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Surf legend Hurst loves Olympic buzz

26 July 2012

OPEN WATER SWIMMING: Ky Hurst is a legend of the Australian surf. He is the only man to have won seven Australian ironman titles and 27 Australian surf titles, and has been inducted into the Surf Lifesaving Hall of Fame.

But when asked what gave him the biggest buzz, ironman or the Olympics, he had no hesitation. “Being here,” Hurst said emphatically.

“I love ironman racing, I live and breathe it, there’s nothing better than heading out into a big wall of water,” he emphasised.

“But the buzz you get here being part of the Australian team, and knowing the endless support you have back home and here in London ...

“When you walk into the (Olympic) Village and through the cafeteria, it’s very memorable. I guess the Olympic Games is the pinnacle of sport, and to say you have been to two is a dream come true.”

Hurst, 31, and fellow open water competitor Melissa Gorman, 26, won Olympic selection 12 months ago with their performances at the World Championships in Shanghai.

Hurst finished fifth and Gorman fourth, and the duo also took out a silver medal in the teams relay but that is another story.

Having both competed at Beijing, they feel much more confident and relaxed about their prospects in London.

Adding to the good vibes is the spectator friendly venue at Hyde Park which will allow family and friends to view the 10km races in their entirety of six one mile laps.

“When you look at Beijing, the venue there was a good spot for a race, but this is perfect. To have it in Hyde Park is absolutely fantastic. I feel pretty lucky to be part of it.”

In Hurst’s case, the fan contingent will include Mum Kerry and partner Katie. Brother Dane would also have been in London but his wife is expecting on August 11 (the day after the event), so it could be a double celebration.

Hurst arrived in London on July 25, sporting a heavy beard, and a self-admitted 3.5kg lighter, but says he has never swum better.

Gorman also was in good spirits after being fitted with the official Australian team uniform.

“Leading into Beijing I was quite inexperienced to open water swimming,” Gorman said.

“It was only my second year of swimming in the open water, but this time around I feel a lot more confident and that I belong in the sport.

“I really held my own against the top girls the past couple of years, so I’m going into this race really looking forward to it and knowing I can mix it with the girls in there.”

Hurst and Gorman will spend four days in the Olympic Village before going to Manchester for a week to complete their preparation.

Michael Stevens in London

Olympics.com.au

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