OPINION: Golden Girl Jacqueline Freney we salute you
I’VE had the honour of covering two Olympic Games as a journalist and witnessed some amazing moments in sport.
There was the Dream Team playing basketball in Atlanta and Cathy Freeman’s incredible feat in winning the 400m under enormous pressure at the Sydney Olympics.
But I couldn’t have been prouder of a single sporting achievement as I was of local swimmer Jacqueline Freney’s sublime efforts at the London Paralympics.
Her eight gold medals at those Games cemented her as an Australian sporting icon.
She is Australia’s most successful athlete at a single Games and her sporting glory in London equalled Michael Phelps’ eight gold medals in Beijing and surpassed the great Mark Spitz’s seven golds in Munich.
Jacqueline has decided to sit out the Rio Paralympics this year. She won’t be the first or last great athlete to need a break from her chosen sport.
It takes a lot of blood, sweat, tears and personal and financial sacrifices for athletes to put their life on hold and get ready and compete at these Games ever four years.
Remember, most Olympic and Paralympic athletes don’t receive anywhere near the same financial remuneration as our top AFL, NRL or Super Rugby players do.
Whether Jacqueline does or doesn’t compete again in the future matters not, I’d just like to salute her for what she’s already achieved.