Anna Meares aged just 17 dominated the cycling at the first Youth Festival in 2001 winning five medals, three gold and two silver. From the small Queensland coal-mining town of Middlemount the Festival was her first international competition and she was stunned by her performance against the overseas riders. “It was the first international meet I had competed in
There were 10 sports on the program at the first Youth Festival in 2001. Triathlon made its debut with the course set in and around the international rowing venue at Penrith. Nineteen-year-old Emma Snowsill from Queensland was to dominate the women’s event. At school Snowsill was a swimmer who dabbled in ballet, basketball, football, rowing, surf lifesaving, gymnastics snow and water skiing plus cross country running. She switched to triathlon after entering the Noosa event for fun.
Two swimmers dominated the pool at the 2003 Australian Youth Olympic Festival, Travis Nederpelt with a remarkable 7 gold medals and Jessicah Schipper with four gold and a silver. At 16 Schipper from Queensland broke the magic one minute barrier for the first time in the 100m butterfly joining an exclusive club headed by Susie O’Neill and Petria Thomas.
In the short history of the Australian Youth Olympic Festival no athlete has created such a stir as swimmer Travis Nederpelt who won a record seven gold medals in 2003. The 17-year-old from Perth made history winning all seven events he contested. His victories included the 400, 800 and 1500m freestyle, 200 and 400 metre individual medley, 200m butterfly and he was a member of the 4 x 200m freestyle relay team.