The eight most inspiring Aussie women heading to the Rio Olympics.

For the first time ever in the Summer Olympics, there will be more women representing Australia than men – with 212 females and 207 males ready to roll in Rio.

While we’ll be cheering for all our athletes, there are few we’ll be watching extra closely.

From the Olympian heading to her fifth games, to the cyclist who’s back after breaking her neck, here are eight inspiring Aussie female names to commit to memory.

1.Brooke Peris.

20 years after watching her cousin Nova Peris win gold at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, Brooke Peris is heading to her first Olympic games in Rio as a Hockeyroo.

The older Peris was the first indigenous Australian to win gold at the Olympics and Brooke decided then and there she wanted to follow in her pioneering footsteps.

“I saw her and I was like ‘I want to do that’,” Peris told Zela.

Peris first made the Hockeyroos in 2013 and the team are currently ranked third in the world.

Last post,see ya in 3 weeks! Peace and love xx ????????

A photo posted by Brookie Peris (@brookeperis3) on


“I had really great mentors actually, and I have so many people to thank for any success. It was hard at times, but I had a lot of people that helped me get there, and I appreciate everyone that has helped.”” she told SBS.

The 23 year old says her indigenous heritage is a strong part of her identity, one she shares with teammate Mariah Williams.

“We always do this little handshake before each match, saying who we are, and it is kind of cool,” she said.

2. Anna Meares.

A name you’ll definitely recognise, track cyclist Anna Meares OAM is the flag bearer and captain of this year’s Australian team.

The 32 year old won her first gold medal at the 2004 games in Athens and set a new world record in the Women’s 500-metre time trial of 33.952 seconds.

She’s known for her former rivalry with British athlete Victoria Pendlebury and an incredible comeback from injury after breaking her neck in the 2008 World Cup just months before the Olympics. After intense rehabilition, Meares was able to compete and ended up winning a silver medal. She has a total of two gold, one silver and two bronze Olympic gold medals to her name.


Finally on our way to Rio! The toothbrush is in there somewhere… A video posted by Anna Meares (@annameares) on

3. Mary Hanna.

Rio will mark Hanna’s fifth Olympic games. The 61 year old grandmother is the oldest athlete on the team and will become Australia’s oldest Olympic equestrian when she competes in the dressage competition.

She first competed in the 1996 games at Atlanta and says her goal is to represent Australia at five Olympics, five World Cup Finals and five World Championships, of which she is well on her way. Legend.

Image: Getty

4. Taliqua Clancy.

Clancy will be the first indigenous Australian to represent Australia in beach volleyball.

Scouted at age 15, the 23 year old moved from Brisbane from Kingaroy on a scholarship to attend the Queensland Academy of Sport.

 She'll compete with dual Olympian Louise Bawden, her teammate since 2012, when she makes her Olympic debut on Copacabana beach.

WE HAVE ARRIVED ???????????? #rio2016 #olympics #oneteam #goaus

A photo posted by Taliqua Clancy (@taliqua) on

"We compete in Europe and America throughout our winter so it's pretty good that we always get to chase the summer," Clancy told ABC.


"But we spend a lot of time away from family and friends which is one of the huge sacrifices that we have to make."

5. Eloise Wellings.

Middle-distance runner Wellings was the first Aussie female athlete to qualify for Rio and will compete in both the 5000 metres and 10,000 metres.

It's been a long road for the 33 year old. She first qualified for the 2000 Sydney Olympics at just 16 years old but missed it and also Athens and Beijing due to injury in addition to battling an eating disorder.

Wellings, who finally competed in her first Olympics in London 2012, has been running 130km a week in preparation for Rio.

She's also mum to three year old daughter, India.

Indi's road to Rio ???? ???? @jonbirdandbeestudio

A photo posted by Eloise Wellings (@elzywellings) on

"Navigating family life and full time work is a challenge in most households but prioritising what is important, being organised and also communicating well is super important for us to get through the week unscathed," she told the Daily Telegraph.

"I’m definitely of the opinion that being an Olympian does not mean you can’t be an amazing mum."

In 2010, Wellings also founded the Love Mercy Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation that supports agricultural projects for women in Uganda whose lives have been affected by decades of civil war.

6. Cate Campbell.

Cate Campbell heads to her third Olympics as a freshly minted world record holder.

The 24 year old swimmer set a new world 100m freestyle record of 52.06 seconds last month.

She's hoping for "third time lucky" at Rio after she got stage fright in Beijing and picked up pancreatitis in London after winning the relay gold medal.

Despite her recent success, Malawi-born Campbell remains grounded.


"It might be important to someone else [to go as a world record holder], it’s not important to me. I’m all about executing a good race and that was an excellent race that I executed and if I can replicate that over in Rio I think I can be proud of myself not matter what the result," she told The Australian.

"You can only really focus on yourself so if someone else takes it as a warning sign then, you know, maybe that’s an advantage.’"

Her younger sister (and closest rival) Bronte is the reigning world champion.

7. Melissa Tapper.

Rio will mark Melissa Tapper's debut - and see her go down in history as the first Australian to compete at both the Olympic and Paralympic games.

The table tennis player was born with brachial plexus after she got stuck during birth and was pulled out by her right arm which tore the nerves between her neck and her right shoulder.

 The 26 year old first started playing at eight years old and by 18 years old was the nation's top tanked player.
She won a bronze medal at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games and came fourth at the 2012 London Paralympic Games.



8. Alexandra Hagan.

Up until recently Alexandra Hagan thought her Rio dream was over, after her Australian Women's Eight narrowly missed out on a spot during qualifying rounds in Switzerland in May.

The team got a late night call up last week to replace the Russian crew after the IOC banned them for a doping violation.

'"It's very exciting, but unbelievable," the 25 year old told the ABC.

"I suppose after not qualifying at the regatta earlier in May this year. I'd gone on and started playing footy to stay fit, and then it's kind of just all happened in the past 12 hours, so [it's] very exciting."


The Bunbury-based rower is the only crew member with Olympic experience, having made her debut at the London 2012 games.

Women's Eight officially on board the Olympic Team #rowtorio #oneteam #qantasaustralia @ausolympicteam

A photo posted by Rowing Australia (@rowingaustralia) on


Research by Karen Coombs.

Image: Getty.

Who will you be watching at Rio?