It was a day of joy and heartbreak for the Australian team at the Commonwealth Games yesterday with five gold medals won and two world records set while champion hurdler Sally Pearson was forced to pull out* due to injury.
Champion swimmer Mack Horton delivered the first gold of Australia’s medal rush in the pool last night in the 400m freestyle in a world-class time (3 min 43.76sec) to finish ahead of Brisbane silver medallist Jack McLoughlin (3min 45.21sec).
“I knew what I had to do and it’s unreal to go one-two* with Jack,” Horton said of his fellow Australian after the race.
With lots of excitement in the air ahead of the race, Horton, 21, remained calm despite fears the warmer Queensland water could affect his race.
In the end, Horton won by a full body length and proved he is a racer who doesn’t feel the pressure others believe he should be feeling.
“The Comm Games is pretty much as fun as it gets,” Horton said.
“I don’t mind the pressure or expectation. I think when people come unstuck is when they fight it. You’ve got to enjoy and embrace it.”
Australia then won the men’s 4000m team pursuit in a world record time of 3min 49.804sec to secure gold in the cycling at the velodrome.
Kelland O’Brien joined Leigh Howard, Alex Porter and Sam Welsford to beat England for the title and beat the previous record of 3min 50.265 which Britain set at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016.
The gold medal came after their female Aussie teammates finished top of the podium in the 4km race to make history and win gold.
Australia’s next gold medal of the night went to the women’s team — Alex Manly, Annette Edmondson, Amy Cure and Ashlee Ankudinoff — in the sprint finals.
The Australian pair of Kaarie McCulloch and Stephanie Morton also beat New Zealand in the final of the women’s team sprint to collect another cycling gold medal.
Back in the pool, the Aussie women’s 4 x 100m freestyle team of Shayna Jack, Emma McKeon and sisters Bronte and Cate Campbell smashed the world record in an impressive swim.
“I was surprised. It was first time I have ever heard the crowd while swimming,” said Bronte Campbell.
“That was pretty great, definitely got me home that last 15m. It was great. I can’t believe we got that world record. I thought that was going to stand for a long time. We were all just kind of a little bit gobsmacked.”
The world record time was 3min 30.05sec.
Meanwhile, a heartbroken Pearson announced her withdrawal* from the Games during the afternoon, but vowed to keep running until the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.
The 31-year-old has battled a nagging* Achilles injury that has ended her chances of a third gold medal in the 100m hurdles.
Pearson described the decision as “gut-wrenching” but said she had left “no stone unturned” in her bid to compete.
“I did everything I possibly could,” she said.
“Everyone who is here knows how much of a competitor I am and how much I love to race for my country. But this is about my health and I want to go to Tokyo in 2020.”
Pearson said the process of dealing with the news was “like grief*”.
“There was the numb* phase first and then the crying phase … and then speaking to (coach) Craig (Hilliard) and Paul (Blackman, team doctor) and double checking and triple checking it was the right thing to do.”
Pearson has also withdrawn from the 4×100 relay team.
Australia is sitting second on the overall Commonwealth Games medal tally.
COLLECT YOUR PINS
Look out for your official Commonwealth Games Pin Collection featuring Borobi the surfing koala in your newspaper this week. Ask mum and dad if you can start collecting.
pull out: stop doing something
one-two: to finish first and second
withdrawal: to pull back or stop doing something
nagging: constantly painful
grief: extreme sadness, particularly when someone dies
numb: unable to feel or think
LISTEN TO TODAY’S STORY
1. Disappointment for Sally Pearson
Sally Pearson has had to bow out of the 2018 Commonwealth Games due to an Achilles injury. She is clearly disappointed about this, describing it as a ‘gut-wrenching decision’.
To make a decision like this, Sally had to think of the reasons for competing and why she shouldn’t compete. Draw up a two-column chart, label the columns FOR and AGAINST. Use the article to help you write down the reasons that she may have considered for continuing to compete and against competing.
Extension: Pearson uses the word ‘roller coaster’ to describe her experience with this injury. You could describe any preparation for a major sporting event, such as the Commonwealth Games as a ‘rollercoaster’ with many highs and many lows.
Draw a rollercoaster of any design you choose. Label different sections of the ‘ride’ with aspects of the journey on the way to reaching the pinnacle of the sport.
For example; training might be a steady incline as you gradually improve, reaching a personal best may be a peak, an injury might be dip or a downward spiral
Think of all aspects of preparation, such as early morning sessions and long training hours, achieving goals, personal bests, trying new training techniques.
Time: Allow 45 minutes
Curriculum links: English, Health and Physical Education
2. Emotional Highs and lows
The Commonwealth Games brings out a whole range of emotions for the athletes. From winning gold medals to pulling out due to injury, there is joy and heartbreak everywhere.
Think of 5-10 words that describe the emotions associated with winning gold medals and 5-10 words that describe the emotions associated with not achieving what you had hoped. You may find a thesaurus helpful for this activity.
Compare your list of words with a partner. Are they all the same? Combine your lists and write them in order of the strength of emotion. You may have as many as 20 words
For example; happy, delighted (slightly stronger), ecstatic (stronger again).
upset, disappointed, devastated,
Extension: Write a diary entry as one of the following people.
Sally Pearson after deciding not to compete
Sally’s coach, helping Sally to make this decision.
Gold medallist Mack Horton or one of the cycling gold medallists.
Use some of the words from your list above to help you portray the emotions of the person you select.
Time: Allow 30 minutes
Curriculum links: English, Personal and Social Capability
After reading the article, with a partner, highlight all the openers you can find in blue. Discuss if they are powerful and varied openers or not. Why do you think the journalists has used a mix of simple and power openers? Would you change any, and why?
IN ONE SENTENCE, TELL US WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT THIS STORY
Please do not use one-word answers. Explain what you enjoyed or found interesting about the article. Use lots of adjectives.