Our Olympic athletes are the toast of the Coast
OLYMPICS: While a host of pundits condemn the Australian Olympic campaign, Sunshine Coast sports officials have praised the region's athletes for their impressive showing at Rio.
Five talents with links to the district claimed six medals at the Games and it was in the pool where they fared best.
Brittany Elmslie (a gold and a silver), Leah Neale (silver), Taylor McKeown (silver) and Jake Packard (bronze) joined archer Ryan Tyack (bronze) on the dais.
"It was the Coast's best ever Olympic performance in both medals won and participants," Sunshine Coast Sports Federation chairman Benny Pike said.
"When you put our medals down we finish higher than many countries and it gives you an idea per capita how good the Coast is."
The Sunshine Coast would finish higher on the official medal table than distance-running powerhouse Ethiopia and on the total medal count would be inside the top 40 countries, alongside Greece.
"The federation is very proud of our athletes and coaches," Pike said.
"The Coast excels in the area of Games sports and in particular among women. This was reinforced by the Rio medals, led by Brittany Elmslie."
Elmslie, who forged her swimming skills at Noosa and Cotton Tree, was part of Australia's world record-breaking 4x100m freestyle relay team.
The University of Sunshine Coast is celebrating the success of Neale, McKeown and Packard while Sunshine Coast Archery Club members can savour Tyack's performance.
Sunshine Coast athletes benefit from good facilities, strong support networks and an environment which encourages an active lifestyle.
But Pike hoped their success in Rio could be further developed leading into the 2018 Commonwealth Games at the Gold Coast.
"The Coast's political and business leaders must support (athletes) in setting up a legacy over the next two years," he said.
Pike praised three-time Olympic pole vaulter Alana Boyd, who was fourth at Rio.
"She will go down as one of the Coast's greatest athletes.
"(Open water swimmer) Chelsea Gubecka will only improve and kayakers Alyssa Bull and Alyce Burnett made the final in their first Olympic campaign.
"Larissa Crummer is only 19 and has a wonderful (football) career ahead of her."
He also mentioned Jodie Kenny (hockey).
While the Coast snared six medals, Australia claimed 29 in total, which is significantly less than expected.
"With Australian Olympic officials crying poor, the pressure will now be on to get back on top of the medal table on the Gold Coast," Pike said.
The region's Olympic athletes have been invited to a welcome home ceremony at the Maroochy RSL on Friday, from 4.30pm.