Tokyo 2020 Olympics was quite the success for QLDers.
Tokyo 2020 Olympics was quite the success for QLDers.
After the final curtain came down on the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics, Australia can very much be proud of their performance across a colossal discipline of sports. Even some events included for the first time like skateboarding, BMX and surfing, where — naturally — we won ourselves some medals!
But how did we do overall? Midway through the 14th of 17 days in Tokyo, Australia surpassed its Sydney 2000 haul and peaked with its all-time benchmark of 17 golds at Athens 2004. So, all up, we saw a nifty performance coming in sixth overall, considering our population is a fraction of those countries towards the top end of the table!
You might not be aware, but some of the gold medal-winning Olympians are devoted Gold Coasters — living and training on our very coastline day in, day out. But who are these people, we hear you ask? Read on and discover the local heroes that have brought home gold to the Gold Coast.
This 27-year-old originally from Wollongong is officially Australia’s most successful Olympian — ever. She not only became the greatest medal winner in Australian Olympic history – surpassing Ian Thorpe and Leisel Jones – but the first Australian ever to win four golds at a single summer games. Taking her successful Rio de Janeiro 2016 relay gold into account, she now joins Thorpe as the only Australian to win five golds. In the process, she became the first Australian ever to win the splash-and-dash 50m freestyle and only the sixth person ever to complete the 50-100m freestyle double. Her winning 50m swim also set the new world record!
> Griffith University Alumnus
Jean Van der Westhuyzen
Often seen paddling the waters around Varsity Lakes first thing in the morning, this young man originally from South Africa is one of ours now. Jean helped Australia secure its first canoe medal of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games with a gold medal performance in the Men’s Kayak Double 1000m. Along with partner Thomas Green, the duo finished ahead of boats from the Czech Republic and Germany to secure the gold in a nerve-racking race that came down to just 0.3 of a second difference!
“World of emotion, the first thing that comes to mind is I am a man of faith, so I thank the Lord upstairs. The coaches, my family, my beautiful girlfriend, all my best mates, it’s such a big team that goes behind this performance,” Jean van der Westhuyzen said.
> Bond University Alumnus
Originally a Gold Coast lifeguard (and an ex North Burleigh Surf Club employee) with the desire to be an ironman, this 22-year-old teamed up with Jean (mentioned above) to take out the Canoe sprint at the Olympics. Having always loved the water and sport in general, he grew his passion for the sport when he first started kayaking at the ripe old age of 10 at the Currumbin Creek Canoe Club.
But it must be mentioned that the best part of this win was that both gentlemen were the first gold medalists for Australia in the 85-year history of the event! Yeah the boys!
A Gold Coaster through and through, Mat began sailing at an early age out of Southport Sailing Club and showed promise winning the 420 World Championships aged just 18 years old. Shortly after, he was given a chance to carry the flag at the Sydney 2000 closing ceremony, sparking his desire to be an Olympian. Fast forward and after successful medal-earning appearances at London in 2012 and Rio 2016, Mat and teammate Will Ryan took the gold in the 470s this time around; thus, making him Australia’s most successful sailor of all time. Ironically, he was then asked to be the flag bearer at these games’ closing ceremony — mirroring the same thing some 21 years previously!
“This has been a wonderful Team that has achieved so much. To lead them into the Closing Ceremony means so much. I will be carrying the flag not just for those who are here but for all those now in quarantine back home or headed elsewhere. This will be for all of us.” said Belcher.
> The Southport School
> Bond University Alumnus
From Elanora skate park to winning gold in front of the entire world, Keegan has secured himself the very first title in men’s park skateboarding — and at the ripe age of just 18 years old! Born in California but then moving to the Gold Coast, he spent the first 14 years of his childhood crafting his skills in and around Currumbin. Going on to then compete in national events and winning the Bondi Bowl-A-Rama in Sydney — becoming the youngest competitor to win the pro division at this event — and claiming his first national title last year at the Australian National Championships. This kid was only ever going to win gold!
Originally from Logan, we’re more than happy to claim him as one of our own. His career in BMX took off after a chance visit to the skatepark with his brother at the age of 12 — from there, his ability and passion for BMX rapidly took off. After a series of stints in overseas competitions, he went on to win the International Festival of Extreme Sports in 2015 and 2016, and in the same year, he debuted at his first X-Games in Austin, Texas, where he secured himself silver.
Interestingly he went on to spend a whopping $85,000 on a skate park in his backyard on the Gold Coast: that’s dedication, folks!
Martin secured the inaugural gold medal for freestyle BMX within the first 60-seconds of his finals run at Ariake Sports Park when none of his competitors were able to match his top score of 93.3. It meant our Queenslander could put the nail in the coffin with a front bike flip to put the finishing touches to his sport’s spectacular Olympic debut.
A long-time member of the Southport Olympic Swim Club, Chelsea represented Australia for the first time at the World Junior Championships in Indiana in 2017. She then became a prominent member of the 2018 Youth Olympic Games, where she won silver in the 50m breaststroke and the 4x100m medley relay. Now, in 2021 at the age of 19, Chelsea went on to qualify for her debut Olympic Games after placing first in the 100m breaststroke trials final. Always looking like she would do great things, individually, she placed 9th overall; however, the Gold Coaster was part of the gold medal-winning Women’s 4x100m Medley Relay, posting an astounding time of 1:05.57 in her leg.
> Benowa State High
> Griffith University Alumnus — currently studying nursing.
Words by Alex Mitcheson.
Life inevitably takes its toll – you don’t have to tell us twice. Whether you’re juggling work, children, or a questionable affection for rosé (guilty), your body and mind are going to feel the effects. Enter: the ultimate fix, the humble soak session. Okay, it may not solve ALLLLL of your problems, but we promise it’s a good start.
In order to achieve an upgraded level of vitality and mindfulness, you needn’t go it alone. You’ll require some assistance, and this is where soak and float centres come in. These are the kind of spaces where tranquil surroundings and expert insight go hand in hand to pull you from that long road to ruin: a five-minute break with a strong cup of tea just isn’t going to cut it these days.
We took it upon ourselves to do some research, and lucky for us, the Gold Coast has a sizeable selection of such places where you can unwind, soak and nourish yourself back to previous glory. Here are our top 8 picks to recuperate and rejuvenate when rosé life has gotten the better of you.
Conveniently located in Mermaid Beach, Soak Bathhouse is the comprehensive answer to looking after yourself with a holistic approach. By their own ethos — it’s time to start feeling great again — they invite you to experience opulent mineral spa baths and steam rooms. If you’re feeling brave, take a dip in the cold plunge that sits at a very fresh 10 degrees to get the blood pumping. But it’s so much more than just a spot for a soak, if you’re after the full wellness experience why not add on an infared sauna, LED facial or massage? Because health is wealth. If soaking up the vibes with a beverage in hand is more your vibe then the Soak and Sip is a must-do, we’re partial to their Wine Not Wine Pouches because rosé all day! And if you feel the need to hit the emails between sauna and plunge pool circuits, they have a gorgeous co-working space to nut out some work.
Where: 2532 – 2540 Gold Coast Highway, Mermaid Beach
Greenhouse The Bathhouse
The Bathhouse team were behind one of the original venues to open allowing you to soak your weary body and relax in a serene setting. Now nestled in Tallebudgera Valley – the ultimate destination for relaxation if you ask us – Greenhouse The Bathhouse has everything you need to switch off and kick back for a few hours. Soak up a 90-minute session in their magnesium spas and then soak up some rays (using protection of course) on the sun terrace and garden lounges. An ode to traditional bathhouses and sweat lodges, they offer intuitive massages on demand and have even got a beautiful restaurant and botanical bar onsite so you can refresh and rehydrate.
Where: 286 Tallebudgera Creek Road, Tallebudgera Valley
City Cave Float & Wellness Centre
Seeking the ultimate relaxation with added health benefits? Yep us too. City Cave Float and Wellness Centres have six convenient locations across the Gold Coast and specialise in float therapy, remedial, sports, pregnancy and relaxation massages while also offering Infrared Sauna facilities. It’s about time you look after your mind, body and gut at City Cave with their holistic services.
Where: Markeri St, Mermaid Waters, 76-84 Robina Town Centre Drive, Robina, 3/201 Ferry Road, Southport, Helensvale Plaza Shopping Centre, 12 Sir John Overall Dr, Helensvale, 340 Hope Island Rd, Hope Island or Shop 2, Coomera Square, Coomera
The Bathhouse at Ground
As if you needed another reason to take a sojourn out into peaceful Currumbin Valley, you can certainly add this new decadent bathhouse to the list. Set within the tranquil grounds of the Currumbin Eco Village, book yourself an hour here and simply let life’s stresses fade away. Spend your 60 minutes of luxury jumping from giant hydrotherapy spa pools to a genuine Finnish sauna before sinking into a refreshing pool packed with salty goodness all under the canopy of their gorgeous fig tree If this isn’t enough for you, be sure to book a massage or other heavenly treatment which take place in their adjoining fairy-tale-looking century-old Queenslander.
Where: 2 Village Way, Currumbin Valley
Another goodie for the southern Gold Coasters, Native State is where luxury, wellbeing and peak performance coexist in perfect harmony – sounds pretty inviting if you ask us. The marriage of gym, movement classes like yin and vinyasa yoga if you want to get it om, and of course the bathhouse is pretty much everything you need in one spot. Native State offers both casual sessions as well as full studio memberships if you can’t enough of the holistic health haven.
Where: 3/2 Creek Street, Coolangatta
Float therapy sounds exactly like our kind of therapy, Floating Away is the ultimate spot to do just that in your own float tank and leave the weight of the day behind. It’s that time of year when we’re pretty much crawling to the finish line, so a session of sensory deprivation to escape the outside and immerse yourself in a deep state of relaxation sounds like just what the doctor ordered. Or why not sweat it out before you soak it up in their infrared sauna? Guaranteed to leave you feeling rejuvenated. Because we’re all about that journey to self discovery we were totally intrigued by their Yoni Steaming offering. An ancient practice of vaginal steaming and yes, you read that right – a steamer for your nether region – the Kardashian-approved treatment helps to promote circulation and hormonal balance. It’s basically a facial for down there. Because every part of you deserves self-care.
Where: The Oasis Shopping Centre, Level 1/75 Surf Parade, Broadbeach
Possibly one of the Gold Coast’s best-kept secrets, Organic Aum, a Japanese fusion day spa, is a hinterland haven nestled in Lower Beechmont. With natural rainwater used to fill the spas before being topped with magnesium, the open-air wooden hot spas are the ultimate place to beat muscle fatigue or wind down for some stress relief. Now when you visit our beautiful hinterland it makes sense to make a day of it. If you’re going solo our pick is one of their indulgent facials or if you’re planning on making a date of it their massage rooms are perfect for two. If you’ve been trying to find a way to relax and recentre we’re big fans of a sound healing session (if you haven’t tried it, you need to) and Organic Aum introduces the Singing Ring – a new instrument invented in Japan – that uses crystal-infused metal to cleanse, recharge and refresh your energy. Sign us up.
Where: 113 North Road, Lower Beechmont
Ok, so it’s not technically on the Gold Coast, but like Russell Crowe and Nicole Kidman, we’re happy to claim it! Set in the heart of the ‘biggest little town in Australia’, The Banya is a total #mood. Indulge in allll the offerings, from lap pools to hot mineral pools, a wood-fired sauna, steam room, and a refreshing cold plunge hugged by lush foliage and cobblestone pathing. With 5 massage treatment rooms and a rooftop sundeck, relaxation awaits. Post-soak, savour a leisurely lunch or drinks at the on point on-site bar and dining. Explore small share plates, nutritious options, and a selection of wine, cocktails, and health elixirs – perfect complements to elevate your relaxation experience. Namaste!
Where: 35-37 Burringbar Street, Mullumbimby
Words by Jacqueline Bojanowski.
Picture the scene: it’s your team’s game night, and you and your crew are more than keen to catch the action in a location with full coverage, the coldest of beers, and a sprinkling of outstanding food options. Anything less would be a colossal failure, right? Seeking down such establishments that are solely devoted to delivering these things is not always the most straightforward task. But at the same time, neither is it impossible! Luckily for you, we’ve done our homework and compiled a list of the best sports bars on the Gold Coast to enjoy the action while adequately showing your support for your team. Shouting at screens may or may not be included.
The Star Sports Bar
Many would say this place is in pole position as the Gold Coast’s premier sports bar venue, and we think that’s rightly deserved. If the 23 large screens, private (pre-bookable) booths and a gigantic 10.5-metre screen aren’t impressive enough, you should be swayed by the coldest beer around and a multitude of nearby food outlets for you to fuel up pre-game or celebrate your team’s victory.
Where: The Star Gold Coast, Main Gaming Floor, 1 Casino Drive, Broadbeach
Crafty’s Sports Bar
Aptly positioned at the northern Gold Coast’s prime shopping outlet Harbour Town, Crafty’s gives you the option of mixing shopping with seeing whatever sporting event you might be into. Or, if it’s better suited, the chance for you or your partner to do so whilst the other takes their time with over 200 stores. Make plans to grab some essentials and then settle in with some fantastic food and craft beers. Score!
Where: Harbour Town Eats – 147/189 Brisbane Road, Biggera Waters
The Sporting Globe Bar and Grill
Part of a sizeable chain of sporting bars across the country, these guys certainly know how to look after sporting fans. Apart from expansive coverage of all the action, there are food specials every day of the week, and if you’re seeing the Gold Coast Titans game at the Cbus Stadium, come in beforehand for a drink, and these guys will even take you there and back. How good is that?
Where: Robina Town Centre, 19 Robina Town Centre Drive, Robina
Burleigh Town Hotel
This one is a real showstopper, boasting a zhuzhed up modern bistro and the sports bar to end all sports bars. The newly renovated Burleigh Town Hotel is the ideal destination to catch all of the sports action. Featuring a state-of-the-art 11-metre mega screen… It’s the biggest pub screen in the southern hemisphere and if you think that’s impressive, have a go of the suspended cylinder screen promising perfect viewing from every vantage point #jawdrop.
Where: Tsipura Drive, Burleigh Heads
This hotspot is more renowned as the place you head to take the night up a gear with vibrant music, entertainment, and drinks specials. And that’s a fair comment. However, should you want a great place to catch the next big fight with eating options and the ever so easy decision of sticking around and partying till the small hours, it’s a slam dunk!
Where: 3-15 Orchid Avenue, Surfers Paradise
On the southern end of the Coast, The Coolangatta Hotel is the prime location to catch any sporting activities and be assured of a buoyant and passionate atmosphere. Pair it with a splash and lounge on one of Coolangatta’s famous golden beaches, and then be sure to stick around for the post-game live music, and you are onto a hole in one.
Where: Marine Parade, Coolangatta
How does an American-style sports bar with a Gold Coast twist sound? Too good to be true, right? Wrong. Because you need to look no further than Fat Freddy’s on Broadbeach’s Surf Parade. Grab a highchair at the bar and enjoy unhampered views of seven screens overhead as bartenders look after you with libations galore and a polished bar snacks menu which should make getting up to leave your seat an arduous feat if you ask us!
Where: 50 Surf Parade, Broadbeach
If you’ve driven past the good ‘ole Ashmore Tavern recently, you’ll have noticed it’s looking anything but ‘ole these days. Undergoing an extreme makeover, we’re not just talking a lick of paint and a few trusty Kmart prints, but an epic $5 million reno sporting some serious a la mode flex. There are sleek new indoor and outdoor dining spaces and a large sports bar with an adjoining balcony. With big screens showing sports daily you’ll never miss a moment of the biggest sporting events at the Sports Bar.
Where: 161 Cotlew Street, Ashmore
Words by Alex Mitcheson & Belinda Symons.