Floating 400m over her hometown in a hot-air balloon, champion athlete Glynis Nunn-Cearns could easily see why the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games will be so successful.
The Los Angeles Olympics heptathlon gold medallist, who has lived on the Coast for more than 20 years, was awe-struck by the diversity below as the whispers of a morning breeze gently steered her dawn flight from golden beaches to green hinterland.
“We went from the high-rises of Surfers Paradise to country areas just half an hour away where you've got sugar cane and cattle and horses in the paddocks. Amazing,” Glynis says.
“From people living side-by-side to being over the outdoors with vast areas of vacant land. It's diverse and that's something we haven't seen a lot in many previous Games.
“If visitors to the Gold Coast for the Games in 2018 or those just here for a holiday do things like hot-air ballooning, they will see that. It was absolutely amazing. I loved it. It was a great experience.”
As the countdown to the 2018 Games reaches a significant milestone on Tuesday, April 4, 2017 - 365 days to go - Glynis' life remains very much in the fast lane, despite retiring from top-level competition in 1990.
The 56-year-old, who also won medals at two Commonwealth Games (gold, heptathlon, Brisbane 1982 and bronze, 100m hurdles, Edinburgh 1986), is the only former elite athlete on the 12-member Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games board of directors.
She also heads up the Gold Coast Academy of Sport and Hall of Fame, is executive director of the Australian Track and Field Coaches Association, coaches her own athletics squad (which includes several young stars considered strong chances of GC2018 selection) and still competes for fun (she set an age division record over the sprint hurdles at the 2017 Pan Pacific Masters Games on the Gold Coast).
“While I am extremely busy, I'm doing stuff I love,” she says.
Glynis is proud of what the Gold Coast has achieved already – it is home to scores of champions across dozens of different sports – and can't wait to show the 2018 Games host city to more than 6000 competitors from 70 nations, hundreds of thousands of visitors and volunteers and millions watching the event on TV worldwide.
“There's an element of excitement when you come to the Gold Coast,” Glynis says.
“We are going to be very different than any other (Commonwealth Games) host city because the Gold Coast is very linear. It's not all in one spot, people will be able to have a look at different places.
“The Southern end is very different from the Northern end and as you see on a balloon ride the Hinterland is so different from the Coastal strip and beaches. And you've got see it all!”
As she prepares for the 2018 Games, Glynis has bought her own slice of Gold Coast heaven – a 13-acre horse farm in leafy Mount Tamborine in the lush Gold Coast Hinterland.
It is just a short drive from Carrara Stadium, which will host the Games Opening Ceremony and track and field competition in 2018.
Glynis grew up on a rural property on the Darling Downs in the Southern Queensland Country region, and says getting back to a rural lifestyle has helped recharge her batteries for the busy times ahead.
She manages the new farm with her daughter Jess, 24, an accomplished show jumps rider. Her son Blake, 21, is on a soccer scholarship at Lois and Clark University in Illinois in the United States.
Her sporting family is looking forward to the 2018 Games and Glynis has no doubts the Gold Coast is going to put on a great show.
“Australians have a reputation for being very welcoming and warm,” she says.
“All those nice warm fuzzy feelings will come out with the Games and that will be fantastic.”
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