Geelong-born Jennifer Cleary made her Olympic debut at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, competing in the Women’s Quadruple Sculls. Named alongside Kerry Hore, Madeleine Edmunds and Jessica Hall, the Victorian athlete has been part of this crew set up since 2013.
The boat made a disappointing exit from the 2016 Games when the crew finished fifth in a tightly fought repechage and therefore missed out on a spot in the A-Final. The crew powered out the start, up against crews from the Netherlands, Poland, Australia, USA and China. With 100 metres to go Australia, China and the USA were bow ball to bow ball, and the finish resulted in a photo-finish to decide who would join Poland and the Netherlands in the A-Final. Once the photos were back, it was declared that Australia had finished fifth, a mere 0.06 seconds behind China, and 0.11 seconds behind USA, who had nabbed the final two qualification spots. The result was somewhat unexpected as the crew had had a good lead-up to the Games, finishing with a silver medal at the final 2016 World Rowing Cup 3 in Poland, the last international racing event before the Games began.
Having grown up around rowing, both her parents take a keen interest in the sport, Cleary first stepped in a boat in 2005 and make her international racing debut in 2013 at World Rowing Cup 1 in the Women’s Double Sculls.
Cleary’s breakout year came in 2014 when she competed in the Women’s Quadruple Sculls at World Rowing Cup 1 in Sydney and snapped up a gold medal alongside her crew mates.