Australia names largest-ever athletics team for a foreign Olympics ahead of Paris Games

Australia World

In short:

Australia has named a full squad of 75 athletes to compete in the 2024 Paris Olympic Games, the largest ever for an overseas Olympics.

Torrie Lewis will not run the 100m but will focus on the 200m and the 4x100m relay, which will feature an Australian men’s and women’s team for the first time in 24 years.

What’s next?

The athletics competition gets underway in Paris at the Stade de France on August 1.

Australia has named the largest athletics team it has ever sent to an overseas Olympics, adding 55 athletes to complete a 75-strong team.

The squad is the second-largest ever assembled, behind the team that contested the Sydney 2000 Games on home soil.

The squad also contains serious pedigree, with six medallists from last year’s World Championships and three Olympic medallists from the Tokyo Games.

Australian record holder Torrie Lewis will not contest the 100m sprint, opting instead for her more favoured 200m, but will run in the 4x100m relay.

“After having such an amazing year, getting the official selection is just a relief,” the 19-year-old said.

“I’ve always thought I could make an individual event, but actually getting the call is so exciting.

“Ever since watching the London 2012 Games, it’s been something I’ve wanted to do, originally for gymnastics but now for running.

“I feel very proud that I’m able to represent Australia and have the country backing me, it makes me even more motivated to run better.”

A line of female sprinters in national team leotards.

Torrie Lewis burst onto the scene during the Australian summer.(Getty Images: Tim Clayton/Corbis)

The squad includes both a men’s and women’s 4x100m relay — the first time both have been part of an Australian Olympic Team together since Sydney 2000.

In the 1,500m, Linden Hall and Georgia Griffith will join Oceania record holder and fifth-fastest runner of all time Jess Hull, who was already named in the squad after winning the Australian trials.

Catriona Bisset joins the already selected Abbey Caldwell and Claudia Hollingworth in the 800m, while Rose Davis and Izzi Batt-Doyle — who also ran a qualification time for the hotly contested women’s marathon squad but missed out on selection — will run the 5,000m, as will Lauren Ryan, having already been selected for the 10,000m in April.

Australia’s field squad is made up of several former world champions, including pole vaulter Nina Kennedy, who sensationally shared the world title with Katie Moon in 2023.

“I’m feeling really good about my preparation and I’m genuinely excited for the competition,” Kennedy said.

“The women’s pole vault field is incredible. An Olympic year is so special because everyone brings their very best.

“Gold is the goal, however, it’s important to differentiate the difference between goals and expectations.

A beaming woman in an Australian athletics uniform holds an Australian flag behind her.

Nina Kennedy is one of the favourites for the women’s pole vault gold.(AAP Image/Dean Lewins)

“Goals are uncontrollable, but what I can control are the expectations I have of myself and my team.

“Of course, I’ve visualised winning gold. The mental aspect of training is just as important as the physical.

“I have a very clear definition of what success means to me, and that is being able to walk away from the Olympic final knowing I’ve done everything I possibly could have.

“If that wins a gold medal, amazing, and if it doesn’t, then I can walk away with no regrets.”

Ash Moloney, who clinched a stunning decathlon bronze in Tokyo, will return for his second Games despite battling multiple injuries over the past three years.

“Relief is definitely the word that comes to mind, considering the shape I’ve been in with injuries over the last couple of years,” he said.

“I wanted to prove to myself I could get back up to the standard I was at pre-Tokyo and I have done that. I’m in shape and ready to compete at the Olympics once again.

“I’ve had to adapt and evolve as an athlete. I’m still young but before when I was younger, I went head-on in every competition, but my body takes a little longer to recover these days.

“Last time I went to the Olympics, my aim wasn’t to win a medal, it was to do as well as I could and be competitive. The goal remains the same this time around and if that puts me in a position where I can compete for a medal, I will go for it.”

The athletics competition gets underway in Paris on August 1.

Sports content to make you think… or allow you not to. A newsletter delivered each Saturday.