• Kyah Simon celebrates scoring against Brazil in the World Cup (Kyah Simon)Source: Kyah Simon
It all started in 2000 when 8 year old Kyah Simon watched Cathy Freeman race to victory on the Sydney Olympics.
14 Mar 2016 - 3:55 PM  UPDATED 17 Jun 2016 - 7:47 AM

“I’ve been to two World Cups and obviously been in a lot of major tournaments as well but this is my childhood dream,” Simon said.

“Playing for Australia was one, going to World Cups another but then being at the pinnacle of sport is just another next step.

“It resonates so much with me [the Olympics] because that’s how my dream began watching that 2000 Olympics and that’s really what inspired me.

“I’m just super proud as a team to be able to say we’re going to be Olympians and we’re going there with the rest of Australia’s elite athletes and mingling with the rest of the world’s best athletes.”

Simon pinpointed the moment she wanted to be an Olympian. It was seeing Cathy Freeman win gold in the 400 metres at the Sydney Games.

Many Matildas have spoken of Freeman’s famous performance and the influence it has had on their careers. 

And the squad was thrilled when they received a congratulatory message from the Aussie legend after their qualification. 

For Simon, an Indigenous Australian, Freeman’s example has been a constant source of inspiration and the striker plans to continue her legacy in Rio.

“I remember the race like it was yesterday,” said Simon.

“We watched over it [in Osaka] and for her to then acknowledge what we’d achieved 16 years down the track is massive and definitely brought a tear to my eye.

“It took me back to when I was an eight-year-old girl watching her run that race Now I’ve got that chance to do that for young girls around the world and young Australian and Indigenous girls.”

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“As a footballer obviously it’s a major opportunity to play at the Olympics and if there’s one thing that I want it’s to be able to hold a gold medal around our necks with the other girls.”

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