The marathon countdown to Australia’s biggest sporting event of the decade has finally entered the sprint stage.
In 12 months, Queensland’s Gold Coast will host the 2018 Commonwealth Games – welcoming 6,000 athletes and team officials.
Two-time Olympian and world record breaking swimmer, Brenton Rickard has been involved in Games’ preparations since ‘day one’ – as part of the organizing committee.
He cites the near-completion of the athletes’ village at the northern end of the coast as a key marker of the Gold Coast’s preparation for Games’ glory.
“It’s the biggest project of the Games,” says Brenton. “As you see it grow and come together, you really feel that excitement build as we get closer to Games time.”
One of the greatest features of the Commonwealth Games is its integrated program of able- bodied and para-athlete events.
Para-swimmer, Monique Murphy is a strong contender for a games’ medal. But her personal victory is already pure gold.
Just two short years after a devastating accident, Monique won silver in the pool at the Rio Olympics.
“I was in an accident in 2014 where ultimately I lost my leg below the knee”, explains Monique.
“Exactly a month after my final amputation, I was in the hydrotherapy pool … and that feeling of getting back in the water was near magical. I felt free and not restricted by not having a leg.
“Getting back into sport through hydrotherapy and rehabilitation, I met a lot of sportspeople and swimmers and they opened my eyes. I realized life was going to be just fine.
“One of my goals as a swimmer now is to really advocate what people with a disability can do.”
On Tuesday 4th April, the Gold Coast officially marks “One Year to Go” to the 2018 Commonwealth Games with celebrations featuring a host of star athletes.
On April 24th, expressions of interest officially open for Games tickets.
You can scope out how the Games’ venues are progressing via an aerial tour with Seaworld Helicopters. The iconic Gold Coast choppers are also available for special events, weddings, winery tours and other charters.