Australia has finished its Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympics campaign with four gold medals, eight silver and another four bronze to go with personal bests and invaluable experience on the biggest stage for young elite athletes.
Headlined by a golden Thursday in which Grace Kim (golf), Karl Vilips (golf) and Kaylee McKeown (50m backstroke) claimed the first three of Australia’s gold medals, the 88-strong Team finished 12th on the medal table, ahead of traditional Olympic powerhouses like Great Britain and Germany.
The team performed in front of heaving crowds, with more than 600 000 spectators across the 12 days of competition.
Sydneysider Kim and US-based Vilips won a golden golf double for Australia, taking home the women’s and men’s individual strokeplay after three days of world class competition.
Kim, who carried the flag at the Closing Ceremony, was mobbed by Australian supporters including Rio gold medallist pentathlete Chloe Esposito, who joined the Team in Argentina as a mentor.
“I’m blown away, it’s so special to win an Olympic medal,” Kim said. “It means so much to me to even be selected to represent Australia, but to win gold and carry the flag is just amazing.” MORE HERE
Australia’s swimmers got the team off to a strong start, earning a gold, three silver and two bronze. Queenslander Kaylee McKeown was responsible for a gold (50m backstroke), two silver (4 x 100 medley relay and 100m backstroke) and a bronze (200m backstroke) to be Australia’s top individual medal winner.
Michaela Ryan won Australia’s first medal of the Games, taking bronze in the 200m butterfly, while Chelsea Hodges grabbed silver in the 50m breaststroke.
Abbey Webb joined McKeown, Ryan and Hodges to claim silver in the 4x100m medley. MORE HERE
Flagbearer Keely Small capped off her campaign with a commanding gold medal performance in the women’s 800m, highlighting an outstanding performance from the entire athletics team which bagged a gold and four silver.
Brisbane’s Josh Cowley jumped a 30cm personal best of 7.82m to win silver in long jump, Oscar Miers launched for an 8cm personal best of 2.22m to win high jump silver, and Jaylah Hancock-Cameron ran a personal best for 1500m silver. All Australian athletes finished in the top 10 to go with an impressive medal and personal best results. MORE HERE
“The whole experience has been amazing - to be announced as flagbearer and then seeing the Australian flag raised from on top of the podium, I’m so stoked and so proud,” said Canberra-based Small.
Queensland rower Cormac Kennedy-Leverett won bronze in the 500m sprint in front of enormous crowds at the iconic Puente de la Mujer bridge, enjoying the shorter ‘drag race’ distance in contrast to the traditional 2000m. MORE HERE
Newcastle’s Jess Pickering jumped her way to an outstanding silver medal in the women’s trampoline gymnastics, becoming the first Australian to ever medal in trampoline at a Youth Olympics. MORE HERE
The women’s 3x3 basketball team of Alex Fowler (Townsville), Sara-Rose Smith (Melbourne), Rosie Deegan (Perth) and Ruby Porter (Adelaide) capped off Australia’s medal performances in dramatic fashion, losing an epic overtime thriller to France in the semi-finals before dominating China in the bronze medal game just an hour later.
The team came into the tournament as underdogs, only playing together for the first time days before leaving for Argentina.
“It’s amazing coming into the competition ranked almost last, then getting through top of the pool and winning bronze. It hasn’t sunk in yet, but it’s incredible,” Fowler said. MORE HERE
Australia also won a slew of medals in mixed international events, a unique feature of the Youth Olympic experience. Rinky Hijikata won men’s doubles silver with a Bulgarian partner, going down to an Argentinian pairing in front of huge home crowd. MORE HERE
Triathlete’s Josh Ferris and Charlotte Derbyshire paired with New Zealand to take silver in the mixed team triathlon relay. After expressing disappointment in their individual results, the pair bounced back to drive their team to silver. MORE HERE
Trampoline gymnast Liam Christie and Lidiia Iakovleva both medalled in the international multi-discipline team event, competing in teams of 13 across all gymnastics disciplines. Christie took home a team gold with Iakovleva winning bronze. MORE HERE
Badminton player Zecily Fung won bronze as part of an eight person mixed team, narrowly winning her team bronze medal playoff. MORE HERE