Like many other Australians, Cathy Freeman’s 2000 Olympic gold medal ignited a burning desire in Taliqua Clancy, to one day wear the same green and gold uniform.
- Olympians Taliqua Clancy, Danny Morseu and Brad Hore toured Far North Queensland as part of the AOC’s Olympics Unleashed program
- The program offers children a chance to frame realistic goals by meeting Olympians and hearing their stories
- The tour visited Indigenous communities on Thursday Island, Horn Island, Yarrabah and Lockhart River
The now two-time beach volleyball Olympian hopes her achievements will inspire the next generation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander kids to also dream of competing on the world’s biggest sporting stage.
“I just remember when I was a kid, and I sat and watch the 2000 Olympics, that was the reason why I’m in the position that I am today,” the Tokyo silver medallist said.
“So I’m hoping they watched us all compete, and I hope that’s enough for them to just go out and, and be active and who knows, to even be a part of the 2032 Olympics here in Queensland.”
Clancy joined former Olympians, basketballer Danny Morseu and boxer Brad Hore, on a tour across Far North Queensland this week, as part of the Australian Olympic Committee’s (AOC) ‘Olympics Unleashed’ program.
Visiting Thursday Island, Horn Island, Yarrabah and Lockhart River along their travels, Clancy said there lies a pool of talented future athletes.
Head of school at Horn Island primary campus, Tony Zieth, said a visit from their heroes could ignite an Olympic dream in young people.
“It allows a connection for the students to see a bridge that they need to travel to actually become an Olympian,” he said.
The Australian team that travelled to Tokyo this year included the largest contingent of Indigenous athletes in Games history.
Of the 472 athletes, 16 represented the First Nations people of Australia — a number the AOC hopes will continue to rise.
“It’s those little things you plant in kids’ minds at a very young age, that they can excel and achieve their dreams,” said Morseu, who is on the AOC’s Indigenous Advisory Committee.
“A lot of the kids here are 14, 13 and 12 years old … they’re going to be in their prime by the time that 2032 Olympics come around in Brisbane.”
The NBL Hall-of-Famer is also running a free junior pathways program in the Torres Strait as part of an Indigenous Basketball Australia initiative.
“It’s about creating an opportunity for our kids and getting them to think more globally,” Morseu said.
“The objective of that program is to take our kids to the national championship in Australia and from there to the Asia Pacific Cup, then onto the World NBA Junior Global Championship in Orlando, Florida.”