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7 Gold Coasters bringing home the Gold

Emma McKeon (image from @emmamckeon Instagram)
Emma McKeon (image from @emmamckeon Instagram)

After the final curtain came down on the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics, Australia can very much be proud of their performance across a colossal discipline of sports. Even some events included for the first time like skateboarding, BMX and surfing, where — naturally — we won ourselves some medals!

But how did we do overall? Midway through the 14th of 17 days in Tokyo, Australia surpassed its Sydney 2000 haul and peaked with its all-time benchmark of 17 golds at Athens 2004. So, all up, we saw a nifty performance coming in sixth overall, considering our population is a fraction of those countries towards the top end of the table!

You might not be aware, but some of the gold medal-winning Olympians are devoted Gold Coasters — living and training on our very coastline day in, day out. But who are these people, we hear you ask? Read on and discover the local heroes that have brought home gold to the Gold Coast.

Emma McKeon
This 27-year-old originally from Wollongong is officially Australia’s most successful Olympian — ever. She not only became the greatest medal winner in Australian Olympic history – surpassing Ian Thorpe and Leisel Jones – but the first Australian ever to win four golds at a single summer games. Taking her successful Rio de Janeiro 2016 relay gold into account, she now joins Thorpe as the only Australian to win five golds. In the process, she became the first Australian ever to win the splash-and-dash 50m freestyle and only the sixth person ever to complete the 50-100m freestyle double. Her winning 50m swim also set the new world record!
> Griffith University Alumnus

Jean Van der Westhuyzen (image by @cavan_flynn)
Jean Van der Westhuyzen (image by @cavan_flynn)

Jean Van der Westhuyzen 
Often seen paddling the waters around Varsity Lakes first thing in the morning, this young man originally from South Africa is one of ours now. Jean helped Australia secure its first canoe medal of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games with a gold medal performance in the Men’s Kayak Double 1000m. Along with partner Thomas Green, the duo finished ahead of boats from the Czech Republic and Germany to secure the gold in a nerve-racking race that came down to just 0.3 of a second difference!

“World of emotion, the first thing that comes to mind is I am a man of faith, so I thank the Lord upstairs. The coaches, my family, my beautiful girlfriend, all my best mates, it’s such a big team that goes behind this performance,” Jean van der Westhuyzen said.
> Bond University Alumnus

Tom Green (image from @tom_green_athlete Instagram)
Tom Green (image from @tom_green_athlete Instagram)

Thomas Green
Originally a Gold Coast lifeguard (and an ex North Burleigh Surf Club employee) with the desire to be an ironman, this 22-year-old teamed up with Jean (mentioned above) to take out the Canoe sprint at the Olympics. Having always loved the water and sport in general, he grew his passion for the sport when he first started kayaking at the ripe old age of 10 at the Currumbin Creek Canoe Club.

But it must be mentioned that the best part of this win was that both gentlemen were the first gold medalists for Australia in the 85-year history of the event! Yeah the boys!

Mat Belcher (image from @ausolympicteam Instagram)
Mat Belcher (image from @ausolympicteam Instagram)

Mat Belcher
A Gold Coaster through and through, Mat began sailing at an early age out of Southport Sailing Club and showed promise winning the 420 World Championships aged just 18 years old. Shortly after, he was given a chance to carry the flag at the Sydney 2000 closing ceremony, sparking his desire to be an Olympian. Fast forward and after successful medal-earning appearances at London in 2012 and Rio 2016, Mat and teammate Will Ryan took the gold in the 470s this time around; thus, making him Australia’s most successful sailor of all time. Ironically, he was then asked to be the flag bearer at these games’ closing ceremony — mirroring the same thing some 21 years previously!

“This has been a wonderful Team that has achieved so much. To lead them into the Closing Ceremony means so much. I will be carrying the flag not just for those who are here but for all those now in quarantine back home or headed elsewhere. This will be for all of us.” said Belcher.
> The Southport School
> Bond University Alumnus

Young Keegan Palmer with Mayor Tom Tate (image from Mayor Tom Tate's Facebook)
Young Keegan Palmer with Mayor Tom Tate (image from Mayor Tom Tate's Facebook)

Keegan Palmer
From Elanora skate park to winning gold in front of the entire world, Keegan has secured himself the very first title in men’s park skateboarding — and at the ripe age of just 18 years old! Born in California but then moving to the Gold Coast, he spent the first 14 years of his childhood crafting his skills in and around Currumbin. Going on to then compete in national events and winning the Bondi Bowl-A-Rama in Sydney — becoming the youngest competitor to win the pro division at this event — and claiming his first national title last year at the Australian National Championships. This kid was only ever going to win gold!

Logan Martin (image from @loganmartinbmx Instagram)
Logan Martin (image from @loganmartinbmx Instagram)

Logan Martin
Originally from Logan, we’re more than happy to claim him as one of our own. His career in BMX took off after a chance visit to the skatepark with his brother at the age of 12 — from there, his ability and passion for BMX rapidly took off. After a series of stints in overseas competitions, he went on to win the International Festival of Extreme Sports in 2015 and 2016, and in the same year, he debuted at his first X-Games in Austin, Texas, where he secured himself silver.

Interestingly he went on to spend a whopping $85,000 on a skate park in his backyard on the Gold Coast: that’s dedication, folks!

Martin secured the inaugural gold medal for freestyle BMX within the first 60-seconds of his finals run at Ariake Sports Park when none of his competitors were able to match his top score of 93.3. It meant our Queenslander could put the nail in the coffin with a front bike flip to put the finishing touches to his sport’s spectacular Olympic debut.

Chelsea Hodges (image from @chelsea.hodges Instagram)
Chelsea Hodges (image from @chelsea.hodges Instagram)

Chelsea Hodges
A long-time member of the Southport Olympic Swim Club, Chelsea represented Australia for the first time at the World Junior Championships in Indiana in 2017. She then became a prominent member of the 2018 Youth Olympic Games, where she won silver in the 50m breaststroke and the 4x100m medley relay. Now, in 2021 at the age of 19, Chelsea went on to qualify for her debut Olympic Games after placing first in the 100m breaststroke trials final. Always looking like she would do great things, individually, she placed 9th overall; however, the Gold Coaster was part of the gold medal-winning Women’s 4x100m Medley Relay, posting an astounding time of 1:05.57 in her leg.
> Benowa State High
> Griffith University Alumnus — currently studying nursing.

Words by Alex Mitcheson.

7 rejuvenating Gold Coast soak and float centres

Soak Bathhouse outdoor spa (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)
Soak Bathhouse outdoor spa (Image: © 2021 Inside Gold Coast)

Life inevitably takes its tolls. Whether you’re juggling work, children, or a questionable affection for tequila, your body and mind are going to feel the effects. And whilst we’re certainly not ones to judge, there is a little space in everyone’s life to take better care of themselves.

For you to achieve an upgraded level of vitality and mindfulness, you needn’t go it alone. You’ll require some assistance, and this is where soak and float centres come in. These are the kind of spaces where tranquil surroundings and expert insight go hand in hand to pull you from that long road to ruin: a five-minute break with a strong cup of tea just isn’t going to cut it these days.

We took it upon ourselves to do some research, and lucky for us, the Gold Coast has a sizeable selection of such places where you can unwind, soak and nourish yourself back to previous glory. Here are the top 7 places to recuperate and rejuvenate yourself when tequila life has gotten the better of you.

Soak Bathhouse
Conveniently located in Mermaid Beach, Soak Bathhouse is the comprehensive answer to looking after yourself with a holistic approach. By their own ethos — it’s time to start feeling great again — they invite you to experience opulent mineral spa baths and steam rooms. This may be right after you’ve taken a fully digital yoga lesson in their built-in flow house — with continually rolling classes throughout the day. And if you feel the need to hit the emails between sauna and plunge pool circuits, they have a gorgeous co-working space to nut out some work.
Where: 2532 – 2540 Gold Coast Highway, Mermaid Beach

Freedom Float Centre (image supplied)
Freedom Float Centre (image supplied)

Freedom Float Centre
How does the prospect of feeling yourself completely weightless and floating in your private pod in utter serenity sound? Like somewhere you’d long to be at 9am on a Monday morning, no doubt. These state-of-the-art float chambers are taking the world by storm and have been scientifically proven to reduce inflammation, control hormone imbalance, and alleviate sleep disorders. At this West Burleigh centre, you can chat through your options with friendly staff and pair up your floats with infrared sauna and massage packages. The perfect remedy for any weekday blues.
Where: Shop 5, 105 West Burleigh Road, Burleigh Heads

Greenhouse Bathhouse
One of the original venues to open allowing you to soak your weary body and relax in a serene setting — without having to travel far or break the bank. The offering is a 90-minute session to move through the facilities at your own pace; with herbal tea and filtered water on hand, you’ll inevitably finish things off on their rooftop magnesium pool bathed in afternoon sun. Push the boat out and add a massage with a pre-ordered glorious plant-based lunch courtesy of sister venue Greenhouse Canteen, Miami.
Where: 7/37 Tallebudgera Creek Road, Burleigh Heads

Greenhouse The Bathhouse (image supplied)
Greenhouse The Bathhouse (image supplied)

City Cave Float & Wellness Centre
Seeking the ultimate relaxation with added health benefits? Yep us too. City Cave Float and Wellness Centres have two convenient locations across the Gold Coast and specialise in float therapy, remedial, sports, pregnancy and relaxation massages all while also offering Infrared Sauna facilities. It’s about time you look after your mind, body and gut at City Cave with their holistic services.
Where: Markeri St, Mermaid Waters or Helensvale Plaza Shopping Centre, Shop 32, 12 Sir John Overall Dr, Helensvale

The Bathhouse at Ground
As if you needed another reason to take a sojourn out into peaceful Currumbin Valley, you can certainly add this new decadent bathhouse to the list. Set within the tranquil Ground of the Currumbin Eco Village, book yourself an hour here and simply let life’s stresses fade away. Spend your 60 minutes of luxury jumping from giant hydrotherapy spa pools to a genuine Finnish sauna before sinking into a refreshing pool packed with salty goodness imported from the Dead Sea, Israel. If this isn’t enough for you, be sure to book a massage or other heavenly treatment which take place in their adjoining fairy-tale-looking century-old Queenslander.
Where: 2 Village Way, Currumbin Valley

The Bathhouse at Ground (image supplied)
The Bathhouse at Ground (image supplied)

P3 Sports and Recovery Centre
For those who like to push themselves hard — in all of the sporty and healthy ways possible — P3 Recovery Centre is the highly popular choice to drop in and give your hard-pressed physique a little love. Fitness fanatics and everyday folks will rejoice at hydrotherapy pools and the selection of wet and dry therapies available, including other world-class treatments such as their hyperbaric chamber and vibrosaun. Go break those PB’s, and rest assured these guys and their top-rate amenities will have you covered.
Where: 1/10 Kortum Drive, Burleigh Heads

Rigs Recovery
Another one for the fit and the furious amongst us, but with added appeal for many other people seeking slightly different benefits. Although primarily sports recovery focussed, the venue further specialises in injury rehabilitation, weight management and overcoming chronic fatigue. On-site, there are a host of modern therapies — and professionals to deliver them — at your disposal, including cryotherapy, where you can be subjected to an icy -130 degrees Celsius for the longest three minutes of your life.
Where: Shop 5, 117 Ashmore Road, Bundall 

Words by Alex Mitcheson.

8 of the best Sports Bars on the Coast

The Star Sports Bar (image supplied)
The Star Sports Bar (image supplied)

Picture the scene: it’s your team’s game night, and you and your crew are more than keen to catch the action in a location with full coverage, the coldest of beers, and a sprinkling of outstanding food options. Anything less would be a colossal failure, right? Seeking down such establishments that are solely devoted to delivering these things is not always the most straightforward task. But at the same time, neither is it impossible! Luckily for you, we’ve done our homework and compiled a list of the best sports bars on the Gold Coast to enjoy the action while adequately showing your support for your team. Shouting at screens may or may not be included.

The Star Sports Bar
Many would say this place is in pole position as the Gold Coast’s premier sports bar venue, and we think that’s rightly deserved. If the 23 large screens, private (pre-bookable) booths and a gigantic 10.5-metre screen aren’t impressive enough, you should be swayed by the coldest beer around and a multitude of nearby food outlets for you to fuel up pre-game or celebrate your team’s victory.
Where: The Star Gold Coast, Main Gaming Floor, 1 Casino Drive, Broadbeach

Crafty’s Sports Bar
Aptly positioned at the northern Gold Coast’s prime shopping outlet Harbour Town, Crafty’s gives you the option of mixing shopping with seeing whatever sporting event you might be into. Or, if it’s better suited, the chance for you or your partner to do so whilst the other takes their time with over 200 stores. Make plans to grab some essentials and then settle in with some fantastic food and craft beers. Score!
Where: Harbour Town Eats – 147/189 Brisbane Road, Biggera Waters

Crafty's Sport Bar (Image: © 2018 Inside Gold Coast)
Crafty's Sport Bar (Image: © 2018 Inside Gold Coast)

The Sporting Globe Bar and Grill
Part of a sizeable chain of sporting bars across the country, these guys certainly know how to look after sporting fans. Apart from expansive coverage of all the action, there are food specials every day of the week, and if you’re seeing the Gold Coast Titans game at the Cbus Stadium, come in beforehand for a drink, and these guys will even take you there and back. How good is that?
Where: Robina Town Centre, 19 Robina Town Centre Drive, Robina

The Cavill Hotel
This Surfers Paradise venue ticks so many boxes. Come game day, it makes hitting up The Cavill Hotel a legitimate option when you consider their location and food offering. And if you fancy it, there’s even a pool table should you want to continue your competitive streak or perhaps kill that half-time interval time.
Where: 46 Cavill Avenue, Surfers Paradise

Harry’s Sports Bar
Those familiar with Harry’s Steak Bistro will have noticed the venue did some slicing down the middle a little while back, and in doing so, created Burleigh Heads’ premium answer to a traditional sports bar experience. Waltz yourself in off the street after an afternoon on the beach and be met by a tasty American-style menu, big screens, as well as prime people-watching potential — for when your team are losing and you can’t bear to watch anymore.
Where: 1744 Gold Coast Highway, Burleigh Heads

Harry's Sports Bar (Image: © 2019 Inside Gold Coast)
Harry's Sports Bar (Image: © 2019 Inside Gold Coast)

The Avenue
This hotspot is more renowned as the place you head to take the night up a gear with vibrant music, entertainment, and drinks specials. And that’s a fair comment. However, should you want a great place to catch the next big fight with eating options and the ever so easy decision of sticking around and partying till the small hours, it’s a slam dunk!
Where: 3-15 Orchid Avenue, Surfers Paradise

Coolangatta Hotel
On the southern end of the Coast, The Coolangatta Hotel is the prime location to catch any sporting activities and be assured of a buoyant and passionate atmosphere. Pair it with a splash and lounge on one of Coolangatta’s famous golden beaches, and then be sure to stick around for the post-game live music, and you are onto a hole in one.
Where: Marine Parade, Coolangatta

Fat Freddy’s
How does an American-style sports bar with a Gold Coast twist sound? Too good to be true, right? Wrong. Because you need to look no further than Fat Freddy’s on Broadbeach’s Surf Parade. Grab a highchair at the bar and enjoy unhampered views of seven screens overhead as bartenders look after you with libations galore and a polished bar snacks menu which should make getting up to leave your seat an arduous feat if you ask us!
Where: 50 Surf Parade, Broadbeach

Words by Alex Mitcheson.

Fat Freddy's (Image: © 2019 Inside Gold Coast)
Fat Freddy's (Image: © 2019 Inside Gold Coast)

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