Adelaide out in force to welcome home Rio Team
1 September 2016
TEAM: A large and passionate crowd gathered in Adelaide on Thursday to meet over 30 athletes from the 2016 Australian Olympic Team.
The athletes were there to thank the large crowd for their support throughout their long Rio campaigns. And a few couldn’t resist joining in with the flamboyant Brazilian dancers
The school children, fans and dignitaries gathered to welcome home their heroes and get some autographs. No doubt many autograph cards are now pride of place in the bedrooms of the next generation of sporting stars.
Local stars including Kyle Chalmers, Anna Meares, Jared Tallent, Annette Edmondson, Jess Trengove, Louise Bawden, Taliqua Clancy and Matt Glaetzer were joined by shooting gold medallist Catherine Skinner and the silver medal winning men’s Four and Quad crews, to name a few.
Tallent is not only the country’s most distinguished male athletics competitor but a very popular autograph signing uncle.
“It’s just so special to be home and have everyone from Adelaide and South Australia come out to see you and recognise you for your achievements,” Tallent said.
“The main thing for us is to be here and say thank you because it’s not only the support that everyone gave us in Rio but the support we have received over many years leading in to the Games.
“It’s great to have so many school children here and my nephews here as well. Today I’m like a superstar and when we get home I’ll just be a normal uncle.”
The day also reminded him of when he had an Olympic swimmer come to his primary school which triggered his drive to dream big and want to be an Olympian. He was more than happy to let kids hold his medal knowing the day will inspire others.
Freestyle gold medallist Kyle Chalmers is the toast of Adelaide and now more famous than his football playing father.
"Having people like this come out and see me today is pretty awesome,” Chalmers said. “And to see the smiles on the rest of the guys I know we really appreciate it."
A highlight of the day was some of the athletes arriving via Adelaide’s version of the pedal powered took-took. Meares and Edmondson were ready to take over if the local drivers got tired.
Before the public event under the warm sun at Victoria Square, the athletes walked on the magical Adelaide Oval and were hosted at a function by the South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill and Lord Mayor Martin Haese.
Family members and Olympians from past teams gave a rousing reception at the Oval.
Former South Australian Governor and Olympic sprinting legend Marjorie Jackson Nelson was on hand to meet the athletes. Australia’s first female athletics gold medallist was keen to see her name inside the Rio Olympic blazer alongside the other Helsinki 1952 champions.
Jackson Nelson was like everyone else in the room. Still recovering from long nights in front on the television watching the Aussie athletes in Rio.