Athletes off to Paris

Joel Baden in action during the qualification of the World Athletics Championships in Budapest 2023. (EPA/ROBERT GHEMENT)

Two Geelong athletes were this week named in the Australian Olympics team.

Sprinter Mia Gross, from Torquay, will compete at her first Olympics and Drysdale high jumper Joel Baden will attend his second Games.

For 23-year-old Gross the announcement was the culmination of years of hard work.

“It’s been a hell of a journey to get here and I’m forever grateful to those who believed in me and got me to this moment today,” she said on Instagram.

“Special thanks go to my coach who is the mastermind behind it all, Mr John Nicolosi. And to my beautiful family who have been on this roller coaster ride with me since day one. To everyone who has followed along and been a part of this journey with me…we did it!”

Gross’ fellow Geelong Grammar graduate Lauren Ryan is also off to Paris with the 5000m added to her repertoire along with the 10km event she was picked for in April.

Baden, 28, made his Olympics debut in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, but missed selection for Tokyo.

“Beyond excited to announce I’ve been selected for my second Olympic Games,” he said on Instagram.

“To think I was only 20 years old when I first sported the rings, making my childhood dream come true to having another opportunity eight years later is a massive privilege.

“My athletics journey in between this time has been a mixed bag, filled with moments of extreme frustration and disappointment to the incredible highs and elation felt when you tap into your potential and hit a personal best.

“It’s a difficult arena to navigate, and I certainly wouldn’t have made it without the support of family, my training squad and the endless patience and guidance from Sandro Bisetto throughout all these years.

“In what can be a rather solipsistic sport, the most special memories I’ve had competing involved the shared experience and sense of community whilst jumping.

If I can tap into that, anything can happen these Games.”