2018 Wrap Up: Broken records and 2020 quotas in August
20 December 2018
Australia secured its first quota places for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the 2018 Sailing World Championships in August.
With Matt Wearn winning the Laser silver medal, and Rio 2016 gold medallist Tom Burton coming in seventh, Australia comfortably secured a Laser quota for Tokyo. Similarly, sibling duo Nathan and Haylee Outteridge won the Nacra 17 silver medal, and Rio silver medallists Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmin came in sixth, booking Australia a Nacra 17 spot for Tokyo 2020.
Olympic silver medallists Matt Belcher and Will Ryan secured a 470M quota for Australia after placing 5th overall, and 49erFX pair Natasha Bryant and Annie Wilmot also made sure Australia will be offered a spot in the class, finishing in 11th place.
August 17 marked 50 days to the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games. Selection announcements for the Australian Team were coming in thick and fast during the month, with Golf, Beach Volleyball, Weightlifting and Athletics selections announced, before the full Team was confirmed on August 30.
The Australian Dolphins completed a stellar Pan Pacs campaign, coming home with eight gold, 13 silver and eight bronze medals, as well as shattering six Championship records over the four-day competition in Tokyo.
In total, the Aussie team won 29 medals and finished second to world number one USA who won 43 (18 gold, 13 silver, 12 bronze). Australia's largest medal haul came from Emma McKeon who added four gold and two bronze to the total, with the Aussie women claiming a clean sweep of all three relays.
One of the most inspiring stories of the competition came from three-time Olympian Cate Campbell. After considering giving up the sport following her Rio 2016 campaign, Campbell wowed crowds with five gold medals and multiple Championship, Commonwealth and Australian records across the 400m mixed medley relay, 100m freestyle, 4x100 women's freestyle relay, 50m freestyle and the women's 4x100m medley relay.
"I think that this team has performed way beyond expectations and we've really stuck it to the people,” Campbell said.
"It just goes to show the grit, determination and spirit that is really alive within the team and it is wonderful to be a part of it again."
2018 Commonwealth Games gold medallist and Rio 2016 Olympian Tia Toomey held on to her title of 'Fittest Woman on Earth' after winning the World CrossFit Games for the second consecutive year.
The Australian Cycling Team enjoyed a successful week at the 2018 UCI Junior Track World Championships in Aigle, Switzerland in August, with three world titles, nine medals and a handful of World and Australian records.
Melbourne’s Luke Plapp celebrated dual world titles in the points race and in the Madison with Blake Quick, and Thomas Cornish stormed to the kilometre time trial world title in world record time.
Plapp would go on to be recognised as the Emerging Athlete of the Year at the Australian Sport Performance Awards at the end of the year.
Aussie beach volleyball super-duo Taliqua Clancy and Mariafe Artacho del Solar created history, winning bronze at the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Final, their sixth podium appearance of the season.
Throughout the tournament, Clancy and Artacho del Solar won four matches, including a match against World Number 1, Brazil's Agatha Bednarczuk and Eduarda Santos Liboa and World Number 3, Brazil's Maria Antonelli and Carolina Salgado.
The Australian team topped the women's pools, sending them into the bronze medal play-off against Antonelli and Salgado, with the Aussie duo taking the bronze medal, 21-15, 19,21 and 8-15.
"It's bloody amazing. We've had some really tough matches and to come out on top in this tournament, where we play the best in the world, is such a special feeling,” Artacho del Solar said
After a life-threatening off road vehicle accident which saw her suffer a broken nose, sternum, two collapsed lungs and bleeding around the heart, BMX rider Caroline Buchanan made a successful retun to competitition. Eight months after the crash, Buchanan claimed the win at Crankworx event at Whistler, Canada.
Records fell and personal bests were recorded at the Birmingham Athletics Diamond League in August. Aussie highlights included an Australian women's 1000m record to Brittany McGowan, a 1-2 in the men's mile with Stewart McSweyn and Ryan Gregson and a significant personal best in the high jump by Brandon Starc.
The Hockeyroos finished fourth at the 2018 World Cup in London. Australia had missed out on a place in the World Cup final following a shootout loss to the top-ranked Netherlands, and were unfortunately defeated 3-1 by Spain in the fight for the bronze medal.
The Aussie Spirit Women’s Softball Team also finished fourth at the 2018 World Championships in Chiba, Japan.