Martin Taupau, Addin Fonua-Blake, Siliva Havili, Tevita Pangai Jr, Tino Fa’asuamaleaui, Felise Kaufusi, David Fifita.

Image: Getty Images

Are Australia’s Olympic medals tainted?

Aussies screamed at their TV screens as yet another Australian athlete strained for gold at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Aussies cheered and wept for joy as athlete after athlete collected gold, silver and bronze medals while wearing the green and gold.

Most of these medals were won in Swimming and Rowing.

Most of those medals are tainted.

Most of those medals were funded by Gina Rinehart. Swimmers won 21 medals and rowers won 4 medals, making them our two most successful sports.

Rinehart is one of the world’s richest people and amassed her enormous personal fortune through two of the most destructive industries in the world – mining fossil fuels and farming livestock. Rinehart’s mines and farms are not small. Some of them are the size of small countries, and she owns or has a financial stake in businesses scattered throughout Australia.

Rinehart’s business interests are contributing greatly to the climate crisis which will harm the standard of living of people in Australia and throughout the world in the near future – including swimmers and rowers. She also wields enormous political power in Australia and has helped prevent the nation from making the smart environmental and economic decision to transition to renewable energy.

Rinehart’s businesses, operating under the banner of Hancock Prospecting, have helped earn Australia a reputation as one of the world’s worst polluters. Australia has the highest per capita carbon footprint in the world and the highest rate of native mammal extinction in the world. Australia’s contribution to, and inaction on, climate change has made it an international pariah in recent years. Rinehart’s businesses are central to Australia’s environmental destruction.

Hancock Prospecting is the major sponsor of Swimming Australia and a major partner of Rowing Australia. Rinehart is swimming’s patron and is openly called the “matriarch” of the Australian Dolphins Swim Team. She was pictured front and centre among the PODS (Parents of Dolphins Swimmers) during Channel 7’s coverage of the swimming events in Tokyo, and ran her own long ads during the games. She has sponsored Australian swimming since 1992, and her ‘generous direct financial support’ is described as ‘especially critical to Swimming Australia’ for it allows athletes to ‘focus on their on their training and performance and not be distracted by financial pressures that most athletes face.’ With Rinehart’s assistance, several swimmers were also granted private scholarships to attend Bond University.

In recognition of the amount of money Rinehart has given to sports such as rowing and swimming, she was awarded an Order of Merit by the Australian Olympic Committee (interalia), and is described as an ‘inspiration’ to Australian swimmers.

Rinehart’s sponsorship appears to be central to Australia’s record medal haul in swimming at the Tokyo games, and to the impressive results of the country’s rowers. The ebullient language of Swimming Australia cleverly praises their largest sponsor, and implies a dependency on her funding.

The question must be asked:

Would Australia win as many Olympic medals without financial support from Hancock Prospecting? Would Australia win any medals in swimming and rowing without Hancock Prospecting? Are Australia’s medals tainted?

A more pressing question is:

What is more important to Australia, Olympic medals or a livable planet?

Image: Charles Deluvio

Technology takes centre stage at the Tokyo Olympic Games.

State-of-the-art technology will play an unprecedented role in the Olympic Games at Tokyo 2020. The International Olympic Committee and the local organising committee will utilise technology to revolutionise the delivery of the event and to ensure safety during the global pandemic.

Vending machines will dispense medals during victory ceremonies in order to minimise person-to-person contact, and technological devices will play a key role in almost every Olympic sport.

Road Cycling, Race Walking, Mountain Biking, Triathlon, Marathon Swimming and Marathon running

The world’s most advanced vending machines will operate at feed stations in the endurance events, replacing volunteers or soigneurs. Machines will be pre-programmed with each athlete’s drinks for the entire race, and will read the transponder of every competitor as they pass through the feed zone. What’s more, the AI-equipped vending machine will read the minds of the athletes to determine if they want plain water, energy drinks or electrolytes, and a hand will emerge from the machine to deliver exactly which drink the athlete needs at that moment.

Rock climbing

Robots will operate the belay during the Speed Climbing event in the Sport Climbing competition. Robots will also replace people who normally perform the role of coxswain in the ‘Eights’ rowing.

Mechanical mechanics

Drones will replace mechanics and soigneurs during the road cycling events. Highly-specified drones will hover above the race and descend automatically whenever a rider experiences a mechanical issue or a puncture.

“Our drones can repair any mechanical issue much quicker than even the most skilled human mechanic,” boasted the IOC spokesperson.

Soigneurs also provide massages to cyclists during competitions, and the IOC claims its robots can also provide this service.

“…but we’re not sure how many athletes want to be massaged by a robot.”

Robots will also replace ball kid at the tennis, as well as linespeople and umpires,

“This way, if Novak Djokovic hits a linesperson in the face, it won’t hurt,” explained the spokesperson.

Boxers and martial arts competitors, as well as athletes in Fencing, Tennis and team sports will find their first-round opponents through the vending machines, and swimmers and runners will use a vending machine to find their heat number and lane draw.

3D Printing

3D printers will print sailing boats and horses for use during the games, and these will also be dispensed via the vending machines. Olympic rules stipulate that Equestrian riders and Modern Pentathletes are given a horse and do not bring their own, in order to keep the competition even.

“The most exciting use of vending machines at this year’s games will be at Surfing,” enthused the spokesperson. Surfers will be able to choose the ‘perfect wave’, or the wave which best suits their riding style. If a surfer prefers right handers, they can demand those waves. If they want a barrel, they can order one. It’s just like Kelly Slater’s surf ranch, but in the open ocean.”

Sources close to the IOC believe vending machines may also be employed during post-event interviews with athletes. Instead of talking to a wild throng of voracious journalists, athletes can choose from a list of sporting cliches displayed on a series of sanitised touch screens lining the mixed zone. Popular responses will be displayed in every language and include:

“I’m very happy to win this medal for my country.”

“Words can’t describe how I feel”

“Full credit to the opposition”

“This is a great learning experience for next time.”

“I owe it all to God, Allah, Buddha (or other nominated deity)”

“God Willing, Inshallah…”

“I have to give full credit to my coach/family/teammates/fans”

“It was very tough”

“All of my competitors will be tough to beat in the final”

“I’m just happy to get through to the next round”