Yachting Australia completed its' 'Meet the Medallists' state tour last night in Queensland at the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron with seven team members and a crowd of over 100 sailing enthusiasts who enjoyed the inspirational presentation opened by the President of Yachting Queensland, Ken Hurling.
Meeting of the Olympic Medallists at Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron
RQYS Commodore, Keith Anderson welcomed the audience with special mention to; former Olympic Gold Medallist, John Cuneo who won the Dragon Class in 1972, past Australian Sailing Team Managers, John Harrison and Graeme Roberts Thompson and Yachting Queenslands' very own State High Performance Coach and 2008 Olympic Yngling Team Coach, Adrian Finglas before handing the floor over to the MC for the evening, Yachting Australia's Media & Marketing Services Coordinator and former Olympian, Laura Baldwin.
First to be called to the stage were the Paralympic Silver Medallists in the SKUD 18 Class, Dan Fitzgibbon and Rachael Cox, who are members of RQYS. The pair expressed their delight at the reception they received and the magic feelings they experienced whilst standing on the podium watching the Australian flag being hoisted. Both agreed that the greatest emotions had flowed since their return home after time to reflect on what they had achieved. The team is now aiming to win Gold in London 2012.
Next up were the Olympic Silver Medallists in the Tornado Class, Darren Bundock and Glenn Ashby who have won a combined total of 11 World Titles with Darren now being a two time Olympic Silver Medallists. The team both felt that the Opening Ceremony was the highlight of their Olympic experience.
Darren described it as, 'Electric! You walk out into the Olympic Stadium in your uniform along side sporting super stars and are met by a thunderous roar generated by hundreds of thousands of excited fans and supporters from all around the world, it's an empowering experience!'
Olympic Gold Medallists in the Men's 470 Class, Malcolm Page who won his first National title at RQYS, arrived sporting a mo as he is fundraising for Movember, one of the many charity functions he has supported since his return from the Games. Malcolm threw his medal into the audience to hold and admire whilst he shared his highlights and feelings of National pride. He described the journey and outlined the effort required to achieve his dream and the importance of goal setting.
The final Olympic Team member to be called to the stage was the legendary Victor Kovalenko who has now coached eight teams to win Olympic Medals in the 470 Class, five of them Gold with twice winning the double, Men's and Women's 470 events at Sydney and now again in Beijing. The reason for his success was clear as soon as he began speaking. His passion and energy for the sport is clear and his words were empowering. He made the sailors in the room, young and old realise that they too can be champions.
All the Medallists agreed the Olympics is very addictive and that after a break they will return to campaign for London 2012.
Those who sail in Queensland are very fortunate to have access to an Olympic Coach who can guide them towards achieving their goals with Adrian Finglas as the State High Performance Coach.
The evening concluded with autograph signing of a selection of sailing posters provided by Yachting Australia whilst the club provided a fantastic selection of canapés.