On Tuesday 30 November, Mrs Johnson and I were invited to an extremely special lunch hosted by the Sunshine Coast Daily about the Olympic and Paralympic Games held in 2032, right in our very own, Sunshine Coast.
The event discussed legacy opportunities and how industry and communities can benefit over the next 10 years and for decades to come. The Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games are a once-in-a-generation opportunity to redefine all of Queensland. As we head towards the future of the Sunshine Coast it was important that we discussed the region’s priorities for transport, infrastructure, sport, tourism and business, and highlight the catalytic impact an Olympic Game can have.
A great line up of speakers were also there to talk about the 2032 Olympics legacy priorities for the Sunshine Coast, including: Gina Rinehart (Hancock Prospecting), Carol Cashman (RDA), Andrew Brodie (SC Airport), Dawn Fraser (Olympic legend), Lucky Patterson (Paralympic gold medallist), Jason Scott (News Corp Queensland managing director), Demographer Simon Kuestenmacher and Urbis director James Tuma.
I was so incredibly intrigued by all of the topics discussed as it got me thinking about how my generation and I could change and better the future for the Sunshine Coast. For example, accessibility. Accessibility is a crucial part of benefitting Queensland, as it allows individuals, businesses and society to have easy access to the not only Olympic and Paralympic Games but also as a general community. It supports social inclusion for people with disabilities as well as others, such as elderly people and I believe that without accessibility, the Sunshine Coast will not reach its full given potential.
Something that really stood out to me during the lunch was Lakeisha (Lucky) Patterson’s speech. Lakeisha is a Paralympic Swimmer who truly inspired me that you should always strive to achieve your goals no matter the circumstances. In fact, a quote that she stated was: “A bad situation can either define, destroy or strengthen you as a person”. This quote has taught me to not let anything get in my way and stop me from reaching my full potential, as anything is possible if I set my mind to it. It has clearly proven to be true as Lucky has used this method to achieve her goals. She won medals at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and 2015 IPC Swimming World Championships. At the 2016 Rio Paralympics, she won Australia’s first gold medal of the games in a world record time swim in the Women’s 400m freestyle S8, which has truly inspired me to strive a far as possible.
I am so grateful to have been given this opportunity to meet Lucky, and listen to some extremely wise and successful people. I believe that with the help of my generation we can be led to success, including the Olympic and Paralympic Games held in 2032, which I am beyond excited to see 10 years from now.
Joanna Zelazko, Middle School Captain