FEATURE: Charlotte Caslick...Olympic rings before wedding rings

Thu, Mar 25, 2021, 3:30 AM
Jim Tucker
by Jim Tucker
 Charlotte Caslick is relishing the four-month countdown to the Tokyo Olympics | Getty Images
Charlotte Caslick is relishing the four-month countdown to the Tokyo Olympics | Getty Images

Golden girl Charlotte Caslick is relishing the four-month countdown to the Tokyo Olympics after coping with one of the unkindest spin-offs from COVID-19's mass disruptions.

The 2016 Rio Olympics gold medallist and soulmate Lewis Holland, the Aussie men’s sevens stalwart, were forced to postpone their wedding last December.

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The blank December 19 date came and went with friends and family abroad just unable to lock in trips because of the health crisis.

“We both have family overseas, my maid of honour lives in Melbourne and we just could never be sure of the borders,” Caslick revealed in wistful tones.

“We had to postpone.

“I’d bought the wedding dress. That’s in a box and I don’t want to take a look in case I hate it by this December.”

The wedding has been rescheduled for the end of this year. The Olympic rings rather than wedding rings are now their more immediate focus. 

For a time there, it seemed like all the staples and rugby rhythms to Caslick’s life were being cancelled or postponed.

Charlotte Caslick & Lewis Holland pose after being selected for the Rio Olympics in 2016 | Getty Images
Charlotte Caslick & Lewis Holland pose after being selected for the Rio Olympics in 2016 | Getty Images

The Olympics were put off for a year, the 2020 World Rugby Sevens Series was cancelled mid-series, local sevens tournaments were scrapped and the flat feeling of treading water was unavoidable.  

That’s why the Tokyo Olympics suddenly looming so large is such a spur for Caslick even if the decision has been made that no international visitors can attend.

“It was definitely testing times there but I really feel a corner has been turned over the past few weeks with the Olympics getting closer,” one of the world's premier sevens players said.

“There’s been a refocus...it finally feels like it’s happening because we have the Aon Uni 7s starting, potentially New Zealand coming to play here and camps in Darwin.

“We’re getting to play again and I haven’t been this excited or as fit for a long time. It’s been so long. Apart from seven internal games with our squad, it’s been the gap since the last Sydney Sevens for me.”

For a high-energy athlete like Caslick, 26, that has been as tough as anything. She hasn’t played a proper sevens tournament since the Sydney Sevens more than 13 months ago.

Her brief switch to play in the NRLW with the Sydney Roosters last October was the competitive arena she needed.

“The timing worked. It was a nice way to do something fresh, have some fun and the sevens girls did rugby a fair bit of justice with the way they performed,” Caslick said. 

Caslick’s own 154 running metres from 12 runs, with five tackle breaks, was a game-high in the one complete game she played before being injuring her back.

She’s eager to be stepping out with the Bond University girls for the Aon Uni 7s series.

“We have some exciting players. The Levi sisters, Maddi and Teagan, have played sevens for Australia at youth level and I get to play with a friend from my touch days, Caity Costello,” Caslick said.

The opening Regional Round will be played on Saturday and Sunday in Brisbane (Bottomley Park) and Sydney (Woollahra Oval). 

Caslick and her fellow Australian women’s sevens players will join teams for the second Regional Round at the Gold Coast (Surfers Paradise Rugby Club) and Newcastle (No.2 Sportsground) on April 10-11.

Griffith Uni are a sneaky hope to shake up the expected order with Georgie Friedrichs, Kahli Henwood, speedster Ivania Wong, Wallaroo Alana Elisaia and former Reds captain Kiri Lingman to play beside Aussie Sevens sparks Demi Hayes and Lily Dick.

The Aussie sevens squad and fringe players will be treating the Aon Uni 7s like full-blown Olympic selection trials or they should be.

“It is exciting. We are going to have a squad for Tokyo very different to the Rio group five years ago,” Caslick said.

She’ll know Tokyo is really closing in when Aussie Sevens coach John Manenti gets serious about their diet.

“We’re waiting for John to shout the big sushi lunch for all of us and we do eat a lot,” Caslick said.

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