Perkins hopes to inspire Olympians

TWO-TIME Olympic champion Kieren Perkins inspired a whole nation with his astonishing gold medal swim from lane eight in the 1500m at the 1996 Atlanta Games.

Now he wants to inspire the next generation of Aussie Olympians in London.

The 38-year-old is one of four athlete liaison officers - the others are former Australian cricket captain Steve Waugh, seven-time world surfing champion Layne Beachley and rugby great John Eales. They have each been assigned a number of different sports and will act as mentors to our athletes during the Games.

"By and large (my role) involves trying to keep a bit of calm amongst the athletes so they can focus on what matters most," Perkins said. "There's a lot going on and it's pretty exciting around here. Everyone gets a bit nervous and a bit worked up.

"We're the relaxed third party that can come in, share a joke and calm people down and keep their mind on the job."

Perkins has already spent valuable time with young archers Elisa Barnard and Taylor Worth, his advice and guidance proving invaluable.

"Coming from the Olympic environment, being able to talk to Kieren, who has been in this situation on multiple occasions, it's been really good," Worth said.

Any athlete looking for a pyschological edge over their rivals could do worse than talk to Waugh who was often embroiled in debates about sledging out during his cricket career.

"There's always a role for sledging," he said. "Gamesmanship, sledging or whatever you call it. There's body language, the way you carry yourself, if you are really positive that can have a huge effect on opponents."

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