The 2014 ClubsNSW Academy Games has got underway in fine style with a colourful opening ceremony at the University of Wollongong Sports Hub.
Special guest at the event was Olympic gold medallist and Illawarra Academy of Sport graduate David Smith, who inspired the crowd by encouraging athletes to "dream big - believe in your dreams!"
Smith told the crowd there wasn't one occasion when he didn't believe he would win Olympic gold even when he finished last in his kayak event at the Beijing Games.
"At Beijing we came last, but I still never believed that I couldn't do it," he said.
Smith said he's in full preparation for the next Games in Rio, but going to the Olympics is never a certainty as there's no way of knowing whether other competitors will come along to take your place.
The NSW Minister for Sport and Recreation, The Hon. Gabrielle Upton MP, also spoke at the ceremony, encouraging the athletes to follow their dreams, and paying tribute to their parents and supporters.
Watch some inspiring comments from David Smith in an interview recorded just before the Games opening, in which he describes how being involved in an Academy of Sport made a huge difference to his sporting career.