This week I filmed a Q&A, and the presenter asked me questions about my Olympic experiences. It had me reminiscing. Even putting on my Rio 2016 Olympic Jacket before I left for the interview, flooded me with special memories. I think we often forget about the intricacies of important events or opportunities, but with focused reflection we are still able to remember those moments vividly. Every time I think back to competing at an Olympic Games, I get a warm and fuzzy feeling, and a huge smile creeps onto my face without me realising. I thought I would share some of my favourite Olympic memories with you. I have plenty, so will spread them out across a few blog posts.
Receiving my Olympic blazer pocket (London 2012)
When we arrived at the Olympic Village in London, we had to go through an official accreditation process and then we received our keys and cards that got us into our rooms, and also enabled us to scan at every vending machine in the village and Olympic venues for free. Already in awe of my surroundings, within the first couple of hours, we had a team welcome ceremony and a briefing from our Chef de Mission, Nick Green OAM. During the welcome ceremony each athlete was presented with our own framed Australian Olympic Blazer pocket. This symbolised being part of a very special team of Australian Olympians, and to me, represented my journey to get me to my debut Games. The great Laurie Lawrence gave us a brilliant pep talk, introducing us to the great spirit of the Australian team, and I'll never forget the chills I felt and the pump of adrenaline that ran through my veins realising the enormity of becoming an Australian Olympian.
Meeting some of my sporting idols
I have been a sports fanatic from the beginning, so being at an Olympic Games and amongst some of my all-time favourite athletes was simply unbelievable. In London, I was overwhelmed by everything. I firstly could not believe I was actually competing at the Olympic Games, let alone walking past Usain Bolt in the food hall. Lucky I had some youthful naivety and had no issue asking my idols to take a photo (that changed in 2016!).
One night David Beckham brought his kids to watch the diving and on their way out my Canadian friend Eric and I ran down the secure athlete exit stairs that mirrored the lift the Beckhams were travelling down. As the elevator door opened, we greeted 'Mr Beckham' with panting smiles and he kindly spent a minute congratulating us for competing at the Olympics and kindly took a photo with us.
I had the honour of meeting the great Kobe Bryant and also sat front row watching the USA Men's Basketball team take on the Australian Boomers. I didn't realise humans could be so tall. I saw Roger Federer, Andy Murray and the USA Women's Gymnastics team (big fan) and in Rio I met Carmello Anthony, Simone Biles, Patty Mills and so many more.
Dancing along to the Spice Girls at the Closing Ceremony (London 2012)
This one is self explanatory! We all ran into the Olympic Stadium and danced around as the Spice Girls circled us in British Cars, singing all the bangers. It was the best way to celebrate my first Olympic Games with friends, old and new.
I could keep adding more meories, but I'll save them for a Part 2...
Til next week, Belle
"The most important thing is to try and inspire people so that they can be great at whatever they want to do." – Kobe Bryant.