Triple Olympic medal holder Jared Tallent was yesterday (January 8) confirmed as part of the Australian Olympic team for the 2016 Rio Games, along with 34-year-old veteran Chris Erickson and Erickson’s student athlete Brendon Reading.
At the London Games, Tallent was beaten by accused Russian drug cheat Sergey Kirdyapkin in the 50kms race walk and this year he will aim to claim the gold he so deserved in 2012.
A decision has not yet been made in Kirdyapkins court case, where he may be stripped of his gold medal.
Tallent, 31, told the Australian Olympic Committee he was intent on winning the gold this time around.
“This one’s going to be pretty special after what happened at the last Olympics,” he said.
“I’m so well prepared I can get some redemption in Rio.”
Tallent is also chasing selection in the 20kms race walk division and was thrilled to hear his fellow colleagues would be by his side every step of the way – literally.
“It’s a great group and we’re all great friends and these are the best guys to be on the team with in this event,” he said.
Erickson’s history includes participating in the 20kms walk at both the 2012 London Games and 2008 Beijing Games, and placing 13th in the 50kms event at the 2015 IAAF World Athletics Championships.
Rio will be his first time competing in the Olympic 50kms event – his favoured distance, and the father of two revealed he felt like somewhat of a rookie.
“I’m extremely stoked to be going to my third Games but for me I somewhat look at it like it’s my first Olympics again,” he said.
“I finally get my chance at the 50 which is my preferred event and the other satisfying thing is to be selected at the earliest possible opportunity as well.
“It’s nice to be able to have a full preparation over the next seven months and really look to have the performance of my life in Rio and push for that top eight.”
Race walking is in Erickson’s genetics, with his father Tim Erickson representing Australia at the 1978 and 1982 Commonwealth Games.
Athletics is expected to be the largest section of the 2016 Australian Olympic team.
The next selections for athletics will follow the 20kms walk trials in February.