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Famous five inspire Aussie Olympians

20 July 2012

TEAM: The Australian Olympic Team has a secret weapon for London 2012 in the form of five sporting champions.

Team Motivator Laurie Lawrence is joined by Athlete Liaison Officers (ALOs) Layne Beachley, John Eales, Kieren Perkins and Steve Waugh.

The goal of this A Team is to provide athletes with whatever assistance and guidance they need in the lead up to and during the Olympic Games.

While happy to carry bags and stay in the shadows, there is no denying this five has a conspicuous and inspirational place in the Team.

Today the Hockeyroos took to the Olympic pitch for a trial match against Great Britain. The girls scored their first goal in the 15th minute as soon as Beachley, Waugh and Lawrence arrived. They went on to beat the world number four team 2-0. The Aussies are ranked seventh.

“They are all such accomplished athletes so there’s definitely a lot of inspiration you take from them,” youngster Georgia Nanscawen said.

“To have them there watching is definitely something special and it’s going to be something cool to tell people that Layne Beachley and Steve Waugh were in the crowd!”

ALOs have been in touch with their assigned sports and attended training camps over the past few months.

Beachley spent yesterday in Belfast with the Australian boxing contingent, and the time she has spent with Australia’s first female boxer Naomi Fischer-Rasmussen in particular has been invaluable.

"Layne's been really fantastic helping the motivational side of things and just giving a good insight into what to expect," boxing section manager Phillip Goodes said.

For Waugh, the trip to the hockey is followed by a road trip to Weymouth to induct the Australian Sailing Team. The two-time ALO is well travelled, having seen the kayakers in Europe and men’s hockey team in Cairns in the final stretch to the Games.

The backbone of the mentoring program is Laurie Lawrence whose words light up the faces of athletes when officially inducted into the Australian Olympic Team.

“Laurie Lawrence is leading something extremely unique,” Team Chef de Mission Nick Green said of Lawrence’s famous inductions.

He is attending his eighth Games, his fourth in this support role and he delivers his rev-up poem as every sporting section is inducted.

“It was an experience in itself,” said archer Taylor Worth. “Definitely an experience to remember.”

“I have heard him perform this at the last three Olympics and it still gives me goose bumps,” triple Olympic hockey player Angie Lambert posted on the Australian Olympic Team Facebook page.

“He is (a) legend and a true gift to the Australian Olympic Team.”
Taya Conomos in London

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