Olympians welcomed home

13 September 2012

experience at the London Olympics
Jess Foxx, Kaarle McCulloch and Peter Hadfield in a panel about their experience at the London Olympics 2012

In a celebratory lunch at the Four Seasons on Friday, returning Olympians from the University of Sydney shared candid insights into their Olympic experience, and the challenges of juggling study and intensive sporting commitments.

Instantly recognizable in their official green and gold Olympic jackets, students who recently competed as part of the Sydney University Sport & Fitness (SUSF) program mingled with University staff, alumni, donors and previous University Olympians.

University of Sydney Vice Chancellor Dr Michael Spence welcomed home the 10 of our Olympians who were present, and further acknowledged the 20 University of Sydney Olympians in the room.

In addition to the welcome, guests at the luncheon enjoyed a live auction and raffle draw, as well as two lively panel discussions hosted by Arts/Law graduate Greg O'Mahoney.

The first panel included silver medalist and first year arts student Jess Foxx, bronze medalist and Education and Social Work student Kaarle McColloch, and previous Olympian and commentator Peter Hadfield, who also graduated with a Bachelor of Economics from the University of Sydney in 1976.

Ex-pole vaulter and Olympic commentator Peter Hadfield spoke of the London Olympics, which was his ninth in attendance, as being "the strongest of any Olympics I has ever been to".

Speaking about the track and field program, he said "beside the performance of the athletes, the fact that there were 80,000 people at every session of the track and field was quite amazing".

Jess Foxx gave further insight, by voicing her mind-set during her kayak slalom event, in which she won a silver medal.

She explained "I thought, oh my gosh, I'm in fourth, and then I thought, please let me get a place! I don't want to finish in fourth! But then when I found out that at worst I had bronze, I already started celebrating, so then to end up with silver was awesome".

"I just managed to pull out the run of my life, so I was very happy", she said.

Greg O'Mahoney also questioned her about juggling her training and Arts degree.

"I was lucky with Sydney Uni Sport and Fitness, as we were able to talk to my tutors and lecturers and I was able to move things around and change my timetable to suit my training," said Jess. "I think I would have struggled if I was doing my degree full-time, so it looks like it is going to be a long degree! But, I'll be back next year."

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