“The world's gonna know your name / 'Cause you burn with the brightest flame / And the world's gonna know your name / And you'll be on the walls of the hall of fame.”
Every time Mackenzie Palazzi gets ready to run, she hears the piano bars from Hall of Fame by Irish band The Script.
Palazzi wants to find her way to the halls of fame, as the year six Spring Hill Public School student is set on emulating her idols Cathy Freeman, Sally Pearson and Usain Bolt in running as fast as she can – all the way to the Olympics.
She first watched the Beijing Olympics at aged four, and turned to her parents and said she was going to be an Olympic runner.
Nearly a decade later, she’s still gunning for it.
“They’ve been my three idols and I still look up to them and one day dream to be one of them,” Palazzi said.
One day I dream to be one of themMackenzie Palazzi on her idols Cathy Freeman, Sally Pearson and Usain Bolt
On Tuesday, she headed off to the Public School Sports Association state athletics in Sydney, where she’ll compete in the 100 and 200 metres, long jump, high jump and relay – the latter of which she’ll compete alongside Jacob Cox, Zoe Stevenson and Michael Stewart.
Competing at Western Zone trials she jumped 4.34 metres and ran the 100m in 13.72 seconds, but she’s looking to improve.
Palazzi is determined to finish in the top three and make her way to nationals, but beyond that doesn’t have a path to the Olympics set.
She just wants to run fast.
She’ll be going to Canobolas Rural Technology High School next year as part of their sporting program, but that will mean leaving Spring Hill and principal Ann-Marie McAnulty behind.
“She is amazing, one of the best trainers we’ve had, just the competitive side and even if we don’t win she says we do amazing, she’s pushing us achieve our goals,” Palazzi said of McAnulty, with the pair known as Big Mac and Little Mac together.
There’s more to Palazzi than running fast and jumping far.
In her fifth and final PSSA carnival, she was named a flag bearer for the opening ceremony and a captain for the zone, which she is full of pride for.
Selectors noticed her last year as she shook the hand of every competitor after all her races last year, and it’s something she wants to instil across the board, to make it about more than just racing.
As well as having praise for McAnulty, she wanted to thank her sponsors who have helped fund her trip to Sydney – Philip Swan and Wellington’s Hotel Mandalay – and her parents who have spent years driving her near and far to compete.
“I wouldn’t be able to do any of it without them,” she said.
She has also competed in swimming with Spring Hill, with the relay side coming 12th in the state earlier this year.
The PSSA state athletics runs on Wednesday and Thursday.
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