Reflections on London 2012

26 July 2013

Over the coming days, Olympians all across Australia and the world will celebrate the one year anniversary of the 2012 London Games. With 12 months gone, we look at what some of Australia’s athletes are up to now and get an insight into their Olympic memories.

Kim Crow – Rowing, SILVER – Double Scull, BRONZE – Single Scull

The Olympics are such a special celebration of sport and solidarity. They really are the pinnacle in sports like rowing, and something we work towards every hour of every day for years upon years. It is such an honour to be able to represent your country at the Games, and truly challenge the limits of your capacity. For me, it was an opportunity to test myself against the best in the world, and wear the green and gold with pride.

Once all the racing was finished, my doubles partner Brooke and coach Lyall and myself sat on the end of the boating pontoon, looking out over the Eton Regatta Centre. We reminisced our journey- the tough times, the funny times, the all encompassing fatigue. It was a great realisation of what a wonderful friendship we had forged and memories we will cherish forever.

It made me realise how much was possible. The Olympics are such a wonderfully emotional event, and London made me excited to challenge myself to be even better in Rio in four years time.

Tom Slingsby – Sailing (Laser), GOLD

The Olympics was everything to me. It was my driving force for 10 years. It was the thing that made me put in so much hard work on land and on the water. I definitely wouldn’t have worked as hard as I did if I was just chasing world titles. The Olympics is above all that – it’s the pinnacle of our sport.

My London experience really just re-affirmed my belief that if you work hard and put the work in, you will get the rewards. After Beijing 2008, I didn’t really believe this philosophy. I worked so hard for a long time and to come up short was heartbreaking. However after London I realised good things do happen. They might not happen immediately but they will happen.

A few weeks after the Games I started full time with Oracle Team USA – defender of the Americas Cup team over in San Francisco. I’m still sailing professionally, doing what I love so I’m very lucky. So as of now, I just have my head down working hard to try and win the Americas Cup in September. Then finally I get to come home and have a few cold beers with my mates over summer.

Jessica Fox - Canoe/Kayak Slalom, SILVER

I have so many memories of the London Olympics! The Opening Ceremony was an amazing experience and it was a really special feeling to parade out into the stadium. I felt so proud to be a part of this team and it got me so excited to race. Obviously, one of my best memories was winning a silver medal and achieving a childhood dream!

The Olympics is something I've grown up aspiring to and I've been dreaming of one day competing for Australia. To qualify was already a huge achievement and I just wanted to enjoy the experience, make the most of it and race my best. It's hard to describe the feeling you get wearing the green and gold, walking out into the Olympic stadium, jumping up on the dais and receiving an Olympic medal. Combine these emotions and experiences with the whole buzz of the Games - it's an unbelievable event that you want to be a part of again and again!

London 2012 was such a big learning curve and a world class competition like no other. I have grown a lot as an athlete and winning a medal has given me confidence, but it also highlighted what I need to work on in the coming years. In London I was 18 and in my first Olympics, an unbelievable experience and I left for home inspired and hungry for more!

Nicola Zagame – Water Polo, BRONZE

Of course it was a dream come true going to the Olympic Games, it meant that all my hard work had paid off and that I was able to represent my country at the highest possible sporting event! It was everything I had imagined and more.

My best memory of the Olympic Games was walking out into the water polo arena for our first game. I had so many emotions running through my veins- I was so excited, extremely nervous, confident and proud all at the same time and remember spotting my family in the crowd with their hilarious green and gold wigs and a big smile instantly appearing on my face.

I had a break off training after the Olympics and went overseas travelling for a few months. In the new year I was straight back into uni and hard core training so I could prepare for the 2013 World Championships. The London Olympics have inspired me to continue my dream of becoming an Olympic GOLD medallist. Bring on Rio 2016 baby!

Thomas Edgar – Volleyball

After experiencing the level of competition and being able to see the pinnacle of volleyball in London, it made me see that not only our team but personally I was on the brink of being able to compete with some of the best players in the world. So after experiencing this level of competition it has increased my drive to become a stronger player, both physically and technically.

Personally beating the the no.3 ranked team in the world Poland was a very special moment for me at the Olympics. Not only because it was the first time in a major competition we had beaten a high ranking team but also for the people I got to share the moment with. To share that with some of my family and my friends in the team, it really made the moment more special as it was a culmination of all of our work and sacrifices in one fantastic game.

Since London I have played in Serie A1 in Italy for Sir Safety Perugia finishing 6th. This season I will be playing professionally in the Korean KOVO League for LIG Greaters. As an Australian team we have been trying to increase our participation and experience in major competitions with the world's best. This has led to this year our team attempting to qualify for the most prestigious annual volleyball competition the FIVB World League and also the FIVB World Championship. These two competitions among other international competitions are extremely important leading up to Rio as our squad is still extremely young and will benefit from the experience of playing in major competitions with the best countries in the world.

Emma Jackson – Triathlon

The best memory for me was being able to share my Olympic experience with those closest to me. It was great being able to have my Mum, Grandma and boyfriend come over and watch me race in the biggest race of my life. Also it was good to share the memory with my coach who has also dreamt of one day going to an Olympic Games with an athlete. Their continued support over the years is what helped me get to the London Olympic Games.

Growing up my dream has always been to represent Australia at the Olympic Games so for it to come true was just amazing. It was great to know all my hard work and training paid off and I achieved something that most people only dream of doing. It was a very rewarding experience.

Soon after the Games I took my annual break from training and then got back into it to get ready for the 2013 season. I am currently over in Europe following the World Triathlon Series. My Olympic experience inspired me to train even harder so I can make more Olympic teams and ultimately win that Olympic gold medal.

Dave Smith - Canoe/Kayak Sprint, GOLD

My Olympic experience was a dream come true. It's always a hard thing to explain what it's like achieve the highest of achievements in sport - an Olympic gold medal. It was an incredible feeling of relief and self satisfaction that I have achieved what I set my life sporting goal on, coupled with a huge amount of jubilation once we crossed the line. It was made even better when two days later, my girlfriend Nina Curtis won a silver medal in the sailing.
Something that I didn't expect to come out of my Olympic experience was the appreciation of defeat. We experienced a terrible defeat in Beijing and it wasnt until after we won gold in London that I realised how much of a mental advantage it had given us. We weren't afraid of losing and the lessons we learnt from the past are always the hardest.
After the Games I had quite a lot of down time, did a little bit of travel in Europe and enjoyed the experience of winning gold back home in Australia. Surprisingly winning gold had made me hungrier for another. The team has committed to another four years of training and we have learnt a lot. Now we have to balance a lot new parts in life with our sporting commitments which will be a new challenge to add to the mix.

Anna Flanagan – Hockey

My best memory of the London 2012 Games was definitely walking out for our first game and singing the anthem in front of thousands of cheering people and my family. It was and will be one of the proudest moments if my life to represent my country!

The Olympics is everything we work towards in the four years prior. We dedicate our lives to try win a gold medal and to be able to share it with all the other Australian athletes is a very special moment. The Olympic experience was unbelievable and the feeling of playing in that arena and event is something that inspires us to train hard every day to get the gold medal we are after.

We just won world league 3, beating England in the final. This qualifies us for the World Cup next year. Germany won the other World League semi final and we convincingly beat them in the lead up to our tournament. We are very confident in how we are playing and the direction of the team and will focus on good results at World Cup and Commonwealth Games leading into Rio.

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