Going for gold - our Olympians ready to shine

Ready to roll:  Gold medal favourite cyclist Kaarle McCulloch   Picture: John Veage
Ready to roll: Gold medal favourite cyclist Kaarle McCulloch Picture: John Veage

THE clock is ticking and anticipation is building for our Olympians ahead of the opening ceremony at the London Olympics on Saturday.

Years of training and sacrifice are behind them. Ahead over the next two weeks is the prospect of sporting glory.

Gold medal favourite cyclist Kaarle McCulloch will finally get the chance to fulfil the dream she has held since being a 12-year-old spectator at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

The Endeavour Sports High graduate will combine with Anna Mears in the women’s team pursuit in what many experts are predicting as Australia’s best hope for a gold medal — in any sport.

Competition from Britain and Germany will be fierce but McCulloch believes their preparation has been impeccable.

‘‘We have a saying to ‘leave no stone unturned’. I want to give myself the best opportunity to win gold,’’ she told the Leader before leaving for the Games.

‘‘We’ll ride a world record time in London,’’ McCulloch said.

Alicia McCormack will be looking to add a water polo gold to the bronze she won in Beijing four years ago.

The Olympics will double as the end of McCormack’s decorated career with Cronulla teammates Nicola Zagame and Holly Lincoln-Smith joining her as part of Australia’s squad.

Water polo officials have tipped Zagame — dubbed the sport’s best kept secret — to shock the world with her raw power.

Distance runner Eloise Wellings has overcome repeated stress fractures terminating her attempts at previous Olympics to qualify for the 10,000 metres while over the same distance St George’s Ben St Lawrence (see London Calling profile on P65) has ditched his party image to line up in the men’s race.

The Leader wishes all the region’s Olympians the best of luck. St George and Sutherland Shire will be cheering them on.

Who will you be cheering for?

Water polo: Cronulla water polo players Alicia McCormack, Nicola Zagame and Holly Lincoln-Smith play their first pool game against Italy on July 31 from 12.30am. The gold medal match is on August 10 from 5am.

Cycling: St George Cycling Club’s Kaarle McCulloch will ride alongside Queenslander Anna Meares in the team sprint. The qualifying stage of the team sprint is on August 3 from 1am with the final just two hours later.

Athletics:

Former Kirrawee High School student Eloise Wellings will race the 10,000 on August 4 from 6.25am.

Ben St Lawrence, of St George District Athletics Club, will race the 10,000 on August 5 from 6.15am.

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