Kurt Fearnley: Olympics Boost Paralympic Expectations

Australian wheelchair racer Kurt Fearnley is training in Switzerland and more excited than ever for London 2012. 17 Aug 2012
Kurt Fearnley

Kurt Fearnley has become known around the world as one of the top long-distance wheelchair racers on the track.

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The surge of support for the Paralympics the moment the Olympics finished was amazing.

I’m hiding from the world in Switzerland and loving it.

The small town of Nottwil near Lucerne in Switzerland has been my home away from in Europe since about 1995, and it’s the perfect training base for me as I finalize my London Paralympic preparation.

Nottwil is an annual stop off on the wheelchair racing tour with the town of about 3,000 hosting a track meet every year.

It’s also been the training base for countless Australian wheelchair teams and the perfect place to get time zone adjusted and hide away from the world.

It reminds me a bit of Carcoar, it’s like a place that time forgot.

Being here lets me concentrate on my training and race preparation. There’s nothing to do except train, it’s easier to switch off from the world and easier to say no.

Saying no is one of the hardest things an athlete has to do.

You say no to weddings, you say no to nights out with your mates, you say no to family gatherings and you say no to countless interviews. You know in the back of your mind that it’s the right thing to do as you dedicate your life to your sport but that doesn’t make it any easier.

Being away from Australia makes it a bit easier to say no and when you’re this close to the main event every little thing helps.

Even though I’ve been hiding from the world, I kept an eye on London during the Olympics and boy, was I impressed.

The Brits put on a great show and my only complaint would be that not enough poms got to hear Advance Australia Fair.

Not from a want of trying, dedication or effort, the cards just didn’t fall Australia’s way at the right times often enough.

There were some amazing performances from young and old and the venues looked amazing. It was great to see mates like Benny St Lawrence and Benn Harradine out there in the main arena giving everything for their country in pursuit of greatness.

Neither had the meet they dreamed of, but they both, and for that matter all of the Australian athletes, can be proud of

how they represented Australia.

I must admit, though, my favourite event of the entire games was the Closing Ceremony.

It wasn’t the theatre. It wasn’t the music. It wasn’t the recognition of champion athletes. It was that the Olympics were over and the Paralympics were that little bit closer. T

The surge of support for the Paralympics the moment the Olympics finished was amazing. From athletes and officials, to pundits and politicians, everyone has fallen straight off the Olympic horse and onto the Paralympic games.

The groundswell of support for the whole Australian team has been amazing and it’s incredibly inspiring.

There’s just two weeks left of a 208-week Paralympic cycle and I can’t wait to get to London.

It’s time to hit the Nottwil track again, push a few more laps, tighten the bolts, pump the tire and dream of singing Advance Australia Fair in front of 80,000 poms in three weeks’ time.