FORMER Eaglehawk boy turned Olympic silver medallist Glenn O’Shea was treated to a hero’s welcome on Saturday.
The City of Greater Bendigo held an official acknowledgement ceremony in Hargreaves Mall and the Town Hall for athletes who competed in the London Olympics.
O’Shea, a silver medallist in the men’s cycling team pursuit, said the Olympic experience was something he would never forget.
“London was fantastic; it was the first time I had ever been to London so I loved it,” he said.
“It was pretty hard to not get caught up with the hype, but it was a great experience.”
The 23-year-old, who earlier this year became the world champion in the men’s omnium, said he was happy to come away with a silver medal in his first Olympics, but was disappointed not to go one better.
“Our goal as a team was to be successful,” he said.
“We wanted to win the gold medal, so we were disappointed at first, but now that it is all finished we are all pretty happy with how we went.”
Aspiring Olympic hopefuls asked O’Shea questions about what it took to become an elite athlete. O’Shea credited Bendigo’s strong cycling culture to his recent success.
“I think cycling is a sport that has a lot of good role models – Anna Meares is a perfect example,” he said.
“Cycling was always big when I grew up and I think the sport is getting more popular... Bendigo is a big part of that.”
O’Shea said representing Australia was a strong motivation and he believed more work needed to be done before the next Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
“Rio is a goal,” he said.
“I will have to see what happens; it is a long way away.”
Bendigo rower Hannah Every-Hall could not make it to the ceremony but her parents and family were on hand to talk about the mother-of-two’s first Olympic Games.
Every-Hall’s mum Trinette read out a thank you to the community.
“Bendigo has embraced Hannah and she is sorry she couldn’t make it today but thanks everyone who has supported her dream,” she said.
Bendigo mayor Alec Sandner congratulated all of the region’s athletes who competed in London who couldn’t make it to the ceremony, including Kristi Harrower, Matthew Dellavedova and Glenn Warfe.