Our young sportsmen and women may be the Olympians of the future

TONIGHT 10,500 athletes from all over the world will walk into the Olympic stadium to take part in what is the world’s premier sporting arena.

Once every four years the world’s best athletes from over 205 nations compete in 26 different sports and the whole world tunes in to watch this sporting spectacle.

Beyond the gold medals and the media frenzy, many of these athletes had humble beginnings at local sporting fields, community swimming pools and quiet streets mastering their skills.

It is these beginnings in local sports that pave the road to the green and gold.

For a number of 2012 Olympic athletes, those humble beginnings were the fields, pools and streets of Armidale as residents or as students of our schools and university.

Former NEGS student Julia Hargreaves is in London as part of the Equestrian team as a show jumper.

The University of New England’s students Sarah Cook and Richie Campbell will compete as part of the Australian rowing and water polo team respectively.

One of the world’s greatest cyclists, Cadel Evans, will also take to the start line in London. Evans once took to the roads of Armidale to play sport like many of our juniors do each weekend.

Armidale’s long affiliation with the sporting elite will see the Armidale Sports Council look at ways to establish a Hall of Fame.

The practicalities of establishing something to honour Armidale’s greatest sportsmen and women is a hard task but the mere discussion of such a concept reaffirms the value of sport in our community.

As these athletes pull on the green and gold in London to compete for Australia, they once pulled on the likes of the Armidale Alligators swim caps, pulled up the socks for the Demon Knights and mounted their horses at the Armidale pony club.

It is inspiring to think that one day the kids that will spend tomorrow morning playing their various sports in Armidale may pull on the green and gold at an Olympic Games.

To then have their sporting beginnings recognised by Armidale’s very own sporting hall of fame would be the icing on the cake.

Who would you like to see in an Armidale Sports Hall of Fame?

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