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14 October, 2021

Olympic experience “unreal”

Gilgandra-born physiotherapist, Emma Hay, has described her experience of supporting the Australian Olympic Team in Tokyo as “unreal.”

By Emily Middleton

Melissa Wu and Emma Hay after Melissa’s bronze medal win. Photo supplied.

“I still don’t think I’ve fully processed the entire thing yet. It was an unbelievable experience, something I never thought I’d be able to do.”

Ms Hay was able to work alongside her regular clients, as well as the entirety of the Australian Olympic team during her time in Tokyo. One of Ms Hay’s clients, Melissa Wu, one a bronze medal in the women’s diving 10-metre platform final at the Tokyo Olympics.

Having a special connection to her athletes like Melissa, Ms Hay was thrilled to be able to watch and share their emotion in real time.

“Being able to watch them and support them, everything we’ve worked for over the last however many years, and to be there with them and to be able to support them through that. I got to watch them compete.

“One of them got a medal. You don’t get to do that. The stadium as empty and I got a seat and got to cheer. That was a benefit of covid, being able to support the athletes that you’ve worked with for a long time. That was super rewarding,” said Ms Hay.

Ms Hay described the village as a mini city, with everything you needed within the assigned space.

“It was bigger and better than I expected,” said Ms Hay.

“The enormity of it all, the village itself, there were a lot of covid protocols in place so we couldn’t go anywhere but the village, but you could see how amazing it would be non-covid times.

“It’s basically like a little city of apartment blocks and Australia had mostly their own tower, so 16 floors, and then there was another six floors of the Cook Islands, Fiji, and other Oceanic countries.

Ms Hay is still energised from her Olympic experience, and is still grappling with all of the emotions.

“To be there when she (Melissa Wu) won, and to see the emotions, watching that when she’s been working so hard, is a massive highlight. I am so proud of her.”

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