Now that I’ve had some sleep (!), here’s a more detailed account of my November 19th activities.
It was with great pleasure that I accepted the invitation to attend the Victorian Olympic Council’s Centenary celebrations at Government House on November 19th with Olympian, former VOC Executive Committee Member and “A Life Unexpected” Co-Producer, Marg Woodlock-McLean.
Over 750 Olympians and their families came together to celebrate this milestone, hosted by the Governor of Victoria Hon Alex Chernov and Mrs Chernov, with special guests Minister for Sport & Recreation, Hon Hugh Delahunty, VOC President Nicholas Green and the Premier of Victoria, Hon Ted Baillieu. Many of our interviewees for the documentary were also present and a few more were discovered, which made for lively and fun discussions with some fascinating people.
Governor Hon Alex Chernov gave an informative welcome speech that included many interesting facts about Government House’s involvement in the Olympics:
“I am pleased to say that Government House and my predecessors have supported Victoria’s Olympic endeavours in various ways throughout the past century. For example, the Earl of Stradbroke hosted a reception here for members of the Australian Olympic team prior to their departure for France in May 1924. In his speech, the Lord Stradbroke reflected the Olympic spirit when he wished the team “every success,” emphasising that “sport created a splendid feeling, whether they won or lost, the friendship with its competitors would not be altered.”
1956 was, of course, a significant year in Melbourne’s history. It became the first Australian city to host the Olympic Games, and once again, Government House was a hive of festivity and a busy social scene with a garden party for 6000 Olympic Games visitors. A few days later, Sir Dallas and Lady Brooks hosted an evening reception for members of the International Olympic Committee in the State Drawing Room.”
– Hon Alex Chernov AC QC (Read the full text here).
Ultimately, it was a great opportunity for Olympians to catch up with each other and spend time talking about current events, the upcoming 2012 Olympics and their shared memories of their own time in the Sporting arena.
Many athletes spent the time introducing their families to their team-mates from the various Olympic Games or wandering the grounds, enjoying the views and the atmosphere.
I was especially delighted to catch up with school friend, now triple Olympic Rower (1996, 2000 & 2004), Jane Robinson. Jane is also the only woman in the world to be World Champion in the four, eight and quad events. It was so lovely to see her and catch up with all her news – as we worked out that it’s been over a decade since we sighted each other!
After a tour of the grounds and building, it was time to head home before the weather became too threatening (the rain had held off, but not for much longer!). It was a truly lovely afternoon spent with some fascinating people and I very much look forward to interviewing many of them on camera.
I would like to take the opportunity to say thank you to the Governor of Victoria and the VOC for the invitation and congratulations on a truly lovely event that was enjoyed by all.
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