Athletics coach Ollie Langton’s aim is to help athletes reach their goals.
Athletics coach Ollie Langton’s aim is to help athletes reach their goals. Renee Pilcher

Seeing athletes reach goals delight for coach

Q. Welcome to one on one Ollie. For how long have you been involved with Special Olympics in Gympie?

A. I've been volunteering since 2004, when my daughter Kimberly signed up.

Q. What did you help out with back then?

A. I was a soccer coach. I have been coaching soccer for 19 years.

Q. What do you do these days within the club?

A. I am the Gympie region sports co-ordinator.

I'm also an athletics coach and a bocce coach.

I was the Queensland athletics coach at the Trans Tasman Games this month.

Q. What got you into athletics seeing you are so experienced with football (soccer)?

A. Kimberly showed a talent for athletics so I automatically decided to become accredited level two track and field coach.

I've always loved athletics.

Q. Do you have much to do with football anymore?

A. I have just finished coaching my last season.

I spoke with my family about it and decided it is time to step away from soccer.

Q. Was leaving a difficult choice to make?

A. I'm happy to step away from it. I've been playing a long time; since I was 12 and now I'm 44.

I'm a life member of Diggers club but I've had my time and now it's about my daughter and her friends - there are athletes that need me to help them get to the next level.

I decided to give up soccer to help with athletics.

Q. There still must be plenty left to learn about athletics.

A. I'm always learning.

There are guidelines with the Special Olympics Australia and Special Olympics International which we have to follow.

Now I get to learn with my athletes.

Q. So, do you still enjoy coaching and volunteering your time?

A. I love it - my athletes become my friends, my best mates. It's so wonderful.

We volunteer because we want to and because they need us to be there to help them get to the next step.

We have to be there or they may never get a chance to try out a sport.

Q. What are some of the most rewarding things about coaching Special Olympics teams?

A. Seeing the athletes grow and make personal achievements, they just light up.

To see them make a Queensland or Australian team when they thought they couldn't, that makes volunteering worthwhile.

Even just leaving home and being away from family for a competition is a big achievement, some athletes haven't ever travelled on a plane before heading off to big competitions like the Trans-Tasman Games in Cairns.

Our team at the games came through beautifully.

Q. What's next on the agenda for you?

A. I'm looking forward to travelling away with teams more, going to Cairns was my very first trip away with the athletics.

I'm looking forward to helping athletes reach their goals, whether that is making a Queensland or Australian team or achieving a personal best.

Player profile

Name: Ollie Langton

Age: 44

Born: Wollongong

Favourite food: Popcorn

Favourite movie: Anything 1930s black and white.

Favourite music: Anything from the '80s.

Funniest moment in sport: There are so many funny moments that are priceless but it's hard to put my finger on just one. The most memorable moments for me are seeing my athletes earn medals or making personal bests, seeing that is really special.