REAL AUSTRALIA

Voice of Real Australia: Hopes, dreams laid bare in a truly bizarre environment - the Tokyo Olympics

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Forget the age-old syrupy homilies about good old egalitarian Australia - the Land of the Fair Go where everyone gets the chance to live like their starring in a Coke commercial every day of every year.

Things have well and truly changed. Consider the demands, expectations and pressures you bear now - are they are different to the ones of even 10 years ago? Likely so.

Yet regardless of our individual situation, there is one constant - wanting the best for your nearest and dearest. Surely it is the simplest and most common of threads between people.

Hopes and dreams will be laid bare in a truly bizarre environment over the next couple of weeks. The games of the 32nd Olympiad in Tokyo will be like no other. And as challenging as that may be for athletes, let's bring it back to Australia - and think of the families.

The families of athletes (and games officials and team support staff) who, for so long, have also dedicated large slices of their life to someone else's aspirations.

Take the parents of Lachlan Sharp. Let's just say, it's a long way from Mighty Mites at Zig Zag Public School to the Tokyo Olympics with the Kookaburras.

Lachi, as his parents call him, will play with Australian men's hockey team in Tokyo. They, of course, will stay at home - in the NSW Central Tablelands town of Lithgow and watch on the small screen.

The couple spoke to their hometown newspaper, the Lithgow Mercury, about their son's journey, its impact on their family and their unending pride - in all their kids.

"The support from Lithgow has been absolutely fantastic," Richard told reporter Alanna Tomazin. "I went down to hockey on the weekend recently and everyone you run into asks how he's going, congratulates him and they're all so proud. Thank you to everyone from Lithgow for their support it means the world to us."

That pride will sweep pockets of the country over the next few weeks. And even in these precarious times, don't think it's not there.

Thirteen years since the state's last Olympic gold medal, 11 Tasmanians will chase the next across nine sports, including eight debutants, one four-time Olympian and one half of the Games' most anticipated showdown.

Swimmer Ariarne Titmus (who will go head-to-head with US star Katie Ledecky) and a landlubber in the greatest form of his life, athlete Stewart McSweyn, will lead the Tassie surge in Tokyo.

Check out more of the Aussies to watch: from swimmer Emma McKeon in the pool to Sally Fitzgibbons in the surf and BMXer Logan Martin, too. Behind them all are people who took them to the pool in the depths of winter, who shared the lowest of lows during rehabilitation and who battled on when all seemed pointless.

And the same applies to Australia's Paralympians, who will take centre stage once the Olympics are over. Lauren Parker and Ryley Batt are just two of the athletes we'll follow there.

The viability of the Olympic Games is a never-ending debate. In a world stricken by a pandemic even more so.

The Games (well, right now anyway) will go on. And we're dedicated to keeping you in the loop - not just with medal tallies and (sadly) positive COVID cases in the athletes' village. But rather with the humanity of it all. It's always about people - this Olympics they'll just be thousands of kilometres from each other.

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