Diving in ... former Coffs Coast girl Alexandra Croak is off to the Olympics for a second time, and in a different sport.
Diving in ... former Coffs Coast girl Alexandra Croak is off to the Olympics for a second time, and in a different sport. Coffs Coast Advocate

Dual Olympic dream rare honour

TO make it to the Olympics in one sport is a sensational effort. To get there in two sports is the stuff of legends.

Coffs Harbour has one such legend among their ranks.

Alexandra Croak went to her first Olympic Games as a 16-year-old gymnast and now she is headed for Beijing where she will be competing for a gold medal as a diver in the 10-metre platform event.

Now aged 23, Croak made the switch to diving four years ago and is set to become the first Australian to compete in two different sports since Nova Peris-Kneebone represented her country in both hockey and athletics.

"I'm pretty proud of it as I'll be the fifth Australian woman to be competing in two different sports at the Olympics so I'm very honoured," she said.

"It feels a little bit surreal because it was such a big goal of mine and it's hard to believe that I'm so close to representing Australia for diving."

Croak has been in the unusual situation of being 95 per cent sure of being in the Olympic squad for the past six weeks but it wasn't going to be made official until the team was announced on Tuesday afternoon.

The Coffs Coast Advocate spoke to Croak at the start of the week anticipating her selection in the team and she explained the odd situation.

"I did meet all the criteria earlier this month but you never know what can happen," she said.

"Until our nominations are actually put in and the decision is made to accept those, it's a case of waiting until the nomination is confirmed before knowing that I will be competing."

Now that the former Coffs Harbour girl has made it into the team, she has a busy time ahead before the opening ceremony in Beijing on August 8.

"This Sunday we're going to Germany for a Grand Prix event and it's a practice more than competition," Croak added.

"There will be no pressure because we've met all the criteria for selection now so it's just a good opportunity to go out and compete.

"We've then got a five-week block at home in Sydney before we go off to Brisbane for a couple of weeks of a training camp and then we head to Beijing."

Being her second Olympics, the platform diver could be excused for being a little less excited but the fact is she's over the moon.

"It's a little bit different as I was a lot younger at Sydney and I had been doing gymnastics a whole lot longer than what I've been diving for," she said.

"Sydney was very exciting for me but it was a little bit more familiar to me I guess.

"With diving I've only been in the sport for four years so it's very exciting and I feel very grateful for the opportunity to have achieved what I have for myself."