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Community & Business

2 December, 2021

Students have a brush with Olympic gold

Gold medal winner and Commonwealth and Olympic athlete, Dane Bird-Smith, paid a special visit to St Monica’s Primary School on Wednesday to give students an insight into what it takes to be the best in a sporting field and inspire them to go for gold at the 2032 Brisbane Olympics.

Dane Bird-Smith shows his Commonwealth and Olympic medals to students Abby, Nate, Arabella, Jennifer and Ace.

Bird-Smith, aka “The Birdman”, led a session with the students as part of the Olympics Unleashed schools program.

The world class athlete told students about the mixture of hard work, consistency and some disappointments that drove him to fight for a position on the 2016 Rio Olympics podium and a gold medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in the 20km race walk event.

“There is always going to be triumphs, tears, ups and downs. It’s not always just the easiest thing or the best thing to do in the world,” he said.

Bird-Smith said it was narrowly missing out qualifying for the 2012 Olympic Games team that spurred him on to achieve a spot and a bronze medal in the Rio Games.

“I finished fourth. Three seconds is what separated me from third place and getting to go to the Olympics. It was really tough and something that I had worked for five years to get to.

“I was disappointed and frustrated but I turned that frustration into drive.”

Bird-Smith said this success came down to a combination of perseverance, goal-setting and having a good team around him.

He urged the students to think about their goals and to make plans to achieve them.

With students at the event between eight and 12 years, he said they are the perfect age to prepare to compete at the 2032 Brisbane Olympics.

He said those games will be contested by athletes in their 20s who are now primary school aged.

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