Heroes come in all shapes and sizes.
Heroes can be young like Lleyton Hewitt and Preston Cambell or old like former long distance marathon runner, Cliff Young, who was well in his 60s when he first came to prominence.
Heroes can come from movies, music, or literature.
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Heroes can also come from sport. In fact Australia has a long history of glorifying its sporting heroes and putting them on pedestals as examples to follow and admire.
For a long time now, Australia has produced a number of high profile sporting heroes. Including cricketer Don Bradman, former Olympian Dawn Fraser, to more recent greats like, tennis ace and current US Open Champion, Lleyton Hewitt.
At 20, Hewitt just took out his first Grand Slam, in his first ever Grand Slam finals appearance. Here are some examples of the coverage Hewitt received on the Daily Telegarph.com web site on the Internet.
The reporter Paul Malone told us this as he covered the story in New York: He says that US Open tennis champion Lleyton Hewitt hopes the Australian public will learn to love him after he surged to a maiden Grand Slam win with a performance which mystified the great Pete Sampras.
Also Lleyton Hewitt was quoted as saying, "I’m sure that everyone in Australia was behind me today. That’s the kind of country we are,". Lleyton’s father admitted they had not expected the South Australian to win his first major title at the tournament.
And finally this quote from a true champion, Pete Sampras, the winner of 13 Grand Slam titles, said he felt "overpowered" by Hewitt and no opponent had played better against him.
Another local home grown rugby league hero is Sharks halfback, Preston Campbell, who earlier in the week took out the prestigious Dally M- Player of the Year award.
Preston has become a sporting hero to many youths because he comes from a small country town called Tingah and is only small in size and stature just like himself. Campbell shows us that you don’t have to stand 6 ft tall to be a hero.
This story was covered in the Daily Telegraph newspaper on Tuesday, with the headline ‘Preston’s coming of age’. Dean Ritchie reports, Excitement machine Preston Campbell, the attacking genius leading the Sharks’ charge to the premiership, capped a remarkable season when he claimed the NRL’s most celebrated individual prize. Preston who was surprised by the win was quoted as saying "I was up and down last year – I only played five first grade games. I was in first division for most of the season," Preston went on to say " this was the last year of my contract so when I was given the chance I wanted to make a go of it."
People will always need heroes and the media will always promote heroes.
In Australia sporting heroes are often larger than life. And the media plays a role in making them big. We all need heroes in our life, they are people we can all aspire to and the media needs heroes too. But the true heroes are the people that risk there lives to help others.
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