Aussie Olympians homeward bound
Olympic cycling gold medallist Anna Meares has checked out of London, her new Games jewel securely stored for the trip home to Australia.
“It’s in a very safe place,” the 28-year-old sprint champion told AAP as she booked in for a flight out of London on Monday.
However teammate Kaarle McCulloch – herself a bronze medallist – gave away the secret, resting a hand gently on a green and gold cabin bag and giving a knowing smile.
Chartered Qantas flight 6058 scheduled to leave London at 10.40pm (local time) will deliver Australia’s Games athletes to Sydney on Wednesday morning, marking the end of a campaign in which the squad finished 10th on the medal table.
“It’s sad for it to be over but there’s many more times to come and you’ve got to go home, start new, get ready and hopefully do it all again in four years’ time,” said South Australian cyclist Alex Edmondson, 18.
Seven coachloads of weary Aussie athletes arrived at Stansted Airport for Monday’s flight. More than a couple looked a little bleary-eyed, but no one was giving away details of any tour-ending shenanigans.
Member of the gold medal-winning K4 1000m canoe sprint team Jacob Clear said he celebrated by attending Sunday’s “unreal” closing ceremony.
“Most of our team just went to bed afterwards because by the time we got back and (had) a bit of food it was already 2am, it was a late night anyway,” Clear said.
Judging by the number of pillows being taken on board, the 20-plus-hour flight to Sydney was shaping up as a snoozy affair.
“That’s the plan,” said gymnast Josh Jefferis, when asked if he hoped to sleep during the flight.
“But I don’t know how that will work out,” he said with a grin.
The majority of Australia’s 410 Olympic squad is aboard the flight which is due to travel via Bangkok and touch down at Sydney Airport at 7.15am (AEST) on Wednesday.© AAP 2013
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