McSweyn faithful know he is a winner, despite missing a medal

Stewart McSweyn may not have been among the medal winners, but that does not matter to the King Island faithful who watched every moment of the local hero’s bid for Olympic glory. 

Everyone on the island off the north-west coast of Tasmania was willing the 26-year-old on as he took on the world’s best in the final of the men’s 1,500 metres in Tokyo.

McSweyn’s parents, Jacky Richards and Scott McSweyn, watched from the comfort of their home.

Scott said he knew his son “would’ve liked to have done better”.

“The race plan was executed, but I just don’t think he had the legs for the last lap,” he said.

“It’s a fast track and conditions are pretty hot there in Tokyo. It’s just very competitive and a lot of the blokes in front of him ran personal bests.

Patrons at King Island Hotel cheer on their man.(

ABC News: Will Murray


McSweyn’s mother, Jacky, was ecstatic to see her son in the Olympic final.

A young boy school photo shot.
Olympian of the future McSweyn pictured in 2007.(

Supplied: Denise Bryant


“We are very proud … of the wonderful commitment he has to his athletics and even more of the way he manages himself as a man,” she said.

McSweyn’s schedule has little room for rest — he will fly out to America tonight for his next event, before travelling to Europe to participate in several Diamond League Events, likely including the 5,000 and 10,000 metres.

The television transmission tower on King Island, Tasmania
A lightning strike took out the telly, but it was fixed just in time.(

ABC News: Will Murray


Scott said his son was already thinking of the next Olympics.

“On the horizon we have the Commonwealth Games and the World Championships next year and Paris is only three years away,” he said.

Island faithful tune in

On Saturday night, McSweyn supporters gathered at the King Island Hotel to watch the race — with television reception to the island only just restored in time for the big event.

People with drinks at a hotel bar.
Here’s cheers to local hero Stewart McSweyn.(

ABC News: Will Murray


With menu items on offer to commemorate their local hero’s achievement, including “Stewy Parmis” and “McSweyn Malibu cocktails”, the party did not end quite the way it was hoped, but that mattered little.

“Everyone that can fit in the pub is here,” said local Sonia Maria. 

“The amount of community spirit over this race has been unbelievable. We didn’t get the result we wanted, but the fact we were all behind him regardless — it’s been great to be a part of.”

King Island Mayor Julie Arnold with husband Charles.
King Island mayor Julie Arnold was hoping to rename a street after McSweyn, but it turns out you can’t name a street after someone who is still alive in Tasmania.(

ABC News: Will Murray


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