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How 'heartbreaking' Olympics omission fuelled Aussie 7s star

By Finn Morton
(Photo by Christopher Pike/Getty Images)

As a little kid, Australian sevens star Lily Dick “always wanted to go to the Olympics.” But as the adage goes, things don’t always go to plan.


Having grown up in a passionate rugby family, Dick has always had a love for the game. The Queenslander was a Reds member, and even went to the Hong Kong Sevens as a fan in 2013.

But rugby wasn’t always an option for Olympic hopefuls.

Instead, Dick wanted to be a swimmer and an athletics star during her childhood – she wanted to be an Olympian, and has continued to chase that dream.

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Rugby sevens made its debut on the world’s biggest sporting stage at the 2016 Rio Games, with the Australian Women’s Sevens team claiming an historic gold medal.

Years later, a rising star joined the champion team on a full-time deal.

Dick made her Sevens World Series debut in 2018, with the Olympics only a few years away – of course, the Tokyo Games were postponed until 2021 due to the Covid pandemic.

But after a few years of international rugby, Dick wasn’t able to realise her Olympic dream in Japan. As reported by The Sydney Morning Herald, Rio gold medalist Shannon Parry was selected ahead of the young Queenslander.

“It was obviously heartbreaking, that’s obviously what I aimed to get selected for and put a lot of time and effort into,” Dick told RugbyPass.


“But as part of an athlete, that’s part of it, missing out on selections and I think you only come back better from them.

“I had about eight weeks off, I actually tore my meniscus about a week out so I was in rehab during that time off and it was Covid as well so I was back at home rehabbing by myself.”

Uncapped players Tia Hinds and Maddison Levi were picked in the prestigious Olympics squad, while another five internationals were named for their first Games.

But Dick wasn’t going to let that setback define her.

In her own words, the 23-year-old said she “came back bigger, better and stronger” as she played in every World Series tournament the following season.


“It probably was a good time for me to reflect on where I needed to get better and improve on,” she added.


“It was heartbreaking but you can only come back better from it.

“Obviously it only comes around once every four years and your lifetime as an athlete isn’t very long, so definitely motivated me to be better.

“With only 500 days I think it was till the Olympics, yeah it’s definitely a motivator and I’m hoping to get to Paris 2024.”

Dick will be part of history this weekend after being named in the Australian squad for the Hong Kong Sevens. The Women’s World Series will go to Hong Kong for the first time from March 31 to April 2.

After going to Hong Kong as a fan with her brother and dad a decade ago, Dick described the tournament as “one of the best sevens legs in the world.”

“Looking back as a kid I probably didn’t realise how big of an event it was.

“It was pretty awesome. My dad went off to the south stand, my brother and I were just watching.

“Back then I probably didn’t think Sevens is as big as what it is now.

“Hong Kong is one of the best sevens legs in the world and obviously the first time the women get to play there.”

History will be made in Hong Kong this weekend. While Dick is yet to realise her Olympic dream yet, the rising star is certainly a player to watch.

The Australian Women’s team are currently second on the World Series standings, with the top four teams at the end of the season securing automatic qualification for the Paris Games.

A successful campaign in Hong Kong could potentially go a long way to seeing Dick compete at the Olympics in a couple of years time.


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