ED’S LET­TER

Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - Contents - Sar­rah

Whether it’s the pres­sure-cooker en­vi­ron­ment of school ex­ams in the age of NAPLAN, or the unique peer-group chal­lenges of grow­ing up sur­rounded by so­cial me­dia, there’s plenty of talk about the grow­ing stress felt by a gen­er­a­tion of young Aus­tralians as they nav­i­gate study, friend­ships and ca­reer plans. But the pres­sure on Cate and Bronte Camp­bell as they took to the pool at the Rio Olympics last Au­gust was in a league of its own – made all the more in­tense when Cate’s dis­ap­point­ing per­for­mance in the women’s 100m freestyle fi­nal was self-de­scribed as “pos­si­bly the great­est choke in Olympic his­tory”. Half a year later, Cate opens up for the first time about what went wrong that fate­ful day, and re­veals how a wellmean­ing text mes­sage paral­ysed her with the re­al­i­sa­tion that she was car­ry­ing a na­tion’s hopes on her young shoul­ders. “What I have learnt is that fail­ure isn’t nec­es­sar­ily some­thing we should be ashamed of,” Cate tells Stel­lar. “It shows we have the courage to go and dare in the first place.” Wise words that will hope­fully res­onate with other young Aus­tralians still learn­ing that, win or not, it is not hav­ing a go at all that is the real fail­ure.

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