Sporting capital puts on a show for Rio returnees

Published 31 August 2016 (AEDT)

TEAM: It claims to be the sporting capital of the world and Melbourne did their best at proving that point on a sunny Wednesday afternoon as the locals turned out in force to welcome home the Australian Olympic Team.

The second stop on the week-long tour of the country featured over 50 Rio 2016 athletes, who were overwhelmed by the amount of support they received in the Victorian capital.

The athletes came together in Bourke Street Mall where dignitaries, entertainers, family, friends and fans joined as one to celebrate the feats of a Team that gave it their all in Rio.   

“It’s amazing to be here today in Melbourne and see how much support there has been from everyone,” said Rio 2016 silver medallist and Bendigo born walker Jared Tallent.

“It’s great there is a massive crowd out for all the Olympians to welcome us home and celebrate our achievements.”

Alec Potts made history in Rio by combining with Taylor Worth and Ryan Tyack to win the nation’s first ever team archery medal when they claimed bronze at the Sambodromo.

The Melbourne local joined in signing hundreds of autographs and taking countless selfies with the adoring crowd.  

“It’s pretty overwhelming and really incredible,” the 20-year-old said.

“It really sinks in when you come home and see the amount of people that turn out to see us all.”

While the masses of fans got the chance to meet and greet with the stars they also got the chance to hear some inspirational words from some of our newest Olympic Champions.

“I thank all of you so much for coming out here today,” said rower Kim Brennan who added Olympic gold to her silver and bronze medals from London in Rio.

“It’s because of you that it’s possible to make the Olympics more than just us and it’s possible for us to share the joy.”

Brennan was just as eager a supporter as she was a competitor at the Rio Games and will take plenty of memories from her third Olympic appearance.

“We all fell in love with Chloe Esposito’s smile on the victory dais, we were inspired by Jared’s gutsy and brave 50km walk and were also inspired by Jared’s sister Rachel who completed the 20km walk despite being on crutches the week before the Games.

“Victory comes in so many forms and it’s not only measured in gold medals. There are athletes here that missed so many teams before they made this Olympics and have made so many sacrifices.

“It’s our choice to do this and we do it because we love it and we do it because we are so passionate to represent this country.”

Brennan and her teammates will continue to share their passion around the country with the next stop being on Thursday in Adelaide before heading to Brisbane, Hobart, Perth and Canberra.

Matt Bartolo
olympics.com.au 

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