One of the great privileges of my life was to be an Olympic torch bearer for both the Sydney Olympic Games and the Sydney Para-Olympic Games in 2000.
I still remember Sydney during the Games. For that period it seemed everybody forgot their woes and a real bond of friendship and hope developed that bathed the city in a warm glow.
When the day arrived for me to carry the torch I was surprised at how many people came out to watch. It was as if all the onlookers were participating too.
I can imagine that same spirit of hope has hopped half way across the world to London. Those crowds of onlookers which once filled Sydney streets have been lined up along the London roads. And now they’ve been part of an incredible opening ceremony at the Games stadium too.
It’s that Olympic spirit of hope that I miss here in Sydney today. We are so mired in political combat, worried about our jobs and watching our pennies that we forget to look up and see the sun shining.
It’s my prayer that all the goodwill that will be generated by the London Olympics will rub off here in Australia. I pray that for a little while we remember those good times twelve years ago. May we realise, as Forest Gump says, “life is like a box of chocolates”, and find that Olympic feeling again.