Commonwealth Games Australia alumni Matt Denny and Brandon Starc both showed out on the world stage at the Olympics despite narrowly missing out on a medal.
It was a brilliant effort from both men who took it up to the world and should be feeling very unlucky to walk away without a medal to show for it.
First up was Gold Coast 2018 silver medallist Denny, who finished fourth overall in the men’s discus final and missed out on a medal by just five centimetres.
The Queenslander has gone from strength to strength since winning silver at the Gold Coast Games.
In 2019, Denny won the World University games discus title and later followed that triumph with a sixth-place finish at the 2019 World Athletics Championships in Doha. In doing so, Denny became just the second man in Australian history to finish that high at a global meet (Olympics and World Championships).
Denny’s Olympic plans hit a snag when he was sidelined for a few months towards the back end of 2020 with a serious rib injury. Thankfully, it didn’t derail him too badly as he came out and won the national title and then qualified for the Olympics in June with a personal best throw of 66.15m.
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Fast forward to August and Denny now carries the title of the most successful Australian Olympic discus athlete of all time.
The Aussie won his way through to the final where he put on a fantastic performance, launching all six throws above the 65-metre mark.
It all came down to his last throw where he threw a personal best of 67.02m, but unfortunately fell just five centimetres short of a medal.
“To be so close to making so much history really hurts. Just five centimetres off – the size of a beer can,” Denny told Channel 7.
“To me, it was just like a clinic. I just kept hitting them and didn’t miss, didn’t foul and delivered when it counted.
“I’m glad to [have] thrown my best at an Olympics but my goal is to win and to do my best.”
Denny was later seen cheering on his roommate Brandon Starc as he competed in the men’s high jump final.
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Like Denny, Starc fell agonisingly short of a medal in what turned out to be the most hotly contested men’s high jump final in history.
It’s been a steady career build for Starc since finishing eighth at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games as a 21-year-old.
He then finished in 15th place at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games where he jumped a personal best of 2.30 metres.
Starc’s coming out moment was at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games where he won gold with a personal best jump of 2.32 metres in the final.
Following on from his success at the Gold Coast Games, Starc managed to jump an equal Australian record of 2.36 metres – a jump that moved him to equal third-best in the world.
He headed into Tokyo with a fourth national high jump title under his belt and a qualifying jump of 2.33m – his best result for three years.
Starc can hold his head high after an exciting Olympic campaign that saw him jump higher than any Australian has ever done at an Olympics.
The Aussie landed in fifth after a jump of 2.35m – just one centimetre shy of his personal best and a jump that would have secured him a medal in most other Olympic competitions.
“That was hard – 2.35m to come fifth. I don’t even know if that’s happened before,” Starc told Channel 7.
“I thought I was a genuine chance at 2.39m, to be honest. As soon as three of them jumped 2.37m, the best I would have come was fourth and I wanted a medal.
“We’ve finally found some form. I’ve only ever jumped 2.36m, so it should be good going into next year with the Commonwealth Games and the World Championships.”
Both Starc and Denny will be key figures and medal hopes for the Australian Commonwealth Games Team at Birmingham 2022.