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Tokyo Olympic Athletics Officials: 5 to Represent Oceania

Tokyo Olympic Athletics Officials: 5 to Represent Oceania

Oceania Athletics is proud to introduce our 2020 Tokyo Technical Officials.

Brian Roe (AUS) – International technical official (Start Referee)
Helen Roberts (AUS) – Jury of Appeal
Trevor Spittle (NZL) – International Technical Official (Field Referee)
Zoe Eastwood Bryson (AUS) – International Race Walking Judge
Janet Nixon (AUS) – International Photo Finish Judge


Brian Roe (AUS) – International technical official (Start Referee)

How many Olympics/Paralympics have you been appointed to?
7 Olympics/2 Paralympics

What are you most looking forward to in Tokyo?
We are getting back into the swing of international athletics; the last 18 months have been frustrating for everyone in the sport, whatever your role. Having a fully-fledged championship meet panning out before your eyes are going to be a wonderful thing.

How did you start officiating?
The gurus of Tasmanian athletics, Noel Ruddock and the late Graeme Briggs, were incredibly encouraging of the younger generation becoming officials, even when we were competing. AT provided officials for school meets, so once you had left school, there were changes to learn the rules and how to be a good official even if your role at club competition was a bit incidental.

A bit of advice for officials starting?
Don’t be intimidated by what looks like a complex sport. But at the same time, don’t concentrate for too long on one event or event group. Become a diverse official and make time to access the new resources available to familiarise you with officiating. Latch on to mentors.

Helen Roberts (AUS) – Jury of Appeal

Tokyo will be my third Olympics (and I also did Sydney Paralympics). Each one has been in a different role. Sydney 2000 I was as a Judge in the Throws (Chief for the Paralympics), then Rio 2016 an ITO/Referee and now for Tokyo, a Member of the Jury.
What are you most looking forward to in Tokyo?
This one is going to be like no other Olympics in living memory. I am looking forward to just watching each session (with a bit of a critical eye this time!) Judging by the performances in all of the Trials worldwide, there will be some fantastic results. I am also looking forward to seeing some of our Pacific Island athletes having the opportunity to experience the Olympics competition.

How did you start officiating?
My parents were both Officials, and athletics was my sport growing up. I was doing some coaching at a Pacific School Games in 1996, and they were short of officials. This was the lead-up to Sydney 2000, and they asked me to get some qualifications to consider me for a position. That was it! Something that simple has me heading to my 3rd Games. I was fortunate that lots of the officials who were still active then remembered my parents and were happy to help me along. I now try and give others the same help that I receive, paying it forward.

A bit of advice for officials starting?
Stick with it! Keep asking questions and stay current with your knowledge. Sometimes, as technical officials, we get a little grumpy, and we might forget that others are at a different phase of their journey than us, but find yourself, someone, you trust and go from there. Also, don’t try to master everything at once. Pick an area, learn all about that and then move on to the next area. Talk to other officials and make a plan for gaining knowledge across our sport. Hopefully, Australia will be holding a few significant meets in the coming years and having representation from across our region in the Technical Officials ranks would be fantastic!

Trevor Spittle (NZL) – International Technical Official (Field Referee)

My first significant event was Sydney 2000. No other Olympics until now, but many World Champs and Commonwealth Games. I also did Rio Paralympics and the Para World Championships in 2011, 2013, 2015, 2017, and 2019.

What are you most looking forward to in Tokyo?
The Olympics. Being able to attend the event. It can’t be any better. Seeing the top athletes compete and fulfilling my role to ensure all athletes have an equal opportunity to compete on a level playing field.

How did you start officiating?
My kids were a part of Papanui Redwood (now Papanui Toc H club), and I don’t know if you have ever been to QE II Stadium, but it could be cold in that stand. So, when the call came for volunteers, I was happy to help, and that first day I worked as a timekeeper. Within two years, I was meeting manager, but that is typical of me; if I’m going to do something, I dive deep into it.

A bit of advice for officials starting?
Just go out there and enjoy yourself. It can be a great feeling, and you can do as much as you want. I never thought I would get to this level.
Stay safe; it can be dangerous if you don’t stay focused. Finally, I encourage officials to keep learning new skills – never stop learning.

Zoe Eastwood Bryson (AUS) – International Race Walking Judge

Tokyo is my first appointment to an Olympic Games as an international official, but I was appointed to the 2000 Paralympic Games as a Callroom Official.

What are you most looking forward to in Tokyo?
Initially, I would have said the whole experience of the games, venue, and events. After the postponement due to Covid, the relocation of the Racewalking events to Sapporo, I now would say the privilege of judging and seeing the athletes hopefully achieve what they set out. These games will be something to remember.

How did you start officiating?
I was initially a Javelin, and discus thrower and my then partner was a Race Walker. I was firstly helping with our recording and timekeeping. Instead of just watching, I became involved as an official. A few years later, Bob Cruise, who was then on the IAAF International Race Walking Panel, suggested that I become a Race Walk Judge. Through his mentorship, I gained my Athletics Australian official accreditation. In 2009 I was invited to sit the Level 2 exams and was appointed to the Oceania Area Panel, Race Walk Judge. 2010 I was invited to attend the IAAF Level 3 seminar and examination. Unfortunately, although I passed the exam, I was not appointed. In 2014 I was invited again, and this time was successful and appointed to the IAAF International Panel of Race Walking Judges and in 2018, reappointed to the panel. Apart from being a Race Walk Judge, I also officiated in the Callroom and was appointed to the 2006 and 2018 Commonwealth Games. I was also the Chief Walk Judge at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

A bit of advice for officials starting?

As a new official, never be afraid to ask for advice from existing officials. Officials are a family and eager to pass on our knowledge. Keep up today with the rules and significant changes. Set your goals; you may not want to be an International Official but be the best official you can, at every level you want. Enjoy officiating

Janet Nixon (AUS) – International Photo Finish Judge

I was NTO in Photo Finish in 2000 (SYD). Then in 2004 (Athens), I was appointed as International Photo Finish Judge. I have been appointed to the Tokyo Olympics as an International Photo Finish judge.
Paralympics: I was the Chief Photo Finish Judge in 2000, the International Photo Finish Judge in 2008 (Beijing), and 2016 (Rio).
Youth Olympics: I was International PFJ for the first two events – in 2010 (Singapore) and 2014 (Nanjing)

What are you most looking forward to in Tokyo?

I relish the challenge of a different culture and circumstance.
With most of the audience viewing electronically, there will be more emphasis than usual on getting the results right the first time. Understanding the many ways that our electronic audience can view the event worldwide will be critical in ensuring that we deliver a quality service to all our athletics fans. Any Olympic games offer challenges. Tokyo 2021 will have its twists. I hope that I will overcome any language, culture and communications challenges very quickly.

How did you start officiating?
As a child, I assisted with running paperwork around the track. As the years passed, I made myself available to many areas. However, my formal appointments have been mainly focused on the technical and management areas, mainly in a photo finish, results and timing.
One day when I was living in Scotland and went with my local club to a competition on the other side of the country, I signed up as a club official and said that I was a field event judge. That didn’t happen again! The club captain looked surprised (he knew that I was better known for photo finish), but he said nothing, and I enjoyed the opportunity to spend a day outside on the high jump with the athletes.

A bit of advice for officials starting?
My experience is that the officials who turn up and enjoy what they are doing tend to come back and enjoy it some more.
If we all have fun and help our colleagues have fun, we are more likely to come back and do it again.
We are volunteers – enjoy it.