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Greek Australians among the 472 athletes to represent Australia at Tokyo Olympics

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The Australian Olympic Committee has named the 472 athletes who will be competing at the Tokyo Games.

The team is made up of 218 men and 254 women — the greatest number of female athletes to compete for Australia. 

This year’s team is also the second-largest Australian Olympic contingent, 10 short of the 482 Australian athletes who went to the Athens Games in 2004.

Among the names are at least 6 Greek Australians which The Greek Herald has been able to recognise by their surname. They are:

Dylan Pierias – Football:

At 21 years old, Dylan Pierias will be representing Australia in the men’s football team, under coach Graham Arnold. This is his first time at the Olympics.

Pierias made his A-League debut for Melbourne City at age 16 in a clash against Brisbane Roar in February 2017, making him the first player in the competition’s history to have been born in the 21st century. 

Dylan Pierias of Western United.

After seeing only occasional stints of game time with City, Pierias made the crosstown move to fellow Melbourne-based club Western United, where he has become an integral part of the club.

In the 2020/21 season, Pierias’ second season with United, the 21-year-old scored six goals in 17 appearances while playing in multiple positions on the pitch, displaying the sort of versatility that can become crucial in a gruelling Olympic tournament. 

After the exploits of his 2020/21 campaign, Pierias was rewarded with a two-year contract extension at United. He will be hoping to continue his season’s performances at the Tokyo Games. 

Alexandra Aristoteli – Gymnastics:

Alexandra Aristoteli, 24, is making her Olympics debut with Australia’s Rhythmic Gymnastics Group this year.

Aristoteli was born into the dance world as her mother was the Director of the Queensland Dance and Performing Arts School. She began ballet around the age of four and her amateur career progressed to full time training by the age of 15. She even spent months abroad training overseas with the Houston Ballet Academy and the Miami City Ballet School in Florida.  

Alexandra Aristoteli (centre).

Aristoteli’s career change occurred when she decided to focus on competing in rhythmic gymnastics. Her talent in gymnastics speaks for itself and she now competes at the highest level of the sport in the International Senior Group.

The Australian Seniors Gymnastic Group is highly successful, with a long standings rank of No.1 in Australia, they’ve won 6 consecutive National Championships. As well as Aristoteli, the team presently consists of Emily Abbot, Himeka Onoda, Felicity White and Alannah Mathews.

In 2018, the group attended the Gymnastics World Championships, in Sofia, Bulgaria. This was big for Australian Gymnastics as their attendance marked the first time in 10 years for a group. At the event they made a final rank of 29th with an end score of 28.925.

In 2020, they scored PB’s to win at the Pacific Rim Trials in Sydney. Most recently, the team has been victorious at the 2021 Continental Championship, as well as the 2021 Oceanic Championships.

Taylah Tsitsikronis – Softball:

Taylah Tsitsikronis, 27, will make her Olympic debut with the Australian Spirit in Tokyo when softball returns to the Olympic schedule for the first time since Beijing.

CHIBA, JAPAN – AUGUST 04: Taylah Ashleigh Tsitsikronis bats against Italy during the Preliminary Round match at NASPA Stadium on day three of the WBSC Women’s Softball World Championship on August 4, 2018 in Chiba, Japan. Photo by Takashi Aoyama/Getty Images.

Tsitsikronis began playing softball at the age of six at the Penrith Softball Club after her parents wanted her to put her energy into a sport. In 2015, she turned to professional softball. She realised her Olympic dream when attending a baseball match during the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games when she caught a foul ball. 

She is a recipient of the New South Wales Institute of Sport Scholarship, which was launched in partnership with Softball Australia and NSW Softball.

Taylah plays in positions catcher and first-base with both the Australian Softball Team and for the New South Wales Firestarters. 

Australia gained a spot in the Olympic field after qualifying through the Softball Asia/Oceania Qualifiers in 2019. 

Off the pitch, Taylah is a student of a Bachelor of Policing Practices and Criminal Justice at the Western Sydney University. 

Nick Kyrgios – Tennis:

Boasting six singles titles and a doubles title, Nick Kyrgios is one of Australia’s most dominant tennis players and he’s playing to win at the Olympic Games this year.

NEW YORK – AUGUST 29: Nick Kyrgios of Australia serves the ball during his Men’s Singles second round match against Antoine Hoang of France on day four of the 2019 US Open. Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images.

Nick got his start in tennis through helping out on the court at four-years-old, picking up balls for his older brother Christos, and occasionally having a hit. By seven-years-old, his dad had entered him into his first local tennis competition.

At 16, Nick accepted a full scholarship to play tennis at the Australian Institute of Sport. He moved between the Lyneham Tennis Centre in Canberra, and Melbourne Sports Park, but in 2015, committed to training in his hometown.

READ MORE: Nick Kyrgios qualifies for the Tokyo Olympics, marks return in Wimbledon.

Nick currently holds six ATP Tour level titles, all of which were won on hard courts. He recorded the biggest upset of his career after defeating the World Number Two, Rafael Nadal, at the 2014 Wimbledon Championships in four sets in the fourth round.

The momentous victory boosted the Canberra youngster, who was only 19 at the time, to a career high of 66. 

Despite qualifying for a spot on the Australian team for Rio 2016, Nick opted not to play in the Olympic Games. Five years on, he is set to make an Olympic berth in Tokyo, taking to the court in the green and gold in the men’s singles. 

Anthony Hrysanthos – Water polo:

Anthony Hrysanthos, 25, will make his Olympic debut at the Tokyo Games, as a member of the Australian Sharks water polo squad. 

Hrysanthos started playing water polo at the age of 12, after joining his local club with one of his best friends from school. 

Anthony Hrysanthos, 25, will make his Olympic debut at the Tokyo Games.

In 2015, Anthony was a member of the Australian junior team who finished eighth at the FINA World Junior Championships. Two years later he won gold at the 2017 FINA World League Intercontinental Cup. 

READ MORE: Anthony Hrysanthos on being selected for the Olympics: ‘It’s a dream come true’.

A member of the Sydney University Lions, Anthony played a vital role in 2018 when the team claimed the Australia Water Polo League title. After saving three penalty shoots, Anthony helped the team to a 11-10 victory in the gold medal match and was named the 2018 Most Valuable Player in the finals. 

Later that year, the Sharks achieved their best international result with a silver medal at the 2018 World Cup finals against Hungary. They backed this up with a bronze at the 2019 World League Super Finals. 

Lea Yanitsas – Water polo:

Lea Yanitsas, 32, will be representing Australia at the Tokyo Olympics this year by playing for the Aussie Stingers water polo team.

READ MORE: ‘I’m so lucky’: Lea Yanitsas on qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics with the Aussie Stingers.

Yanitsas’ Olympics dream all began at Mackellar Girls High School when she was introduced to her roll call teacher, Debbie Watson, who won a gold medal for water polo at the Sydney Olympics in 2000.

Lea in Rio De Janiero, Brazil, at the Olympic Games in 2016. Photo: Elsa/Getty Images.

Since then there have been a few pauses in between. She sat out the 2014 season, needing surgery on two fingers plus hip rehabilitation work – proving a goalkeeper’s life ‘in the cage’ also has its injury issues.

Then another stoppage came happily for Lea and husband Andrew as they welcomed son, Constantine, into the world in October 2018.

In Rio, the Aussies kicked-started their Olympics campaign with a strong, dominant 14-4 win over Russia which saw Yanitsas make 4 from 4 saves. Their second pool match proved to be more of a challenge with the green and gold side narrowly going down to Italy 7-8 despite the scores being tied until the final seconds. 

The Aussies then powered home to take a decisive 10-3 win over hosts Brazil in the final pool game, setting up a quarter-final clash against Hungary. In a physical, tense and ultimately heartbreaking encounter the Australians lost in a penalty shootout after scores were level, 8-8, after four quarters, ending their 2016 Olympic campaign.

But now the Olympic push is on once again – this time for Tokyo.

Source: Australian Olympic Committee.

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