Georgia Winkcup at the Olympic Village at Tokyo 2020.

Georgia Winkcup at the Olympic Village at Tokyo 2020. Image: Georgia Winkcup / Instagram

Georgia Winkcup is running at Tokyo 2020 in the 3000m steeplechase. She's running with a family legacy, and a bright legal future too.

Georgia Winkcup will be competing in the Women’s 300m Steeplechase at Tokyo 2020 later this morning. Keep up to date with all the happenings at Tokyo 2020 through The Inner Sanctum’s Olympic hub and Olympic Central.

The Olympics are somewhat of a family thing for Winkcup, but it’s not the only part of her life where she is on track for success. WInkcup’s grandmother, Betty Moore, was an Australian who emigrated to the United Kingdom in the late 1950s.

Moore was selected for the Rome 1960 Olympics as a hurdler for Great Britain. At that time, she had been living in Great Britain for 22 months, which wasn’t enough for her to qualify under the residency requirement. Moore was disqualified, and despite running at the Empire and Commonwealth Games, she never got to go to the Olympics.

Winkcup is coached by her grandmother, who also coaches hurdles at a Sydney school.

“She coaches me in the same way, but she’s really improved my steepling ability,” Winkcup told The Inner Sanctum.

“It’s nice to know she’s part of this journey, and she’s obviously part of me and my abilities, and she’s part of the reason so I’m going to be on the start line.”

“I’m doing it, obviously not just for her, but for lots of reasons, but I’ll take a little bit of her with me in that she’s given me this cute little Olympic logo badge to take with me,” she explained.

Georgia Winkcup shows off her grandmother's badge.
Georgia Winkcup shows off her grandmother’s badge. Image: Supplied

Despite the genetics, Winkcup wasn’t always destined for the Olympics. As a young child, her enthusiasm outstripped the early vision of talent, by her modest accounts.

“We started when we were pretty young, and I was particularly terrible at every event. I did everything, I did the hurdle, because my grandmother was a hurdler, did them horribly, came last. I did all the throws, and came last. I probably came second or third last in the distance events, so eve then, that was my event,” Winkcup explained.

“I remember my first steeple was horrific, I completely submerged myself in the water jump, and I got severe chafing and I was in joggers, and they got so heavy,” the 24 year old said.

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“Uni was when it started to be a bit more serious, and I qualified for World Juniors in my second year of Uni, and the Championships were in Bydgoszcz in Poland, and that was the start of the serious time.”

After the World Junior Championships, Winkcup actually took a bit of time off, and focussed on her studies at university. She studies law, and is a paralegal, and will likely be admitted to practice in the next year or so.

“I loved it [legal studies] mainly because of the problem solving aspect, and the high pressure scenarios,” she explained. “When you’re given a task where you’re not certain you know all the law in that area, or if there is any kind of hard cut law in the area,” that is the challenge that Winkcup thrives in.

“It’s very similar in my athletics experiences that I might be going into a race where I feel underprepared, or might feel like I’m not as good as everybody else, but just doing things you won’t be comfortable with, both on the track or in the legal profession, have a similar approach to those kinds of challenges,” Winkcup explained.

A future litigator, she explained that the love of litigation is often because there is no clear-cut answer, and the problem solving challenge, and making a compelling argument to fill a gap is what appeals to her.

Winkcup’s journey to the courtroom probably looks a little bit different if not for a slight change of plans during university holidays in 2019. As she tells it, her Olympic qualification as born from a phone call that changed a Contiki trip, and a trip that has been put on ice for now.

“After World Junior Championships, I didn’t actually steeple for a few years, because of a couple of different niggles and my coach passed away with Motor Neuron Disease,” the 24 year old said.

“Going into 2019, my aim was to make World University Championships, that was where I saw the next stepping stone,” she said. “Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough races in that 2019 season to get used to the steeple again, and have those bad races you’ll inevitably have after three years without having seen a steeple.”

After Nationals, Winkcup made plans for a holiday with a friend, and a Contiki trip in Europe, but it was not to be.

“I got told by Athletics Australia that I’d been selected to run at the Oceania Championships,” Winkcup explained. With the Championships in Townsville, WInkcup went along for a run, just to have a go.

“I went in to the race feeling that I was fitter than my PB had shown, and how I had gone throughout the domestic season, but what I didn’t know was that I was actually a lot faster than I thought, and ran a 30 second personal best,” WInkcup said.

The Oceania Championships was a race that had qualifying points for Olympic selection, and after finishing second, Winkcup had suddenly banked quite a few.

“I was told by all these people I needed to reconsider my trip and I needed to go race in Europe to try and make World Championships.”

So Winkcup went and raced, and went on an abridged holiday, and feeling refreshed, came back relaxed, and qualified for the World Championships, which led to Olympic qualification.

“I was feeling like a fish out of water, a bit out of my depth, but it was an incredible experience,” Winkcup reflected. “Without having been invited to the Oceania Championships, I would have likely gone on my Contiki trip, never made World Champs, and never been in a position to go to the Olympics.”

While Winkcup still hasn’t had the chance to make that trip, it’s a little lower on the priorities at this point. First up this morning, the heats of the Women’s 3000m Steeplechase. Then returning to Australia, getting through quarantine, and working on admission to the Supreme Court of NSW, as a lawyer.

Whatever happens in the heats this morning, you can bet that those in both Athletics and legal circles will be hearing more about Georgia Winkcup.

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