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Bound for Tokyo
“Defy gravity!” “Yes, we can!” There’s a certain synchronicity to the mottos of a dynamic Lake Macquarie duo who will represent Australia at the Tokyo Games.
First time Olympian, trampoline gymnast Jessica Pickering, and her coach, PE teacher Brett Austine (who also happens to be the national trampoline coach), have put Belmont High School on the world sporting map with their achievement.
Staying true to her motto, “Defy gravity”, Jess, 20, a former Belmont High student, landed a ticket to Tokyo after finishing fifth in the final World Cup qualifying event in Brescia, Italy, in early June.
Brett, a long-time PDHPE teacher at the school and Jessica’s coach at Eastlakes Trampoline Sports club where she took up the sport at seven, has also been a trampolinist since the age of seven.
During his career Brett has won three consecutive world Double Mini Tramp titles, more than 40 Australian titles and captained the Australian team to world titles on five tours.
As well as national coach, following in his father Fred’s footsteps who held the role for 15 years, Brett is a top-flight international trampoline judge with numerous world events coming under his watch, including the 2008 Beijing and the 2012 London Games.
The three words that best describe his approach to nurturing his charges are “Yes we can!”. “There is no room for doubt in the challenges we have set ourselves,” he says.
“In the face of financial constraints, the so-called tyranny of distance and the obvious imbalances of contesting an opposition who earn their living as professional athletes I say absolutely ‘Yes we can’. I ask our athletes to dare to believe and stay the marathon course we are on.”
Jessica progressed to senior competition just over two years ago after winning a silver medal in the 2018 Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires.
From joining Eastlake Trampoline Sports to Olympic debutante, Jessica has come a long way in those 13 years, especially considering her introduction to the sport was a precautionary measure.
At age seven, she recalls: “Mum thought I was going to break my neck on our backyard trampoline so she wanted me to learn to jump safely.”
Federation wishes Jessica and Brett, fine ambassadors for public education, all the best in Tokyo. We’ll be cheering you on.
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