“Stuff the ‘Silver….we’re goin’ for Gold’ A Collection of Olympic Stories By Laurie Lawrence

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GOLD IN THE AIR: Master coach Laurie Lawrence with (L-R) Helen Gray, Angela Harris, Justin Lemberg, Melanie Wright, Natalie Cook and Duncan Armstrong. Photo Courtesy Hanson Media.

There was gold in the air at Brisbane’s Valley Pool today for the launch of the latest collection of Olympic stories from the heart and soul of Australia’s most passionate swim coach Laurie Lawrence – the book titled “Stuff the ‘Silver….we’re goin’ for Gold.’

Lawrence, born and bred in Townsville when the Far North Queeensland town hosted the cream of the Australian swim teams in the 50s and 60s, is the quintessential Aussie swim coach.

The man who master minded so many great performances by Australia’s swimmers – and none better than Jon Sieben in 1984 in Los Angeles and Duncan Armstrong in Seoul in 1988 – unknown Queensland lads who came from the clouds to join Australia’s long list of Olympic gold medallists.

Lawrence gives an extraordinary insight in the preparation of these two young swimmers, talking you on a journey “turning good into greatness” and so many other amazing Olympic stories – launched on the original Opening Ceremony date of this year’s Tokyo 2020 Games

Armstrong was poolside today with a host of Australian swimmers and coaches – many coached and mentored by Lawrence including Armstrong’s fellow gold medallists Sydney 2000 volleyballer Natalie Cook and 2008 Olympic swimming relay golden girl Melanie Wright.

Cook and her partner Kerri Pottharst feature in the collection of some of Laurie Lawrence’s all-time favourite stories of Olympic champions that he has either coached or associated with during his Olympic career.

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GOLDEN PARTNERSHIP: Duncan Armstrong and Laurie Lawrence Photo Courtesy: Hanson Media

Armstrong, who had arrived at Seoul for the 1988 Olympics ranked 46th in the world, had just beaten three world record holders to take gold in the 200 metres freestyle final. “What do you think we came here for … the silver?” he told TV reporter Steve Quartermain, “Stuff the silver, we came for the Gold.”

Lawrence said, “It’s an attitude that is typically Australian. Why settle for second best?

Laurie Lawrence has been poolside for plenty of Australia’s greatest Olympic moments and had already mentored another “mission impossible” gold medal effort with 17-year-old Sieben four years earlier.

“ This is a motivational book full of inspiration with wide appeal – whether you’re a kid, a coach or parent of an athlete, a business person or just someone who is interested in Australia’s great sporting DNA , you will get a lot out of ‘Stuff the silver, we’re going for Gold’. 

Over the years, Laurie Lawrence has compiled some incisive interviews and provided intimate insights into not just champion swimmers but some of our greatest Olympic legends… from his boyhood hero Dawn Fraser, to rowers David Crawshay and Scott Brennan, hockey coach extraordinaire Ric Charlesworth, athletics middle distance hall of famer Herb Elliott and cyclists Kathy Watt and Anna Meares. 

“It encapsulates the great sacrifices, determination and discipline and what it takes for our great athletes to achieving Olympic glory. There’s also some lighter funny moments of what happens on tour.” 

Here is the Introduction to “Stuff the ‘Silver….we’re goin’ for Gold’  by Laurie Lawrence:

“In 1956 as a fresh faced kid I was bitten by Olympic fever!

“The Australian Olympic swimming team came to train at the Tobruk pool in Townsville. My father, ‘Stumpy’ Lawrence, was pool manager and we lived in a little flat above the pool’s entrance.

“The world was my oyster. I even gave up my bed so that we could billet soon to be Olympic 100 metres freestyle champion Jon Henricks.

“Armed with my autograph book I drove those Austral­ian representatives crazy and I soon knew them all on a first name basis

“The coaches fascinated me – Guthrie, Gallagher, Carlile, Herford, Atkin­son.

“What a team! I followed them around watching their every move just like a new puppy being trained and fed with tasty treats from their master.

“On their final night in Townsville came a swimming carnival like no other.

“That night I watched alone in the dark from my private balcony above the pool’s entrance. I sat there entranced. I saw world record after world record broken.

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TOWNSVILLE TRIO: Coach Harry Gallagher with star pupils Dawn Fraser and Jon Henricks. Photo Courtesy: Dawn Fraser Collection.

“Dawn Fraser broke two world records in the one race; Lorraine Crapp became the first woman to break five minutes for the 400 metres freestyle.

“The swimming team left the town on a high. They were off to the Melbourne Olympics to dominate the swimming world.

“Later, I listened on my crackly transistor to every race in Melbourne as “my friends” won race after Olympic race.

 “I was bitten by the bug! Olympic fever had me in its grasp.

“Many years passed and I became school teacher, swimming teacher, coach, Olympic gold medal coach inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame and finally a member of the Australian Olympic team as an athlete liaison officer (ALO).

“This Olympic journey spanned eight Games, starting in Los Angeles in 1984 and finishing in London 2012.

“I felt compelled to tell the many adventures and stories spanning these eight Olympics in the hope of inspiring many young athletes to dream big, work hard and realise that sport is a great leveller that teaches us to enjoy victory and accept defeat even if we don’t like silver medals.”

Laurie Lawrence, more recently recognised for his ‘Kids Alive Do the 5’ water safety campaign that has led to saving many lives in Aussie pools, is also one of the country’s most popular and entertaining motivational speakers.

Of the eight Olympics Games he has attended – three were as a champion swim coach and five as an Australian team athlete liaison officer. He is a confidante and mentor of athletes from all sports giving him an incredible insider’s aspect of what makes champions tick.

“Dreams motivate your kids, and then it’s up to the coaches to provide clarity on what they want their athletes to do, because clarity will give the athlete the strength and courage to achieve the dream,” says Lawrence Lawrence.

This book is as entertaining as it’s author, a masterfully told snd written collection of Olympic stories so well crafted by noted sports writer Neil Cadigan, who has blended these tales beautifully – amazing insights that will go a long way to whetting your whistle for more Olympic glory.

E-book copies are available on Amazon.com.au (for reading on Kindle) Hard copies soon to be available by ordering through www.laurielawrence.com.au

1 comment

  1. avatar
    Sebastian

    Just purchased it and now can’t wait to read it!!!!!

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