Choosing Bendigo's best sparks lots of discussion
IN A city blessed with such rich sporting heritage, naming Bendigo's greatest athlete/s is a challenging task.
For years, Bendigo's best have not only strutted their stuff on the big stage, they have shone brightly.
Thoughts on a who's who of the city's finest athletes were to the fore when reading about swimming star Faith Leech.
The city's sole Olympic gold medallist, Faith Leech was among the first inductees to the Bendigo Advertiser Sports Star of the Year Hall of Fame.
Long after her success at the '56 Melbourne Olympics, Faith Leech still played a key role helping and inspiring generations of swimmers.
Another of the city's greats, Kristi Harrower keeps charging up and down the basketball court.
The guard's incredible career with the Australian Opals includes silver medals at Olympic campaigns in Athens, Sydney and Beijing, bronze in London, and world championship gold.
Harrower's skill and leadership played a big part in the Bendigo Bank Spirit winning last season's Women's National Basketball League championship.
Bendigo;s list of Olympic medallists includes yachtsman Glenn Ashby, silver in Beijing, and cyclist Glenn O'Shea, silver in the teams pursuit in London.
Ashby is a mutiple world champion across a wide range of catamaran classes and has savoured America's Cup victory and defeat.
O'Shea's brilliance was to the fore when he won the omnium at the world track cycling titles in Melbourne.
Olympic representatives from Bendigo include Jack Trickey, Colin Fitzgerald and Robert Burns in cycling; Jason Day and Hannah Every-Hall, rowing; Des Duguid and Lynden Hosking, boxing; Paul Stevenson and Glenn Warfe, badminton; Duane Cousins, race walking; Glen Saville, basketball; and Ron Masters, diving.
There's many more who have competed at Commonwealth Games, world titles and national championships.
Just who is the best AFL player from Bendigo can be argued for many a season.
A dual Brownlow medallist, Greg Williams from Golden Square dominated during stints with Geelong, Sydney and Carlton in the big league.
Williams, pictured after earning the Norm Smith medal for best afield in Carlton's premiership victory against Geelong in 1995, made up for his lack of leg speed with incredibly fast reflexes and handball to team-mates.
His brilliance earned selection in the AFL-VFL Team of the Century.
Footballing greats such as Graham Arthur, captain of Hawthorn's first premiership team; Carlton clubmates Geoff Southby, Rod Ashman and Peter Dean; Geelong's Joel Selwood have all left an indelible mark on the game.
As the years roll on there will be many more from Bendigo who will shine in the sporting world, near and far from home.
Just who is the best AFL player from Bendigo can be argued for years