Australian Olympic legend Raelene Boyle.
Australian Olympic legend Raelene Boyle.

Legend Boyle says athletes can shine

SHE was there when Bob Beamon broke the long jump world record by almost two feet in Mexico City in 1968, and watched Dick Fosbury became the first person to win Olympic gold by jumping over the bar backwards.

She was there four years later in Munich when 11 Israeli Olympians were killed by members of the Black September movement.

She was in Montreal in 1976, describing Australia's performance in winning just one silver and four bronze medals as "an absolute joke".

And Raelene Boyle would have been in Moscow in 1980, becoming the first female Australian track athlete to compete at four games, except she decided to join the boycott against Russia's involvement in the war in Afghanistan and pulled out of the team.

One of the greatest sprinters Australia has produced, Boyle won three Olympic silver medals in an era dominated by East Germans who were later exposed as drug cheats.

The breast cancer survivor has been a commentator at the past four Olympics with Channel Seven, but will have to be content with watching from her Sunshine Coast this time around after Nine won the broadcast rights.

Always prepared to speak her mind, Boyle said she believed Australia's swimmers may not achieve the same level of success as they have in recent years.

But as the clock wound down to 100 days before the competition started, Boyle said she had high hopes for a number of medals from our track-and-field athletes.

"If Sally (Pearson) wins gold, if our long jumpers win a medal, if Steve (Hooker) comes back and wins a medal in the pole vault, Dani Samuels in the hammer .. our walkers. They would be outstanding efforts," Boyle said.

She also believes our cyclists will do well, loving the fight Anna Meares shows, and is keen to watch the hockey and also Jamaican Usain Bolt in the men's sprints.

But she won't be watching the tennis or BMX, saying the IOC's decision to include those sports, and golf from 2016, showed it had "lost the plot".

Her advice for this year's Australian competitors was to take the same philosophy she had taken to Mexico City as a 17-year-old.

"You've left no stone unturned to get there, but you have to go in believing there is no-one better than you."



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