Caroline Buchanan's No. 1 goal is Olympic Games redemption next year, but she's also on a mission to find her Australian BMX successor while she's at the peak of her powers. Buchanan has added another rising star to her Next Gen stable, securing sponsors to send the trio of juniors to the world championships this year while also planning for a fact-finding trip to Rio. "It's all focused on BMX racing this year and qualifying the Australian team for the Olympics," Buchanan said. "I won't change anything too crazy this year, things are looking positive. We're going to Rio for a test event in September ... the Olympic course is completely different to London. It's all downhill, the speeds we hit will be faster than ever before." Eight-year-old national champion Tayla Robertson is now part of Buchanan's development team, the first all-girls BMX team designed to groom Robertson, Mikayla Rose and Paige Harding as future Olympians. Rose and Harding both finished in the top 10 at the world championships last year after Buchanan helped raise $10,000 to fund their trips. Now Jayco has jumped on board as a sponsor and will help fund their careers. Buchanan is also launching a junior bike range that will be in stores worldwide next month. "Hopefully, we can bridge the gap for women in sport and create a pathway. You need experience at the highest level, I don't want Buchanan Next Gen to be a jersey on the back. I want it to be mentoring, support and competition against the best in the world to get them to be 2020 and 2024 Olympians. The process starts now."
Patty Mills pays tribute to MLK
An Australian paying tribute to a United States icon before an NBA game? It sounds odd, but that's the honour Patrick Mills was given before the San Antonio Spurs' home game on Martin Luther King Day last week. Mills told the crowd to "salute [MLK's] legacy and his teachings before a historic day for Australian basketball when four Aussies lined up in the same NBA game. "To me, honestly, that was a real honour to be able to address the crowd," Mills said. Martin Luther King Day was observed with reverence across the NBA this week, while San Antonio hosts one of the biggest MLK marches. "The other part of it is my strong belief in Martin Luther King jnr is also the same as Eddie Mabo. Those two guys are very close together, they both share the same message around the world, here and in Australia." It's been a big month for Mills. He met United States President Barack Obama and is lighting it up on the court after recovering from serious shoulder surgery. He is also set to launch a website in the coming weeks at pattymills.com.au.
Matt Giteau to replace Nic White at Brumbies?
Is Matt Giteau making an Australian rugby comeback to revive his World Cup ambitions? If the picture of him on Twitter is anything to go by, the Brumbies are set for a huge boost in the coming months. Former Wallabies winger Drew Mitchell posted a photo of Giteau in a Brumbies polo top last week with the caption: "Breaking!! Is he or isn't he heading home??" Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham asked Locker Room to send Giteau a tweet and ask him if it was true. His response: "Bern [Larkham] is too hard as a coach for me. Does he still tuck his pants into his socks?"
Lealiifano's fullback engine
Fullback looms as a position of concern for the Brumbies when the Super Rugby season starts on February 13. Queanbeyan flyer Robbie Coleman will get the first crack in the No. 15 jersey as Jesse Mogg recovers from a shoulder operation. But if Coleman goes down, the Brumbies are thin on options for a replacement. Rodney Iona and Christian Lealiifano are potential options. There's one problem. "When you compare the speeds of Jesse Mogg and Robbie Coleman, it's like chucking myself there, it's like a Datsun versus a Ferrari," Lealiifano laughed. "It's an option we could look at I guess, hopefully we can get some fullbacks."
Larkham gets all clear from Brumbies to help Wallabies
Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham will almost certainly be a part of the Wallabies coaching structure for the World Cup later this year after productive conversations with Michael Cheika. Cheika is happy for Larkham to focus on the Brumbies during the Super Rugby season before joining the national squad. It's understood the Brumbies board has been briefed on the situation and has given a tick of approval to the move on one condition - it doesn't affect Larkham's time with the Super Rugby franchise. The Brumbies will be happy with the deal if the ARU and Wallabies leave Larkham alone until the season is over. If his Wallabies role starts to interfere with Super Rugby time, expect Larkham to make the Brumbies his first priority.
Asian Cup crowds make boss eat humble pie
There's little doubt the Asian Cup has been a success in Canberra, despite all of the doubters. More than 82,000 fans packed the stands for the seven games, including two sell-outs. A breathtaking quarter final between Iraq and Iran was the icing on the cake and Asian Cup boss Michael Brown said he had to "eat humble pie" after fearing no one would turn up to the games in the capital. The match between China and North Korea had an average viewership of 16.17 million with a peak viewing of 30 million. The game scored the highest television audience in China in a pre-prime-time slot since tennis star Li Nah won the Australian Open in 2013. "Such high TV audiences for a football game are rare in China, and usually happen only during prime time. It has been many years – actually more than a decade - since the national team has attracted such attention on TV," said Pierre Justo, director of CSM Media Research, who compiled the data.
Kyrgios weighs in on Tomic-Groth style debate
"Not everyone is as talented as he is". That's what Nick Kyrgios had to say about Bernard Tomic after he heard that Tomic had criticised Sam Groth's style of tennis. It wasn't surprising that Tomic's clash with Groth on Friday was hardly a glowing endorsement for the artistry of tennis, but it was surprising that Tomic came out and echoed that sentiment. Tomic criticised the style of play of his countryman, describing the match as 'not tennis'. "Yeah, well today was not really gonna be tennis," he said. "It was just like return. I would have loved to play tennis today with long rallies. It would have been good. But today was just return." Fellow Aussie Nick Kyrgios was drawn into the argument, unsure why Tomic was complaining after booking a berth in the fourth round of the Australian Open. "Sam has got the style of tennis where he has got to serve and volley a lot. I guess Bernard has to accept that. Not everyone is as talented as he is. He's one of the most talented guys I've ever seen to step on a tennis court."
Kyrgios' mum hoping for flexible work hours
Nick Kyrgios' mother, Nill Kyrgios, might have to "chuck a sickie" on Tuesday if she wants to watch her son play. Unfortunately for the teenager, his mother is scheduled be back at work in Canberra on Tuesday, the same day he will play his quarter-final if he manages to get through Andreas Seppi in the fourth round. Nill was more hopeful than confident that her employers would be understanding of her unique situation if she was to ask for more time off.
Beardy's beard oil gets Big Bashing
Not only are Canberra cricketers spreading like wildfire through the Big Bash League, but it seems our beard oil is too. The brainchild of Canberra Cavalry pitching coach Hayden Beard, Beardy's is now the beard oil of choice of Adelaide Strikers big hitter Jono Dean. Dean works with the Cavalry strength and conditioning coach Hannah Wellman and she put him onto it. Dean and his brother Blake, who played for Sydney Thunder in last summer's BBL have been spruiking the good oil on Twitter and even got in touch with Canberra's emerging tennis star Nick Kyrgios to ask who had the best beard on tour. "The best beard in tennis belongs to @benoitpaire," Kyrgios tweeted in reply.
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