Grant still driving on road to Rio Olympics

MARYBOROUGH export Andrew Grant is refusing to rule out another tilt at the Olympics in 2016. 

Maryborough-born Andrew Grant with Australia's London Olympics flag bearer Lauren Jackson during the Opening ceremony.
Maryborough-born Andrew Grant with Australia's London Olympics flag bearer Lauren Jackson during the Opening ceremony. Contributed

It has been nine months since Grant farewelled the London Games, where he helped the Australian Volleyroos defy expectations by winning two of their five games to finish equal ninth.

The towering 207cm Grant, who now lives in Brisbane, is weighing up whether to play professional volleyball in Europe later this year, but told the Chronicle on Monday he still had the motivation to compete at the elite level.

"I would love to go to the Olympics, but four years is a long way away," Grant, who will be 31 then, said.

"But I'm definitely not ruling it out, it all depends on how the next couple of years go and if I'm in the position to go for it.

"I'm aware that if I was going to try for the Olympics in 2016, I would need to be playing at a high level in Europe.

"That plan is on the cards but I'm still in the planning stages.

"I've been in touch with my manager based in Europe and aware of what's available.

"Soon I'll have to make a decision on whether I will take up a professional contract at the end of this year or continue playing in Australia."

Grant, who has played seven years professionally in Europe, took his experience from London and used it to help inspire others through his work with a number of organisations.

Before he started working as a member services co-ordinator with Volleyball Queensland and helping grow the game in regional areas, Grant was the village duty manager at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival in Sydney in January.

When he can, he also speaks to students and community groups.

Grant's eagerness to give back to the community is unsurprising given how much the London Olympics changed his life.

"What's changed is I now have a sense of fulfilment, pride and achievement," he said.

"It's been a long journey and took a long time to achieve my goal of competing at the Olympics.

"In a way we proved Australia is on the verge of being one of the top volleyball countries in the world and we very happy with what we achieved.

"As soon as the Olympics finished, I was keen to get back to Australia and start training straight away. I didn't want to have any time off. It didn't work out that way, but I was happy to take some time off and I'm still very keen to help Australia be one of world's best volleyball teams."

After leading Queensland into the final of the Australian Volleyball League - losing in five sets to the Australian Institute of Sport - Grant dabbled in beach volleyball.

He was scheduled to play in the Fraser Coast Regional Beach Volleyball Invitational, but in the week leading up the event tore the tendons in two of his fingers.

In a fortnight, Grant will be flying to Greece where he will represent Australia at the International Olympic Academy at Olympia in Greece.

While taking part in the two-week trip means Grant had to make himself unavailable for the national team this year, he said it was an honour to get the chance to contribute to the Olympic movement.



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