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Sydney's Manly Beach home of Olympians

07-12-2012 10:47 BJT Special Report:2012 London Olympic Games |

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Manly Beach in Sydney has an Olympic legacy that is unmatched in Australian history. It’s early Sunday morning at Manly beach north of Sydney, and volunteer lifeguards are already patrolling the sand.

This is a scene that can be viewed in more than 300 of Australia’s beaches. There goal is to save lives, but an interesting by-product has also been produced - - Olympic athletes. The Manly club has at least five athletes heading to the London Games, and there have been many others before them.

To mark the countdown, new shirtless shots of the Australian men’s swimming team have been
released. Cameron McEvoy, Eamon Sullivan, James Roberts, James Magnussen, Matt Targett and
Tommaso D’Orsogna were photographed on Manly Beach back in March in their Speedos, which
means lots of six-packs on show!

Naomi Flood, Australian Olympic Kayaker, said, "I think being such a good community as we are, it’s really strong and it does breed that killer instinct, that competitive edge. A lot of the kids come through, and you see other people progressing and you do want to take a part of it, and you do want to be up there with those people and be considered an Olympian."

Australia’s first surf lifesaving clubs were formed in the early 1900s with a mission to protect lives on the beach, and promote sport.

These days, club members still divide their time between patrolling the waters and participating in sporting activities.

Each day of the week, whether it be summer or winter, the clubs provide some kind of training for kids and adults.

This access to facilities and training from such a young age can set those with natural talent on the pathway to elite sports, and even, the Olympics.

Marc Manion, general manager of Manly Surf Club, said, "First of all we introduce them to the beach and the sand, we teach them about the dangers of the water. We also teach them about the beauty of the water and how important it is. From there if they show interest in specific things, some do more running, some progress into swimming and boards, some even into the boats behind us."

Since their founding, lifeguards estimate they’ve rescued more than half a million people in Australia’s waters. And it has been done on a shoe-string budget and the kindness of the community.

Membership, donations and sponsorship bring in some money, but most of the lifesavers on the beach are unpaid. It’s their willingness to help along with a love of sport and competition that keeps them coming back.

Trent Herring, coach of Manly Surf Club, said, "You volunteer your time to be a lifesaver first and foremost and then it’s a bonus that you can compete and join the club and race competitively in a discipline."

A discipline that might one day bring home Olympic gold. Hopefully that’s not the end of this Olympic story.

 

Editor:Zhang Dan |Source: CNTV.CN

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