It feels like life has been on fast forward since arriving home from Rio. With welcome home functions, meeting with friends and family to share my experience, it’s hard trying to get back to a normal life. But there have been some amazing functions that are really a once in a lifetime experience, with a few more to come!
It all started with an invite to take part in the motorcade of the AFL Grand Final, to watch the game and then an invite to the AFL VIP marquis in the September Club. I must say I had a good time with Matt Lewis (wheelchair rugby), Gemma Etheridge and Alicia Quirk (Olympic Women’s Rugby Seven’s), having an unknown number of photos with our medals! But the amazing part of the day was being driven from under the MCG onto the field and the roar of 99,981 people. WOW that was incredible!! But to see the Bulldogs win over Sydney and have their first Grand Final win in 61 years was amazing!
The second incredible day was the Victorian Welcome Home Parade and luncheon. It certainly wasn’t the warmest of days but the pride I felt while walking down Bourke St. Mall with confetti flying everywhere, the public lining the street, waving Aussie flags and clapping was very overwhelming. There were quite a few people there that I knew including family members…grandson Cooper, granddaughter Georgia, daughter-in-law Chrissy and our other nanna Sharyn and that was fantastic!
It was so great to be able to talk to, have pictures taken and sign autographs with the people of Victoria who had come to say hello and then it was into the Myer building to meet with the Premier, MP’s and other dignitaries.
I have also been trying to respond to all the emails I received but I’m afraid that I have failed in that endeavour so far, but hopefully will get to all of them eventually! I also wanted to try and do a bit of training so got back to the pool, commuting by bike and have done a couple of other rides. I’ve also done a few interviews not only with the local paper but also radio in Adelaide.
Then the my body decided it was time for a break and this past weekend I was floored by sickness! I don’t get sick very often in fact I think I can recall on one hand in the last 20 years that I have been sick, so I have taken 2 days and done absolutely nothing. First time I have done that in years! It was certainly needed as the next couple of weeks are just as busy as the last couple!
It is amazing what I have been invited to and asked to take part in but I have had to say no to a number of things. Sometimes there just isn’t enough time in a day. But I am headed on Thursday night to a function put on by my cycling club St. Kilda celebrating the champions of the club, then it’s on to The Great Australian’s Gala Ball in support of an initiative run by the Jesuit Social Services called Growing Hope. This program works with some of the most disadvantaged young people in the nation. Many have suffered family violence, abuse, neglect and homelessness – often leading to mental illness, self-harm, drug/alcohol abuse and, in extreme cases, suicide or attempted suicide.
Through counselling, community connection and practical programs that deliver employment and life skills, helping young people get back on track and find direction in their lives. This is definitely a program I feel deserves my attention!
The following day I am hosting 100 people for a sit down lunch in order to present 25 scholarships to people living with MS. These funds were raised through my charity 24 Hour Mega Swim, something I am passionate about. After that I have the honour of being asked to attend the UCI Gala Dinner and awards in Abu Dhabi! This is exciting as I will be able to meet some of the top riders in the world and witness the naming of the riders of the year and team of the year! Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would ever be heading to Abu Dhabi and staying at one of the most luxurious hotels in the world the St. Regis .
So a busy time ahead indeed. So stay tuned for an update after that trip!