Friday, August 12, 2011

Hometown Hero

Flags they handed out along the ride.
Don't forget about the Chocolate Contest going on in the blog entry below. Though it's almost the end of Friday here, most of you still have another day to enter. The competition is heating up! Anyway, onto today's entry. If you know anything about biking, you know that Cadel Evans won the Tour de France this year. What you may not know is he is the first Australian to win this competition, so it's a big deal, especially since biking is so big around here. Today, Cadel came "home" to Melbourne for a big celebration. I rode my bike downtown to witness the craziness (I figured that was an appropriate means of transportation for the occasion!).

Cadel Evans did a short bike ride down St. Kilda Road to get to Federation Square. I couldn't get extremely close, but he was shaking hands and saying hello to the Aussies as he rode. Lots of people rode their bikes down there too, and there were yellow flags and signs everywhere.

I can't even explain how many thousands of people filled up Federation Square. There was no way I could get anywhere close to the stage, but they played everything on the big screen and had a great sound system, so I could see and hear it all. Victoria's Premier gave a speech, and there was a taped speech from the Prime Minister, a performance of the National Anthem, the gifting of Cadel with a trophy and a monstrous yellow jersey saying "Australia congratulates Cadel," and more. Then some guy interviewed Cadel, and he was very humble and funny. Australians don't like a "tall poppy" (someone who brags about how awesome he is), so Cadel is well-loved by the people in this country. They now speak of him as one of the legendary Australian athletes for all time. It was neat to be part of such a special moment in Australian history.

A full Federation Square for Cadel Evans!

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