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Let the Games Begin!

The 2014 Commonwealth Games will showcase the best athletes the Commonwealth has to offer across 17 sports, including three of our favourite speakers and inspirational athletes, Anna Meares,  Matthew Mitcham and Chef de Mission, Steve Moneghetti.

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Anna Meares

By Platinum Speakers

As the Tour de France is nearing its closing stages and we all adjust to life after the World Cup, we can be thankful that another huge sporting event is gearing up to fill the void. The XX Commonwealth Games running from 23rd July - 3rd August will showcase the best athletes the Commonwealth has to offer across 17 sports, all in the stunning surrounds of Glasgow.

Amongst the competitors and officials representing Team Australia, are three of our favourite speakers and inspirational athletes. We're talking of course, of Anna Meares and Matthew Mitcham as well as sporting legend and Chef de Mission, Steve Moneghetti.

ANNA MEARES

It's evident that we're not alone when we voice our praise and respect for Anna. The moment Chef de Mission Steve Moneghetti announced Anna as flag-bearer for the Opening Ceremony of the Games, enthusiastic applause from over 400 athletes, 200 officials, guests and media, filled the room. Meares was clearly the unanimous and most popular choice amongst the entire throng, the solidarity signaling a positive omen of Australia's spirit of camaraderie for this event.

A justifiably proud Anna took to the microphone to express her gratitude and excitement at having this honour bestowed upon her. Reflecting on her past experiences and sporting achievements that led to this moment, Anna spoke of the meaning being a team member for Australia held for her. "To be part of a Commonwealth Games, part of an Olympic Games is so rare. I've dedicated two-thirds of my life to being involved in moments like these".


This is Anna's fourth Commonwealth Games having first represented her country in track cycling at the 2002 Games in Manchester. This appointment of flag-bearer validates for Anna the rewards for years of hard work and team focus. "It tells me I've done a really good job in my career so far. Tells me that I'm a good teammate, a good leader."

Despite the swag of medals, including five Olympic and six Commonwealth, Anna has an impressively grounded and philosophical view on success. "It's not always about being successful. It's sometimes about bouncing back from defeats and challenges. That's reminiscent of the Australian spirit and character. I think I embody those qualities."

That is an understatement if ever there was one. Anna's achievements on the track are impressive by anyone's standards. For Anna though, it's even moreso, considering she came within millimeters of being paralysed from the chin down after a terrible accident in the third round of the World Cup circuit in Los Angeles in 2008. It was Anna's dream to ride in Beijing and just 10 days after her accident, she was back on her bike. With hard work, discipline and incomprehensible determination, Anna recovered enough to qualify for a spot on the Australian team. Not only that, but she went on to win a silver medal just seven months later.

Anna's story is one of tragedy, courage and triumph. She is a wonderfully inspirational speaker and an exceptional representative for Australia. From all of us at Platinum, we wish her the very best in Glasgow.

Anna's first event in these Games will be the 500 metres time trial at 4pm the day after the Opening Ceremony.

Read Anna's full story
 

MATTHEW MITCHAM

Australian diving champion Matthew Mitcham oozes both charisma and talent. At the 2008 Olympics he received the highest single-dive score in Olympic history for the 10m platform, making him the first Australian male to win an Olympic gold medal in diving since Dick Eve at the 1924 Summer Olympics.

From a very young age Matthews athletic abilities were evident, when he was discovered by Wang Tong Xiang while competing as a trampoline gymnast. Wang Tong Xiang, a coach at the Australian Institute of Sport Diving Program, encouraged Matthew towards diving and for several years, as a junior, he trained in both trampolining and diving, competing at an elite level in both.

Matthew has gone from strength to strength in his sporting career, with everything he touches seemingly turning to gold, silver or bronze. His journey has been a difficult one though, as is often the way with being thrust into the international limelight at such a young age. With true determination as is synonymous with elite athletes, along with a healthy lashing of humour, he has faced his demons and returned to the top of his game.

Touching down in Glasgow for these Games, Matthew gave the welcoming pipers a run for their money when he pulled out his ukelele and joined in the chorus. This all-singing, all-dancing Olympian was the highlight of the day for all the arriving Australian competitors.

In addition to his talents on the diving board, Matthew has been touring Australia this year with his own one-man show Twists and Turns. Bringing to life his book of the same name, Matthew tells the story of a true champion, both in and out of the pool. Relayed with the honesty and courage for which Matthew is admired, his story speaks of the highs and lows of his incredible life from his struggles behind the international spotlight of low self esteem, anxiety, depression, self-harm and drug abuse through to the coming to terms with his sexuality as a gay man. Conveyed through theatre, song and the occasional foot tapping, Matthew's storytelling will have you laughing, crying and everything in between.

Taking time out from his tour to compete in Glasgow, Matthew is of the firm belief that it's all about having a balanced life. "I don't have just one priority in my life right now," Matthew says. "To have that balance is a healthy thing, mentally and emotionally."

Matthew is the oldest member of the Australian diving team with an impressive collection of medals to his name. In addition to his 2008 Olympics history making achievement, he was also a silver medallist at the 2010 Commonwealth Games. The determination amongst this year's team is brilliant to see. The aims are high and, if Matthew's performance on arrival in Glasgow is anything to go by, so are the spirits.

The team at Platinum will be eagerly watching Matthew at these Games and sending him all our support; he is truly a multi-talented and inspirational athlete and speaker.

Read Matthew's full story

 

STEVE MONEGHETTI 

Steve Moneghetti is an Australian sporting legend. Over the span of his career, he has competed in countless world games and won an equal number of medals. He has travelled more kilometres than Burke and Wills since running his first marathon at the 1986 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh.

In his role as Chef de Mission at these Games, Steve sits at the nerve centre of the operation, tasked with liaison amongst more than 600 athletes, officials, national governing bodies and organisers as well as being the public face for the media, broadcasting the spirit and action of the Games and our Aussie team back to the homeland.

Steve is well equipped for such a challenge, having held previous roles as Athlete Liaison Officer in Manchester (2002), Mayor of the athletes village in Melbourne (2006) and in his current role of Chef de Mission which he has held since Delhi (2010). Steve's natural leadership ability combined with his wealth of experience and absolute understanding of the athletes and the weight of responsibility placed on them, makes him the perfect role model, diplomat and leader for this position.

Of these Games, Steve says the "friendly games" tag is fitting. Sharing a common language helps foster a great bond and spirit with other athletes about the village and events. For our athletes, he says it's a chance to be a member of a huge multi-sport Australian team, rather than an Australian team competing overseas.

"Four or five countries seem to dominate, but every country feels part of the Games. For many, the Games is a rite of passage, one chance to get together and feel a genuine part of the Commonwealth, and I think we (as Australians) downplay that", Steve said.

As for the Scottish welcome, Steve says "the Scottish are very excited and the friendliness over there has been paramount."

Steve's schedule for these Games is understandably intense, but he takes it all in his stride stating that he is just delighted to still be involved in the Commonwealth Games, which played a huge role in his own development as an athlete.

Steve is a fascinating speaker with an extraordinary story to tell. He is extremely popular and his experience and leadership qualities are highly respected amongst all who have had the pleasure to work with him or to see him in action.

Go Australia!

Read Steve's full story