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Olympic fever is, perhaps for the first time, gripping Chile. The country doesn't have a huge medal haul for the games, but they have been at almost every edition since the modern Games began back in 1896.
However, this time, Chile has selected the biggest team ever, and Daniel Schweimler went to the capital, Santiago, to find out whether the country really has something to cheer about.
With the London Olympics approaching, there's a new purpose about the athletes training here at the National Stadium in Chile. Because after eight years of investment, of a new, improved approach to spotting and nurturing sporting talent, they’re hoping to see results.
Miguel Mujica, vice president of Chilean Olympic Committee, said, "We can see that the support of the state for sport in Chile was not really there. We obviously had to do things differently. We had to find a different way of working, a different way of doing business for Chile to advance卐specially with our top performers."
Denise Van Lamoen is a world champion hoping to repeat that success with gold in London thanks to her own hard work and natural talent, but also to the better training facilities and support provided by the Chilean Olympic authorities.
Denise Van Lamoen said, "What do the top sports people want What do us Olympic sportsmen and woman dream of I dreamt of two things. To be world champion and to win at the Olympic Games. I’ve achieved half of that."
Most Chileans would admit that their record at previous Olympic Games has been less than impressive just thirteen medals, only two of which were gold - both won in the tennis at the 2004 Athens games. Karen Gallardo, who in London will be competing at her first Olympic games, is part of the new generation of Chilean athletes.
Gallardo said, "What motivates me is getting better with each day. To overcome obstacles, to jump the hurdles that others, like my rivals, put in the way. To travel, to represent Chile. That’s what motivates me."
Prospecting for gold is a long process which requires competing at regional and Pan American games before the world’s leading sporting nations can be challenged at the Olympics and World Championships.
Reporter: "Chile has never been a big hitter in previous Olympic Games. But the quest for personal and national glory is being built here in grinding daily training routines at the national stadium in the foothills of the Andes mountains."
Denise Van Lamoen is proof to other Chileans that with your eye on the target, sporting success at the very top level is achievable.
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