Bronte Campbell. Picture: Adam Head
Bronte Campbell. Picture: Adam Head

Athletes who defined the 2018 Games

Robert 'Crash' Craddock runs through the athletes and moments that defined the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

 

SUPERSTARS

The Campbells (Australia, swimming):

If it wasn't Cate it was Bronte. They provided the headlines, the drama, the upset, the intrigue.

They shared a world record in the relay. Cate beat Bronte when it mattered. Bronte beat Cate when it mattered more.

They became a study in humanity, how they would accept being beaten by the other. In the end they finished with three golds each, a result which left both satisfied but teasingly short of a perfect result.

Cate and Bronte Campbell. (AAP Image/Darren England)
Cate and Bronte Campbell. (AAP Image/Darren England)

Taylor Ruck (Canada, swimming):

Talk about stamina. Her schedule would tire the Energiser Bunny.

Ruck, 17, just kept producing high standard swims throughout the meet and finished with eight medals for the meet. She tied the record for most medals at a single games with swim stars Ralph Hutton (1966) of Canada, and Australians Susie O'Neill (1998) and Emily Seebohm (2010). Her only gold was a rousing win over fellow 17-year-old Titmus in the 200m freestyle and she pocketed five silvers and two bronze medals.

Canada's Taylor Ruck. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press via AP)
Canada's Taylor Ruck. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press via AP)

Mitch Larkin (Australia, swimming):

The Clark Kent of the pool finally found his phone box.

His Superman effort to win five gold medals proved that you don't have to be an alpha male to boss your way around a pool. Humble and unassuming, he is perhaps too consumed by his technique for his own good but it clicked when it mattered.

Mitch Larkin. Picture: Adam Head
Mitch Larkin. Picture: Adam Head

Caster Semenya (South Africa, athletics):

Bolted home to win the 1500m and, as always, was a figure of enormous intrigue.

Her career faces more turbulence later this year when a rule is introduced that decrees limits for testosterone levels within female athletes but she is a renowned fighter with an indomitable spirit.

Caster Semenya. (AFP PHOTO/SAEED KHAN)
Caster Semenya. (AFP PHOTO/SAEED KHAN)

Stephanie Morton (Australia, cycling):

Long been hailed as the likely inheritor of Anna Meares title of the queen of the track this was her coronation as she won the team sprint, the sprint, and the keirin.

She lost by a feather in the 500m time trial so there is much to look forward to in Tokyo 2020 where she looks ready to post a supreme challenge for gold following the two world championship silvers which were part of her ascension.

Stephanie Morton. (Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)
Stephanie Morton. (Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

 

THE RISING STARS

Ariarne Titmus (Australia, swimming):

Rising star? More like proven medal winner but given that she is just 17 and has shaved 12 seconds off her 400m time in two years the winner of the 400m and 800m freestyle double there is still boundless potential to be tapped.

Pool legend Tracey Wickham believes Titmus will be at her peak at the 2020 Games in Tokyo.

As tough as fellow Launceston sporting star David Boon, she is made for the high pressure world of Olympic sport.

Ariarne Titmus. (AAP Image/Darren England)
Ariarne Titmus. (AAP Image/Darren England)

Ezi Magbegor (Australia, basketball):

Dubbed "the future of the Opals'' by coach Sandy Brondello, the gifted 18-year-old looks made for the big time following her seamless transition to international basketball.

If Liz Cambage is the new Lauren Jackson then Magbegor is the new Cambage. One great player does not make a team so Magbegor's development is crucial for the Opals.

Ezi Magbegor. (AAP Image/Michael Chambers)
Ezi Magbegor. (AAP Image/Michael Chambers)

Kelland O'Brien (Australia, cycling):

At 19, he is only just old enough to ride for Australia due to a quirky age rule but he helped Australia snatch a world record in the team pursuit with a cavalier performance.

Such is his maturity and leadership ability that he is already being called the team captain even though he is the baby of the side.

Australia's Kelland O'Brien, Alex Porter, Sam Welsford and Leigh Howard celebrate their gold medal win and new world record in the men's 4000m team pursuit. (AFP PHOTO/Patrick HAMILTON)
Australia's Kelland O'Brien, Alex Porter, Sam Welsford and Leigh Howard celebrate their gold medal win and new world record in the men's 4000m team pursuit. (AFP PHOTO/Patrick HAMILTON)

Jemima Montag (Australia, walking):

The heart-wrenching disqualification of Claire Talent masked the stunning emergence of this 20-year-old gun from Melbourne having just her third attempt at the 20km event.

She won gold having been just a few metres behind Tallent when she was disqualified and stamp herself as a walker with an Olympic future.

Australia's Jemima Montag. (AFP PHOTO/Adrian DENNIS)
Australia's Jemima Montag. (AFP PHOTO/Adrian DENNIS)

Edward Zakayo (Kenya, athletics):

Put his name on your fridge and watch him go at the Tokyo Olympics in two years time.

Zakayo, 16, is the youngest male athletics medallist at a Commonwealth/Empire Games since 1934.

He ran third to Uganda's outstanding Joshua Kiprui Cheptegei in a tactical 5000m race at Carrara Stadium.

Edward Pingua Zakayo. (Michael Dodge/Getty Images)
Edward Pingua Zakayo. (Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

 

THE SHOOTING STARS

The Malawi moment (netball):

Malawi's 57-53 defeat of New Zealand was branded by one Kiwi scribe as "like the All Blacks lost to Namibia.''

It was that chastening. It was the most talked about result of the Games and it brought a new, fresh flavour to an international dominated by Australia and New Zealand with England and Jamaica not far behind.

Malawi celebrates beating New Zealand. (Chris Hyde/Getty Images)
Malawi celebrates beating New Zealand. (Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Aisha Praught (Jamaica, athletics):

Jamaicans - like the rest of the world - are supposed to be reeled in by Kenyans in distance races but Praught turned the world upside down. She took the highly rated Kenyans by surprise with a withering final lap to win a stirring 3000m steeplechase final.

Aisha Praught during the steeplechase final. (Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
Aisha Praught during the steeplechase final. (Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Duncan Scott (Scotland, swimming):

A Scottish 100m freestyle champion is likely as an Australian haggis eating champion but it happened. Kyle Chalmers was supposed to win the 100m freestyle or, at the very worst, finish second to an Australian. Up bobbed Scotland's Duncan Scott whose victory was so unexpected one headline called him Scott Duncan.

Scotland's Duncan Scott. (AFP PHOTO/FRANCOIS XAVIER MARIT)
Scotland's Duncan Scott. (AFP PHOTO/FRANCOIS XAVIER MARIT)

Akani Simbine, (South Africa, athletics):

Such was the long, wide shadow cast by Usain Bolt in the Rio 100m that everyone behind him became invisible - including the man who ran fifth.

Simbine's breakthrough win came in a race expected to be dominated by Yohan Blake who missed the start. Athletics insiders were surprised but not shocked for Simbine's star has been rising steadily for years.

 

THE TRIPLE TREAT

(Australia, athletics):

It's not often that runners get recognition for simply standing and waiting but it happened at the Games.

Lineo Chaka is greeted by Aussies Eloise Wellings, Madeline Hills and Celia Sullohern. (Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)
Lineo Chaka is greeted by Aussies Eloise Wellings, Madeline Hills and Celia Sullohern. (Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Australian trio Eloise Wellings, Madeline Hills and Celia Sullohern ran in the 10,000m at the Games but gained global recognition for waiting to and greet the final runner, Lineo Chaka of the little known nation of Lesotho who came in last place over five minutes behind the winner. It may be the most famous act of their careers.

Akani Simbine, of South Africa. (Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
Akani Simbine, of South Africa. (Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

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