Jack Hargreaves (third from the left) with the gold medal winning Men's Fours rowing team at the Tokyo Olympics. Photo courtesy: Australian Olympic Committee Facebook.

A strong contingent of rural Olympians from country NSW were in form at the Tokyo Olympic Games with Nyngan rower Jack Hargreaves bringing home a gold medal in the men’s fours and Olympic veteran Andrew Hoy, 62, notching two medals at his eighth Olympics.

Walgett rower Jack O’Brien also made it into the finals of the men’s eight, whilst former Brewarrina boy Richie Campbell was a key member of the Australian men’s water polo team and contributed three goals in Australia’s pool match against Croatia in Tokyo.

Andrew Hoy comes from the NSW town of Culcairn and now has six Olympic medals to his name after winning an individual bronze in the equestrian, plus a silver in the team event. His stunning performance in Tokyo means he is now Australia’s oldest Olympic medallist, according to the ABC.

rural Olympians
Andrew Hoy in his bronze medal winning equestrian performance at the Tokyo Olympic Games. Photo credit: Australian Olympic Committee

His mother, Dorothy Hoy, told the ABC it was very exciting to watch her son compete in the middle of the night, Australian time.

“It was exciting. First of all the team and then the individual, I don’t think we expected that,” Mrs Hoy told the ABC.

Speaking in Tokyo after his medal wins, Mr Hoy attributed his successful longevity in equestrian competition to his genetics.

“My father was into motor racing and was also an engineer, he had incredible attention to detail,” Andrew told The Australian Olympic Committee website.

“I’m naturally pretty healthy, but I’m conscious of what I eat, and I lead a healthy lifestyle.”

When Brisbane 2032 comes around Hoy will be 73, but he hasn’t ruled out competing.

Mr Hoy’s Olympic journey started in Los Angeles in 1984 and was followed by Seoul (1988), Barcelona (1992), Atlanta (1996), Sydney (2000), Athens (2004) and London (2012). The Tokyo Olympics Games will be his eighth.

Rural Olympians: Gold medal for Jack Hargreaves

Jack Hargreaves’ gold medal win in the men’s fours came on a golden day for Australia at Tokyo Bay’s Sea Forest Waterway. First the Australian women’s four won gold and then the men’s four did the same thing – all while watched on by James Tomkins, an Australian rowing legend and member of Australia’s Oarsome Foursome.

rural Olympians
Nyngan’s Jack Hargreaves was part of the gold medal winning Australian fours men’s rowing team at the Tokyo Olympics. Photo courtesy: Rowing Australia

“The win kind of hit us after we got off the water, but it still hasn’t really sunk in yet,” Jack Hargreaves told the Australian Olympic Team’s Facebook page.

“It wasn’t until the last 100 metres we had a look and thought ‘we better finish this one off’ because they were coming home pretty hard, so it was just great.”

Hargreaves was born in Wellington, NSW, and then grew up at Bourke and Nyngan in the state’s west. He rows for Sydney University but has also rowed for his former school, St Joseph’s College at Hunters Hill. He is currently studying a Bachelor of Clinical Exercise Physiology at Sydney University and is a graduate of the NSW Institute of Sport.

Jack O’Brien, who grew up on a broadacre farm 17 kilometres south of  Walgett, has also had a brilliant Olympics making it into the finals in the men’s eight rowing event.

rural Olympians
Walgett’s Jack O’Brien was part of the Men’s Eight which made it to the finals at the Tokyo Olympics. Photo courtesy: Rowing Australia

The Tokyo Olympics marked the fourth Olympics for Richie Campbell, who was born in Brewarrina and now plays for the UNSW Wests Water Polo Club.

rural Olympians
Richie Campbell (left) was born in Brewarrina. The Tokyo Olympics marked the fourth time he was represented Australia in the water polo at the Olympics. Photo courtesy: UNSW Wests Waterpolo

The Australian women’s hockey team, the Hockeyroos, is also dominated by team members from NSW country areas.

Striker Emily Chalker is from Crookwell, while defender Kate Jenner hails from Mudgee. Mariah Williams, also a striker, comes from Parkes.

The Hockeyroos made it through to the quarter finals in Tokyo but lost in a major upset against India 1–0.

rural Olympians
The Hockeyroos celebrate their 1-0 defeat of Japan to score a quarter final berth at the Tokyo Olympics. Photo courtesy: Hockey Australia

Congratulations to all our rural Olympians and well done on a great effort as always.

If you enjoyed this story, you may also be interested in the Kids to Farms project currently being facilitated by NSW Farmers across the state.

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