When Sydney University’s Blue & Gold Club holds its four-yearly Olympic Dinner, there are always plenty of Olympians and Paralympians – past, present and hopeful – to call on.
Indeed, when 200 guests were seated in the Great Hall on the evening of Tuesday April 17, the place mats reminded them of that very fact. Printed on them were the names of Sydney University’s 118 Olympians and Paralympians – those who earned representation while representing University sporting clubs and graduates of the institution who earned Olympic status.
And seated at various tables in the hall were 19 Olympians representing Games from London in 1948 (sprinter John Treloar) through to Beijing in 2008 (Matthew Mitcham and Sarah Stewart) and three officials, including John Boltbee and Peter Kerr.
As the dinner was held with 100 days to go before the 2012 London Olympic Games, there are still teams and individuals to be selected, so Sydney University’s full representation this year has yet to be confirmed.
But according to guest speaker and one of Sydney University’s own, Chris Fydler, Deputy Chef de Mission of the Australian team at the London Games, we’ll be sending a team of 400, along with 250 staff, and be represented in 24 of the 26 sports.
In an informative and well presented update of the 2012 Games, from the London Organising Committee’s point of view and the Australian team’s build-up, the Deputy Chef de Mission says we’re pushing to be among the top five nations on the medal count, with 38-42 medals.
Australia finished sixth on the medal tally at Beijing, behind China, the US, Russia, Great Britain and Germany and hope to go one better in London.
Guests were also entertained by Adam Spencer, who interviewed two panels of athletes, the first featuring gold medal winners Chris Fydler (swimming), Matthew Mitcham (diving) and Debbie Watson (water polo) and the second featuring aspiring London Olympians Sarah Cook (rowing), Ed Fernon (modern pentathlon) and Sarah Stewart (wheelchair basketball).
And the evening finished off with a live auction conducted by Master of Ceremonies, Rod Tubbs.
A gold medal night was had by all.