Rio hopefuls inspired at ASPIRE's Perth session

Published 1 March 2016 (AEDT)

ASPIRE: It was the ultimate venue to get a taste of what the Rio 2016 Games will be like, as Olympic hopefuls stood on the athletics track of the West Australian Institute Sport at the Australian Olympic Committee’s ASPIRE session.

The second instalment on the road to Rio after IGNITE, ASPIRE provides an opportunity to learn about Rio, what it means to be on the Australian Olympic Team, try on uniform sizing and take accreditation headshots.

As the Australia-wide roadshow continued, the sixth session in Perth kicked off with a warcry roll-call of sports as more than 100 athletes and officials found out more about what this year’s Games will be like.

MC and five-time Olympian Natalie Cook introduced each sport; beach volleyball, taekwondo, fencing, hockey, gymnastics and equestrian, each sport was invited to cheer in return – or in hockey’s case “hoo haa”.

To set the scene for the session the crowd watched in awe as a highlights package provided by Channel 7 showcased the past few decades of amazing Australian Olympic moments.

A video montage of aerial shots of Rio and recent Test Events were also shown to provide an insight into what the athletes can expect venue wise but also the colour and vibrancy that will be at the first South American Games.

Dual Olympian Lauren Mitchell, back training after seriously injuring her knee last year, still has her eye on her Rio dream.

"Even though I've been there before (to the Olympics) watching the first video they put up I was like damn. Damn I wanna go again!

"This is amazing, it's inspiration and motivaion and I want to get out there and start training." 

AOC CEO Fiona de Jong talked athletes through where the Australian Olympic Team will be situated in the village as well as the Edge.

The Edge, which includes a gymnasium and pool, is designed to be used by Australian athletes as a recovery space and to meet family and friends during Games Time.

“It is a space designated for Australian Team athletes,” de Jong said.

“The Edge is designed for you to go and meet your family and friends. There’ll be a space for you to meet with them.

“It’s an initiative we have taken to allow you to have as many of your sport specific people around you on the field of play.”

With 18 athletes already selected on the 2016 Australian Team, de Jong is excited to see the Team take shape.

“We already have around 230 spots qualified.. We’re tracking to around 448 athletes.”

Dual Olympian Gemma Beadsworth and member of the Australian water polo Team spoke about health and wellbeing after being a part of the Australian Team in Rio de Janeiro to play a small test event against five countries.

She was part of “It’s a fantastic city but you can’t really describe it. Beautiful beaches, beautiful people. It’s going to be a pretty special Olympics.”

For triple Olympian Mark Knowles the session was proof the men's hockey team squad is on the right track to scoring a medal at Rio.

"It was a fantastic day I think especially for the men's team coming back into the program, the first day of our Olympic cycle," he said.

"It brought a bit of excitement I think some of the words, aspire, inspire, excellende, dedication, I think those are the things that need to kick us into gear for the next four or five months."

Annie Kearney

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