At the media day on Monday Sally Pearson (Qld) paid tribute to the preparation camp at Tonbridge School while head coach Eric Hollingsworth expressed his delight at the quality of the team.
Pearson was joined by several members of the athletics section of the Australian Olympic team in addressing the media and with the sun shining the green and gold was bright as ever.
In reference to the facilities at Tonbridge School, in Kent, Pearson said: “We came here last year for five or six days and the sun was shining, it was really hot and we loved the place. Again when I arrived here four weeks ago it was sun for nine days which made me love it even more, the people at the school are so welcoming and will do anything for you.
“On our first training day at the track one of the helpers came out and said that he remembered last year I’d wanted some lines drawn down the high jump runway for the hurdling because of the crosswind.
“The next day there were painted lines on the track, I just thought they were going to put tape down, I didn’t think they were actually going to paint lines on their track! They’ve been really helpful and having that lane for me to do hurdles with the wind is fantastic, it helps with my technique.”
After the team photo Hollingsworth addressed the media and in particular the standard of the team in London. With 52 athletes selected it is both the largest sport section in London and also the largest athletics team ever sent to an overseas Olympic Games, based on the current IAAF regulations.
Hollingsworth said: “I’m absolutely delighted with the quality of the team. One of the ambitions for the organisation was to have the biggest contingent in the Australian Olympic team and we’ve achieve that, so it’s a big tick for athletics to outstrip things like swimming, cycling and rowing.
“We’ve intentionally put a reasonably high expectation on this team. This is a quality unit and we expect some medals. There are some obvious ones that you’ve (media) all spoken to today who have great chances. We have outstanding gold medal chances in Mitchell (Watt) and Sally (Pearson).
“Quietly behind the scenes Jared Tallent has been walking his way into some seriously good shape, so there’s expectation around Jared into the medals as well.”
The remainder of the team will receive their Olympic kit today, before some take part in the Opening Ceremony on 27 July.