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Australia prepares for Olympic Day 2017

21 June 2017

OLYMPIC DAY: The Australian Olympic Committee is ready to celebrate International Olympic Day on Friday June 23 with numerous great Olympians rallying behind this significant day on the Olympic calendar.

Throughout the month of June, the AOC encourages athletes to return to school and share their inspirational sporting journeys with the next generation.

Triple Olympic swimmer and gold medallist, Adam Pine, visited Emmanuel College on the Gold Coast last week, speaking to four Year 1 classes about the Olympic Games, the history of the Games and Australia’s success in the modern era.

“I spoke with students and shared with them my journey where I narrowly missed out on the ‘96 team and had to deal with this disappointment and improve for the next time around,” said Pine who is a passionate ambassador of Olympism.

“I believe that visiting schools is very important as it is a great way to spread the message about the Olympic movement and the importance of living a healthy and active lifestyle.”

Pine, a freestyle and butterfly specialist who claimed one gold and three silver Olympic medals, said the students were full of questions and enthusiasm to learn more about his swimming and overall sporting career.

“As always, I got some great questions such as; what other sports I played when I was 6? How old I was? Why did I choose swimming? Do I play soccer? Can I do gymnastics? And is the medal real gold?”

Another triple Olympian Melissa Wu will be celebrating Olympic Day with students at North Strathfield Public School on Friday.

The diver hopes to share her Olympic experiences and encourage students to get active and involved in sport.

“I plan on sharing with them the positive impact that sport has had on my life and how it has shaped me as a person,” Wu said.

“I also hope that by sharing some of my stories that I inspire the kids to follow their dreams and never give up.”

Wu became the youngest Australian ever to win an Olympic medal in diving after she claimed silver at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing alongside Briony Cole.

Despite her Games’ success Wu never had the chance to meet an Olympian when she was a student.

“I never had Olympians speak at my school when I was younger but it's something that I would have really loved, so I'm happy to have the opportunity to speak to students now that I'm older.”

The 25-year-old believes Olympians visiting schools are vital to spreading the word about Olympic Day and the spirit of the Olympic Games.

“Olympic Day gives us the opportunity to encourage kids to get involved in sport and by doing so, they become part of a wider community where they can learn important values such as sportsmanship, respect, pride and comradery.”

Across the country, heptathlete Kylie Wheeler will pay a visit to the rural town of Tom Price, 1500km north of Perth.

Wheeler first visited the mining town situated in the Pilbara region of Western Australian on a welcome home tour after the 2008 Beijing Games.

“I really enjoyed my first experience in Tom Price during the welcome home tour,” said Wheeler who enjoys the chance to visit such a rural region.

“The communities are often so welcoming they are great fun to visit.

“Understandably people in these remote towns face additional challenges but hopefully they will get the encouragement and support to find a way to fulfil their own dreams.”

37-year-old Wheeler competed at the Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, finishing 18th and 10th respectively in the women’s heptathlon.

Wheeler will participate in a ‘Meet with a Champ’ session at Tom Price Senior High School where she plans to share her journey to the Olympic start line and share some experiences that students can relate to.

“Hopefully something may encourage, motivate or inspire them in some way!

“I hope these students realise that the athletes they see at the Olympics are just people like themselves and although dreams and goals may be different, we hope to provide an example of how anyone’s aspirations can be attainable.”

Around Australia, several more events will be held to celebrate the formation of the International Olympic Committee way back in 1896.

While many athletes participate in visits to their local primary students, the South Australian Olympic Council will also host a ‘Meet with a Champ’ session with cycling Olympians Stephanie Morton and Stuart O’Grady.

In Melbourne, Victorian secondary students will be presented with the 2017 Pierre de Coubertin award, in an Olympic Academy Day featuring Rio Olympians; Ellia Green, Jeff Riseley and Catherine Skinner as well as Athletics legend, Steve Moneghetti.

In Sydney, the Australian Olympic Committee will host a ceremony at the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence to present Rio 2016 Olympians who are of Indigenous heritage with a plaque of recognition.

At the same ceremony, four-time Olympian Rob de Castella will be presented with the IOC ‘Sport Beyond Borders’ awards for his work with the Indigenous Marathon Foundation, a charity he formed in 2010.

Olympic Day brings together people from all over the world to celebrate the Olympic Games and the Olympic Values, aiming to encourage young people to participate in sport and lead active and healthy lives.

For more information on Olympic Day visit: http://education.olympics.com.au/programs/olympic-day/

Ashleigh Knight

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