Olympics Unleashed program helps sports stars nurture future talent in Far North Queensland



Like many other Australians, Cathy Freeman’s Olympic gold medal in 2000 sparked a burning desire in Taliqua Clancy to someday wear the same green and gold uniform.

The two-time beach volleyball Olympian hopes her accomplishments will inspire the next generation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children to dream of competing on the world’s biggest sports stage as well.

“I just remember when I was a kid, and I sat and watched the 2000 Olympics, that’s why I’m in the position I am today,†said the Tokyo silver medalist.

“So I hope they watched us all compete, and I hope that is enough for them to get out and be active and who knows, even be part of the 2032 Olympics here in Queensland.”

Clancy joined former Olympians basketball player Danny Morseu and boxer Brad Hore on a tour through far north Queensland this week as part of the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) ‘Olympics Unleashed’ program. .

The “Olympics Unleashed†program helps children in remote communities consider athletic goals. (Provided: Australian Olympic Committee)

Visiting Thursday Island, Horn Island, Yarrabah and the Lockhart River on their travels, Clancy said there is a pool of talented future athletes.

Horn Island Primary Campus School Principal Tony Zieth said a visit from their heroes could spark an Olympic dream among young people.

“It allows students to see a bridge that they have to walk to truly become an Olympian,†he said.

Child holding two autographed photos of Brad Hore and Taliqua Clancy
More than 200 Australian Olympians have visited 1,600 schools across the country as part of the AOC program.(Provided: Australian Olympic Committee)

The Australian team that traveled 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 to continue to grow.

“It’s those little things that you plant in the minds of children at a very young age that they can excel and make their dreams come true,†said Morseu, who is on the AOC Indigenous Advisory Committee.

“A lot of the kids here are 14, 13 and 12… they will be at their peak when the 2032 Olympics take place in Brisbane.”

Former Australian Olympian Danny Morseu chats with a classroom full of children
Danny Morseu played for the Australian men’s basketball team at the 1980 and 1984 Summer Olympics.(Provided: Australian Olympic Committee)

The NBL Hall of Fame is also running a free Torres Strait junior course program as part of an Australian Aboriginal basketball initiative.

“It’s about creating an opportunity for our children and getting them to think more globally,” Morseu said.

“The goal of this program is to get our kids to the National Championship in Australia and from there to the Asia-Pacific Cup, then to the NBA World Junior Championship in Orlando, Florida.”



Comments are closed.