The Australian Olympic Committee has just announced who will be pulling on their green and gold skinsuits at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.
Dan McConnell becomes the first Australian mountain biker to have been selected to race in four Olympic Games — Beijing in 2008, London in 2012, Rio in 2016 and Tokyo in 2021. Bec McConnell has also been selected, making this her third Olympics, and she becomes the first female mountain biker to ride in three Games — London in 2012, Rio in 2016 and Tokyo in 2021.
The McConnells will be joined by BMX racers Saya Sakakibara and Lauren Reynolds, who is making her third appearance at the Olympics and is the first woman to do so in her discipline.
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The Olympic Committee also announced two freestyle BMX riders, Natalya Diehm and current BMX Freestyle World Champion Logan Martin, who will represent Australia as their discipline makes its Games debut in Tokyo.
The riders named to the Olympic team today join the 22 road and track riders who punched their ticket to Tokyo back in March. This brings the total number of selected athletes to 232 of an expected 450-480 Australian Olympic Team size.
“The selection process never gets easier, and that’s because we have a strong and competitive team. Due to COVID, these athletes have been working for this selection for the past five years and there are a limited number of places on the team – we know Olympic selection means everything,” says Australian Cycling Performance Director Simon Jones.
Chef de Mission of the Australian Olympic Team Ian Chesterman welcomed the riders to the Australian Olympic Team for Tokyo.
“Congratulations to all the riders selected today,” Chesterman said. “Today is a fantastic accomplishment not just for the riders but for Australian Cycling, their coaches, families, friends and supporters who have helped them achieve today’s selection.”
“Dan, as a four-time Olympian, and Rebecca and Lauren, both off to their third Games, will all earn a special place in Australian Olympic history in Tokyo, and their selection is a reflection of their incredible commitment, perseverance and talent over such a long period of time,” he says.
The XCO venue for the Tokyo games is located in Izu City, Shizuoka Prefecture. At 4.1km long, the course has 150m of vertical drop, and if we learned anything from the test event in October 2019, it’s a doozy with incredibly steep climbs, drops, bike park size jumps and massive rock gardens.
The Tokyo Olympics kick off in just over a month, with the opening ceremony scheduled for 23 July 2021. The Men’s XCO event takes place on 26 July, and the women’s race is the following day on 27 July. Channel 7 will be broadcasting the games on its three networks, 7, 7Two and 7Mate and streaming through the 7+ App. We don’t know the broadcast schedule just yet, but according to Channel 7, every event is streaming live and free through the app.