All the attention was on the men in Tokyo after Australian Alex Porter crashed in qualifying for the men's team pursuit after his handlebars snapped off .
It was a tough start to the track cycling for Australia, after St George Cycling Clubs Ashlee Ankudinoff's women team finished second-last in the women's team pursuit qualifying heats.
The Australian combination of Georgia Baker, Annette Edmondson, Ashlee Ankudinoff and Alexandra Manly rode 4:13:571 and were automatically out of contention for the gold and silver medals.
The team were then left to fight for bronze defeating New Zealand in a time of 4mins 9.99secs.
Although out of the medals, they backed that up with a time of 4mins 11.04secs against Italy to take fifth.
Ankudinoff said they had no excuses.
"We just didn't have it, in the lead up we had no injuries or sickness and unfortunately in this event you have to be the best on the day, we were just beaten by better teams," Ankudinoff said.
She said they left their first day's disappointment behind them in their Italian win.
"We know we're capable of going under 4:10', and to only miss out on a bronze medal ride by 0.7 of a second that's the best we could do."
The Australia men won a gutsy bronze medal.
St George team mate Kaarle McCulloch made a good start to her games, by progressing to the quarter finals of the keirin.
She said she was a bit nervous in her first race.
"In my second race I definitely nailed it and was really happy to get through," McCulloch said.
"I can see across the board there's a bit of nerves, nobody has raced for a year and a half, but as the competition goes on we'll see better racing. I hope that's going to happen to me."
Unfortunately for Kaarle she failed to make the women's final, she was well-positioned inside the last three of the six-lap event, but was unable to capitalise and finished ninth.
It was a hard lead-up to the Games for 33 yr-old McCulloch, who won bronze in the team sprint with Anna Meares at the London Olympics.
Her team sprint partner retired in the Covid delay after they won silver at last year's world's and then she suffered a back injury.
McCulloch was still proud of her top-10 keirin finish in Tokyo after overcoming these setbacks to get there.
"Obviously I would have loved to have been in the final but it wasn't meant to be, and ninth in the world considering where I've come from over this last 18 months, I'm just happy to be here."
McCulloch left the door open for her cycling career to continue, after she finished her Tokyo campaign in the final's repechage of the women's sprint.
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