ANU alumni shine at Tokyo 2020

17 Aug 2021

We are proud of our alumni Olympians who represented Australia at Tokyo 2020. Athlete Angeline Blackburn (BSc '15, BA '15) participated in the Women's 4x400m relay, and rowers Jess Morrison (BEc '15), Caleb Antill (BComm '19) and Luke Letcher (current student) won medals to become Olympic champions.

Jessica won a gold medal as part of the winning Australian team in the women's coxless four rowing event. A national champion, she also participated in the 2016 Rio Olympics. Caleb and Luke raced in the Australian men's quad scull to a bronze medal.

For Caleb, who has rowed with ANU Boat Club, winning at the Olympics was a dream come true.

"Wearing the green and gold gave us the support of every Australian watching and we could almost hear the cheers from back home," says Caleb. "We went to the games with a mindset of doing our absolute best in every aspect of our lives, to row our fastest race and I know we achieved that."

Luke was struck by the passion and energy at the Olympic village, and within the Australian team. Winning the medal was the culmination of an emotional journey.

"It meant so much to me that I'd been able to do it with the group of guys in the boat and build our crew from the ground up," says Luke. "It also meant a huge amount to me to be able to do it for all the people that had supported me in my journey to get there."

Angeline's childhood dream of competing in the Olympics was realised in Tokyo. She spoke of the dedication and optimistic attitude needed to be an Olympian.

"An Olympian is someone who constantly tests their ability and develops their craft. Often they are a visionary and can see the opportunities available to them when others do not. They are willing to learn and fail. To be an Olympian, you need to be prepared to have your character tested, over and over again."

Kieran Pender (BA (Hon) '16, LLB (Hon) '18), who was in Tokyo covering the games for The Guardian, was thrilled to see fellow alumni contribute to Australia's medal haul.

"I actually rowed in the same program in high school as Luke Letcher, so it was great to see him winning a medal for Australia while I was here covering the Games," says Kieran. "Covering any major international sporting event is a mix of excitement and exhaustion, but these Games were something else entirely - empty stadiums and Covid restrictions on one hand, incredible sporting feats on the other. Truly, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."

"These Games have been fantastic. At a personal level, I am glad they went ahead, though they have also coincided with a major Covid surge in Tokyo. I feel for the Japanese people, who couldn't even watch them in person due to Covid-related restrictions."

Page Owner: Alumni