This was effectively Day 0 for the Aussie NOC. They were expecting just under 100 people to arrive in to the Village. That was roughly 1/7 of the total delegation. We were nervous…to say the least. I was lucky as I was on a late again but from what people told me they had been going non stop. People were arriving by the coach load, then their bags, then people were wanting to find out how to get to places. It really was properly full on and non stop for those guys.
Same thing for us again over the two days. More bags, more athletes, it was pretty heavy on and pretty knackering as well but the people you meet is just really fantastic. Some of the Swimmers were arriving on Day 9 and I was tasked with waiting at the welcome Centre to get them out to Outfitting for their Uniforms, bringing them back etc. Two guys, one late twenties to early thirties and someone else younger than myself, or at least looked alot younger than me, got off the bus and hadn’t even been to their room yet so had no idea where they were going. Taking them thru the accreditation process and then onto the bus. Pointing out various places in the village as we went. The older athlete was chattier asking what I was doing down at the Village, my role etc. and seemed genuinely interested in what I was saying and was really friendly. The younger guy seemed more like a deer in headlights which can be understandable as I imagine everything is just so overwhelming for people, especially the debutees and younger athletes.
Doing our lap round the Village in the bus we got off and I took both the guys up to Aussie HQ. The taller guy thanked me for bringing them and both shook my hand. With me replying to problem, good luck and if you need anything you know where we are. I managed to get a look at his accreditation and caught the other guys name as ‘Cammy’ obviously a nickname but I knew that they were both swimmers.
Seconds later after leaving them I dashed onto the computer in the office to see who they were. Boy was I surprised and more star struck than ever!
The older guy was Brenton Rickard:
28 years old
2008 Beijing – 2nd (200m breaststroke); 2nd (4x100m medley); 5th (100m breaststroke)
Breaking the World Record and becoming World Champion for 100m Breaststroke in 2009
I was pretty blown away that I really had just met an actual World Champion. The fact that he had been so nice just went to show he was just a down to earth normal person who happens to be fantastic at his sport.
Next came the younger, ‘deer caught in the headlights’ guy.
He was Cameron McEvoy:
18 years old
He broke Ian Thorpe’s 100m freestyle 16 yr and 17 yr age record
Made the 2012 Olympic Team
Won the 100m freestyle Singapore World Cup
Needless to say I was pretty impressed by both these guys. It was just absolutely astonishing that they are both brilliant swimmers and yet such nice people at the same time. You really don’t expect it at all.