Lucas Hamilton joins the Australian Olympic team

Lucas Hamilton will live out his Olympic Dream after being added to the road cycling team. Photo: Lucas Hamilton - Twitter

Two new additions have been made to the Australian Olympic Team with cyclist Lucas Hamilton and steeplechaser Matthew Clarke making their debuts.

Just when it seemed like the Australian Olympic Team for Tokyo was finalised with 472 athletes, cyclist Lucas Hamilton and steeplechaser Matthew Clarke were selected stretching the team out to 474.

Currently riding the Tour de France, Hamilton comes into the road cycling team following the withdrawal of Cameron Meyer earlier this week. Clarke managed to secure a last-minute quota to earn his Olympic debut.

Already finishing in the top-10 in major stage races this year, finishing fourth in Paris-Nice and 10th in Volta a Catalunya, the 25-year-old has ridden well on the tour this year, riding in the breakaway during stage nine alongside fellow Australian and stage winner Ben O’Connor.

Clarke missed selection originally through no fault of his own, failing to secure qualification in June by less than a second twice, running 8.22.62 and 8.22.13 before qualification closed, needing a time of 8.22.00, leading to heartbreak for Clarke.

However, following the withdrawal of a foreign athlete earlier this week the 26-year-old received a roll down quota placement earning him an Olympic debut in Tokyo.

Ian Chesterman, Chef de Mission for the Australian Olympic Team commended Hamilton and Clarke’s dedication to their sports.

“Congratulations to Lucas and Matthew on making the Team for Tokyo and making their Olympic debut,” Mr Chesterman said.

“We are thrilled to have both of these highly dedicated athletes on the Australian Olympic Team and we know they will represent Australia, their sport, teammates and families with distinction.

“To Cam and his family, we know it is a tough time, and you are in our thoughts.”

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The inclusion of Clarke stretches the Athletics team to 64, a welcome addition to the largest Athletics team for an overseas Olympics. The 26-year-old described the selection news as surreal, crying upon hearing the news.

“It’s so surreal to not only be selected but for it to have happened the way it did,” Clarke said.

“I woke up this morning and asked my girlfriend if the selection was real or a dream. I couldn’t comprehend it, but it is a real dream come true to be going to the Olympics.”

“I came so close to the automatic qualifier in the last few days before the qualification deadline.

“The top 45 are offered spots to compete at the Olympics, and after the roll down I was ranked number 46 which was heartbreaking. It’s a one in a thousand chance that someone would pull out.

“When I saw my phone ringing, I had a butterfly feeling inside my stomach but when Athletics Australia told me that they had some good news, I started crying.”

NameEventOlympic Games
Matthew ClarkeAthletics – 3000m SteeplechaseDebut
Lucas HamiltonCycling – Road RaceDebut

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics Opens on July 23, with the Australian flag bearers getting announced on July 7.

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