Ollie Hoare’s 1500m selection completes “amazing” Olympic treble
Oliver Hoare has helped Trinity equal a remarkable school record by becoming the third old boy selected in the Australian team for the Tokyo Olympics.
The 24-year-old middle distance runner will join sprinter Rohan Browning – an old mate from the class of 2015 – and diver Sam Fricker (class of 2020) at this month’s COVID-delayed Games.
It’s only the second time Trinity has achieved a trifecta of Olympians in one year, and the first since 2004 in Athens, where competitors included diver Steven Barnett, walker Luke Adams and windsurfer Lars Kleppich.
“It’s amazing we have three boys going to the Olympics. Normally a school would be over the moon to have one,” said Trinity’s Director of Athletics Andrew Murphy, himself a three-time Olympic triple jumper, who is also celebrating his own good news – an invitation to go to Tokyo as Rohan Browning’s coach.
Support staff numbers have been drastically curtailed for the pandemic-hit Games, and Mr Murphy said his invitation from the Australian Olympic Committee came as a “really big shock”.
“It has certainly made Rohan happy, as he will now have his coach with him,” he said.
Oliver Hoare’s proud mum Kate fought back tears as she recalled the part Trinity had played in the lives of her two sons (Ollie’s younger brother Christopher, who followed him to Trinity, was a national level swimmer).
“I am eternally grateful to the School,” she said.
“Without Trinity my boys wouldn’t be where they are. I’m getting emotional. I’m a teacher myself (she works at Danebank) and I can’t fault Trinity. It was outstanding, and fantastic for Ollie. The whole environment was supportive and nurturing.”
Ollie, a cross-country runner and swimmer before arriving at Trinity in Year 10 and beginning his track career, is currently the world’s ninth-ranked 1500m runner.
He had consistently beaten the Olympic qualifying time of 3m 35s but has been based overseas for five years, and because of COVID gained an exemption from this year’s national championships, normally a prerequisite for Olympic selection.
His inclusion, therefore, was at the discretion of selectors. Despite impressive recent performances – he broke the Australian indoor record in New York in March before placing second in a Diamond League event at Gateshead in England – his selection was far from certain in an event where Australia had four strong contenders vying for three positions.
He got the nod along with national champion Jye Edwards and world seventh-ranked Stewart McSweyn, with Matt Ramsden unlucky to miss out.
“It’s always a nervous wait,” said Andrew Murphy. “I wasn’t surprised but you never know with selections.”
He said Ollie was a “fantastic” schoolboy athlete who was dedicated to his studies as well as running.
He said Trinity’s structured athletics program helped him make the transition to the similar US style when he won a scholarship to study economics at the University of Wisconsin.
Ollie is now based at Boulder, Colorado, where he moved for high altitude preparation with his current coach Dathan Ritzenhein, and is contracted to Switzerland’s On Training shoe and apparel group.
His mum said Trinity’s team ethic in sport helped him move seamlessly into the US college NCAA competitions.
“You might not want to run the 800 but you do it because it’s for the team,” she said.
“He ran the 800, the 1500 and the three (thousand metres). I don’t know how he did it but he wouldn’t have got to Wisconsin without Trinity. Not a chance.
“He took the risk and it has paid off. He has proved himself.”
Ollie, from Caringbah in Sutherland Shire, began running with his father Greg, a former world beach running champion and track runner, and also starred in swimming events at North Cronulla surf club, where he developed much resilience, strength and endurance.
“Once I reached high school I really started to develop as a runner, particularly in track,” he said.
He was a member of Trinity’s swimming, cross country and athletics teams, and still holds the School 1500 and 3000m records, as well as the CAS 3000m record.
He won the NSW All Schools Cross Country titles in 2013, 2014 and 2015 for his respective age groups, and won the All Schools Australian Cross Country Championship in 2015.
He and Rohan Browning were both prefects in their final year, as well as athletics vice-captain and captain respectively.
After excelling in Trinity’s green and white, they now have a chance to write a new chapter of their lives in Australia’s green and gold.