Hi my name is Belinda Hocking, but everyone calls me Bindy!
I started swimming when I was four years old due to having bad asthma, and also like any other young ‘aussie’ kid I loved the water. I played heaps of different sports when I was younger but eventually decided on swimming when I was 13 years old. We didn’t have a proper club when I was younger so mum and dad drove me from Wangaratta to Albury (50mins one way) 9 times per week for around 3 years so that I could train.
At 15 I received a scholarship to the Australian Institue of Sport (AIS) in Canberra. So my family packed up and we all moved to Canberra to help me achieve my dreams. After being at the AIS for only 2 years I made my first Olympic (2008 Beijing) at 17 years old, when I was half through year 12. I stayed at the AIS for 7 years and also went to my second Olympics (2012 London) and then moved to Melbourne in 2012.
In 2014 I had my best year in my career. I finished the year being ranked number 1 in the world, after winning 2 gold and 1 bronze at the Commonwealth Games. Towards the end of the year I struggled with expecting things to change when I came home and also from the expectations of being a gold medallist. I also had a run of bad luck. I had 2 injections in my shoulder two weeks after that I dislocated my knee, two weeks after that I received second degree burns to my fingers and then two weeks after that I crashed my car. I then decided to step away from the sport and have a break. In April 2015 I decided to have shoulder surgery and then the one thing I had always wanted to do was to try and get to 3 Olympics. So having only 9 months to train for the Olympic trials I got back in the pool and achieved my dream of being a three time Olympian.
I #dare2bare as I think raising awareness of NF is such an important cause.
In the public we are extremely aware of the ‘high profile’ diseases such as breast cancer but we are in the dark about others such as NF. I admit that I had never heard of the disorder until I got involved with the organisation. Though the organisation would love and needs monetary support, the most important thing is raising awareness and helping people to understand what exactly Neurofibromatosis is, and how to say it! Through daring to bare I know I will do my part in raising much needed awareness, education and funds.
Who doesn’t want to go for a job in their undies? Clothes just weigh you down! So leave the clothes at home and come for a jog for the Children’s Tumour Foundation!