Michael Shelley, Liam Adams and Scott Westcott have been confirmed to join the green and gold team for Australia at the Rio Games. Image – Getty Images.
Australian Olympic Committee
The road to Rio 2016 is long for all athletes, yet marathon runners have literally run to Brazil and back several times over in determination to wear the green and gold at the Olympic Games.
Today the places on the men’s marathon start line were confirmed by selectors for Liam Adams from Victoria, Michael Shelley from Queensland and Scott Westcott from NSW. These three join ladies Milly Clark, Jess Trengove and Lisa Weightman who were selected last month.
Adams will make his Olympic debut in Rio after forcing his way on the team with a fantastic fifth at the Warsaw Marathon on the final weekend of the qualifying period.
Shelley is the 2014 Commonwealth Champion and the Gold Coast runner is on track to improve on his 16th place on Olympic debut at London 2012.
Westcott, from Newcastle, is a remarkable story of persistence – he will become Australia’s oldest athletics competitor to make his Games debut when he takes the Rio starting line at the age of 40 years and 331 days.
His performance at the Berlin Marathon in October last year was enough to secure a spot for the father of three, who has been chasing his Olympic dream since the 1990s.
“I still can’t believe it,” he said.
“My dream began when I was 16, I had run qualifying times for three Olympic Games back since Sydney 2000 and for some reason my attempts to retire from competitive running in 2013 were only half hearted; something kept me going.”
Westcott said having hunger and wonderful coaches over the years is the secret to his selection at 40.
“Having hunger and desire are essential,” Westcott explained.
“No doubt all athletes on the Australian Olympic team have this, I believe I have kept my hunger burning for close to 20 years.
“The secret physically is having a series of wonderful coaches who all worked together in building an athlete rather than flogging one.
“I am proud beyond words to represent all the people who have helped me along the long road I have taken.
Westcott is confident he is on track for a top performance in Rio.
He will be the third oldest athletics competitor to wear the green and gold at the Olympics behind 50kms walker Willia Sawall (42 yrs 270 days) and marathon runner Susan Hobson (42 yrs 200 days).
The Rio marathons will start and finish at the famous Sambódromo, the legendary home of the Rio Carnival parade, with a loop course near the edge of Guanabara Bay.
The men’s race will be held on the final morning of the Games on Sunday, August 21.
These three athletes take the Athletics section so far to 41 and the overall team to 137, with an expected final team of around 440 athletes.