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Levi sisters back Australia to overcome injuries to bring home Olympic gold

By AAP
Maddison Levi (L) and Teagan Levi pose for a photo during a Rugby Australia media opportunity at Rugby Australia HQ on November 22, 2023 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)

Superstar speedster Maddison Levi steadfastly believes Australia’s all-conquering women’s sevens team can overcome a mounting injury toll and bring home gold from the Paris Olympics.

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Alysia Lefau-Fakaosilea, a hero of Australia’s 2022 Commonwealth Games and Rugby Sevens World Cup successes, was the latest influential figure ruled out of the Games this week.

Lefau-Fakaosilea – the niece of 2023 Wallabies World Cup captain Will Skelton – suffered a devastating ACL injury during a training camp in Brisbane.

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The 23-year-old had been on the mend from a shoulder sub-laxation but is now, incredibly, the fourth player ruled out of the Olympics with serious knee injuries, joining Madison Ashby, Lily Dick and Demi Hayes on the sidelines.

Levi insists the latest setback won’t derail the newly crowned world series champions.

“This year we’ve created a lot of depth within the squad, so we say no matter who’s out there on the field we’re there to get the job done,” Levi told AAP on Wednesday.

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“So I think it rattled us a little bit, but we’re all able to move forward and look at what’s coming and, with the Olympics, anyone that’s out there can win a gold medal.”

Making her Olympics debut in France, Levi’s sister Tegan says Australia’s golden girls will only settle for top spot on the podium following their epic triumph at the world series finale in Madrid this month.

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“We definitely are going for a gold medal,” she said at ASICS’ Lace Up Australia promotion marking 30 days until the Paris Games.

“We’ve been doing all the hard work at training, on and off the field, physically and mentally.

“We’ve definitely got the team to get the job done.”

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The Levi siblings are among the two biggest names – and weapons – in the team.

But, in a telling revelation, 22-year-old Maddison confessed to not always believing she’d end up where she has as Australia’s record-setting sevens tryscorer.

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“Growing up, I was probably the first cut in every single team,” the prolific winger said.

“It didn’t really help that my sister was making the under-18 team before I was in the under-18 team, so that was kind of a throw on the face.

“But I use that as more motivation and it probably has shaped me to be the player that I am today because if it was a setback to help me become better and work hard.

“I probably wouldn’t be where I am today without using that resilience.

“People get cut all the time and things don’t necessarily go your way.

“So never give up, no dream is too big. If at first you don’t succeed, then keep working hard and just use that to become better and, yeah, doors will start to open up.”

Maddison’s mantra prompted a cheeky, albeit inadvertent, sledge from her 20-year-old baby sister.

“I’ve always said hard work beats talent,” Tegan said.

“Maddi is a prime example. She’s worked so hard and look where she is now.

“She’s out there breaking records, so don’t stop.”

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