Oceana Mackenzie officially named on the Australian Olympic Team headed to Paris

Source: Australian Olympic Committee

Twenty-one-year-old Oceania Mackenzie returns for her second Olympic campaign after competing at the sport's Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020, while 26-year-old Campbell will compete at his first Olympics in Paris.

The pair will both contest the combined lead/boulder event, attempting to reach as many handhold checkpoints in six minutes high above the crowd in lead, and solve climbing puzzles on a four metre wall in bouldering.

The pair qualified for the Games by winning the 2023 Oceania Championships, with their selection to the Australian Olympic Team made official today.

Chef de Mission for the 2024 Australian Olympic Team Anna Meares welcomed today's selections.

"Congratulations to Oceania and Campbell on making the Australian Olympic Team for Paris," Ms Meares said.

"Sport climbing was such an exciting addition to the Olympic programme at Tokyo and I am thrilled that Oceania and Campbell will showcase sport climbing to Australia and the world in Paris.

"Oceania and Campbell have already shown they are at the top of their sport in the Oceania region and have achieved impressive results overseas.

"Today's selection is testament to the hard work they have put into honing their skills, and a day to celebrate for all those who have helped them reach this milestone.

"Congratulations not only to Oceania and Campbell, but your families, friends, coaches, the Victorian Institute of Sport and the Sport Climbing Australia team, who have helped you on your journey to represent Australia in Paris."

Today's selections are the first of 2024, with Mackenzie and Harrison joining three athletes (swimmer Chelsea Gubecka, canoeist Jess Fox and sailor Breiana Whitehead) who were announced in 2023, bringing the number of selected athletes to five of an expected 460-480 Australian team size.

Oceania has consistently raised the standard for Australian climbers, achieving Australia's best ever result at a World Championships with 7th in 2023 and the first Australian climber to make a World Cup final.

The Melbourne based climber said she is keen to use her Tokyo Olympic experience to propel her even further in Paris and inspire more people to give climbing a go.

"I'm beyond excited to be heading to Paris for my second Games," Oceania said. "I've actually never been to Paris so this will be a fun and new experience!"

"Having already been immersed in that kind of Olympic environment will allow me to focus more on my climbing.

"One of my favourite things about climbing, is the supportive and social community, so I hope people seeing climbing in the Games will help spark their interest in the sport."

"I love the feeling of working on something that feels so physically and mentally hard. Climbing is also so diverse in its movements which I love. Learning new moves every session - it's very addictive," she said.

Campbell said making the Australian Olympic Team is the fulfilment of a dream almost a decade in the making.

"Qualifying for the Olympic Games is a dream that I've been fighting for close to eight years now, finally realising it is beyond words!" Campbell said.

"I'm not sure that it's fully sunk in yet that I'll actually be an Olympian in August this year, but I'm doing everything I can to be as ready as possible for the Games.

"When everything came together at our qualifying event, and I knew I had made it, it was completely surreal. I'm not sure I've ever had such a strong emotional response like that before. I'm feeling a mixture of joy, pride, and relief in knowing that all the work I've done and everything I've sacrificed has come together.

"I think climbing has a lot to offer the world of sport and beyond, and I can't wait for more people to discover that. I hope that many more people are able to see what a great spectator sport can be, and that they might even want to try it out themselves.

"Climbing never gets old! There's always something else you can try, new ways to train, and entirely new goals to set your sights on. I also love the way that climbing is something I can share with the people I love, regardless of skill level, because there's always something in the gym or at the crag for everyone."

Sport Climbing Australia Chair Philip Goebel celebrated today's selections.

"Sport Climbing Australia congratulates Oceania and Campbell for their selection to Australian Olympic Team for the Paris 2024 Games," Mr Goebel said.

"Both of these athletes have demonstrated an incredible amount of dedication to our sport and will be stellar ambassadors at the second Games for Sport Climbing."

"2023 was an historic year for Australian sport climbing high performance results, in large part due to Oceania's stellar 2023 performances resulting in a 6th place overall season ranking in Boulder - the first time an Australian has achieved a top 10 season ranking."

"Campbell's results show his dedication to improving at international events and growth as an athlete. Sport Climbing Australia is also grateful to Campbell for his important contributions to strengthening the LGBTIQ+ climbing community making our sport more inclusive and welcoming to all Australians."

The sport climbing competition will run from 5 to 10 August at the Le Bourget Venue.

While sport climbing at Tokyo 2020 consisted of one combined lead/boulder/speed competition per gender, at Paris 2024 there is a speed event and a combined lead/boulder.

Australian climbers have further chances to qualify for the Paris Olympics through the Olympic Qualifier Series, running from March to June 2024.

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