Sportsworks olympians

by Kate Phillips
Publish date
20 July 2012
Comments (1)

Kate curated the Sportsworks exhibition at Scienceworks.

Some of the athletes who feature in the Sportsworks exhibition at Scienceworks are heading off to represent Australia in the Olympics in London. When we developed the exhibition in 2005, we interviewed 40 Victorian athletes to show inspiring people from a wide range of sports.

kids in Scienceworks Sportsworks gymnastic exhibit featuring Ashleigh Brennan aged 14.
Image: Kate Phillips
Source: Museum Victoria

Ashleigh Brennan, a gymnast we filmed when she was 14, is now 21 years old and is competing in her second Olympics. At the time we filmed her she was a promising young gymnast – but we had no idea that she would go on to compete at the highest level. We filmed her and five other gymnasts aged 7 to 14 for an exhibit where visitors have to be judges and give each athlete a score for their routine on the beam. This is a popular exhibit, particularly with aspiring gymnasts.

Girl smiling at camera Gymnast Ashleigh Brennan, aged 14.
Image: Jenni Meaney
Source: Museum Victoria

Even at 14 Ashleigh looks very strong, confident and skilful. During the time we spent with the girls and their coaches at the gymnasium, I was impressed by the effort and the hours they put in to their training. It was a big commitment for those children and their parents. But I also saw the joy they felt in learning to do some amazing things and the challenge of continually mastering new skills.

Girl walking along low beam A visitor balancing on the beam interactive exhibit.
Image: Kate Phillips
Source: Museum Victoria

One of the main messages of the exhibition is that no matter if you are short or tall or what your abilities are there is a sport that you can enjoy. Visitors can test themselves and measure a range of abilities in the exhibition then complete a questionnaire to match themselves with a sport.

At 147cm, Loudy Wiggins (Touky) is the shortest athlete on the Australian team. She is competing in the 10 m synchronised diving at her fourth Olympics. Again, I was delighted to discover that someone we featured in the exhibition seven years ago was still competing at this level and I can't wait to see her diving.

Rowie Webster, now aged 24, is competing in the water polo. When we featured her she was already a great competitor in the under-17 age group and told us 'My formula is hard work, plus focus, mixed with water, equals success!'

exhibition label with hand sillouette You can measure your proportions and compare your handspan with an outline of Drew Ginn's hand.
Image: Kate Phillips
Source: Museum Victoria

One measurement in the exhibition includes an outline of Drew Ginn's hand. As a rower you can bet that his hands, arms, shoulders and back are all very strong! He is competing in his fourth Olympics in the rowing fours. He was a member of the famous 'Oarsome Foursome' crew that won gold at the Atlanta 1996 Olympics. Ginn went on to win two more gold medals at Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008.

Best of luck to all the athletes – we hope all your hard work is rewarded. Your skill and dedication inspire us.


Athlete profiles on the official London 2012 AOC site:

Ashleigh Brennan

Loudy Wiggins (Tourky)

Rowie Webster

Drew Ginn

Comments (1)

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Martin Bush 31 July, 2012 10:00
There is also at least one near miss. The Australian women's soccer team narrowly failed to qualify for the tournament. If they had made it, playing for certain would be the current captain and goalkeeper Melissa Barbieri, who is also featured in Sportsworks.
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About this blog

Updates on what's happening at Melbourne Museum, the Immigration Museum, Scienceworks, the Royal Exhibition Building, and beyond.