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The 'accidental hero' gold medalist Steven Bradbury receives an Australian bravery award for rescues

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The 'accidental hero' gold medalist Steven Bradbury receives an Australian bravery award for rescues
News

News

The 'accidental hero' gold medalist Steven Bradbury receives an Australian bravery award for rescues

2024-05-15 11:43 Last Updated At:11:50

BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — More than 20 years after winning an unlikely gold medal in short track speedskating at the Salt Lake City Olympics, Steven Bradbury is back in the news for another good reason.

Bradbury has been presented with a bravery award by the Queensland state governor for rescuing four teenagers from rough seas at a beach at Caloundra, an hour north of the capital Brisbane, in March of last year.

In 2002, Bradbury became known as the “accidental hero” after winning Australia's first Winter Olympics gold medal.

Bradbury was well off the pace in the 1,000-meter race when all four of his competitors crashed out at the final corner while jostling for the gold medal. That allowed Bradbury, who was about 15 meters behind, to avoid the pile-up and glide through to win the final.

Australian Olympic Committee President Ian Chesterman on Wednesday said Bradbury’s courage and quick thinking saved lives last year.

“The fact that Steven acted quickly, calmly and with such courage is so impressive. He richly deserves this recognition," Chesterman said of the bravery award. "We have always admired Steven for the way he has made history on the ice, but his actions last year reflect an incredible achievement — saving four young lives."

Bradbury, now 50, was teaching his son to ride a surfboard when he spotted a teenage girl in trouble. He sent his son to alert lifeguards while he paddled to the young woman, who he returned to the beach before paddling out again to assist three other teenagers in trouble.

"I don’t feel like a bravery award is necessary, but I am happy to accept it and feel pretty proud about it,” Bradbury told Australian Associated Press on Wednesday. “The feeling of knowing that you have saved people’s lives is something I will take to my grave.”

AP sports: https://apnews.com/sports

FILE - Steven Bradbury Australia's surprise gold medalist in 1000 metres short track speed skating event displays his medal at a press conference in Salt Lake City, Sunday, Feb. 17, 2002. Bradbury has been presented with a bravery award by the Queensland state governor in Brisbane for rescuing four teenagers from rough seas at a beach at Caloundra north of Brisbane in March of last year. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, File)

FILE - Steven Bradbury Australia's surprise gold medalist in 1000 metres short track speed skating event displays his medal at a press conference in Salt Lake City, Sunday, Feb. 17, 2002. Bradbury has been presented with a bravery award by the Queensland state governor in Brisbane for rescuing four teenagers from rough seas at a beach at Caloundra north of Brisbane in March of last year. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, File)

FILE - Steven Bradbury of Australia crosses the finish line to win the men's 1,000-meter short-track speed skating race at the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah, Saturday, Feb. 16, 2002. Bradbury has been presented with a bravery award by the Queensland state governor in Brisbane for rescuing four teenagers from rough seas at a beach at Caloundra north of Brisbane in March of last year. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau, File)

FILE - Steven Bradbury of Australia crosses the finish line to win the men's 1,000-meter short-track speed skating race at the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah, Saturday, Feb. 16, 2002. Bradbury has been presented with a bravery award by the Queensland state governor in Brisbane for rescuing four teenagers from rough seas at a beach at Caloundra north of Brisbane in March of last year. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau, File)

MUNICH (AP) — Scotland supporters are doing their best to make their team feel right at home in Germany ahead of its opening game against the host nation at the European Championship.

Tens of thousands of fans have arrived in Munich over the past few days, turning the streets into a riot of color and noise — and filling the coffers of local bars. And more were expected for Friday evening's game.

Scotland hasn’t played a European Championship match abroad since 1992 and its supporters, nicknamed the Tartan Army, are making the most of it.

“It feels as if most of the country are (here),” Scotland captain Andy Robertson said.

In the buildup to the Euro 2024 opener against Germany, fans wearing kilts and waving Scottish flags have been dancing and singing as the sound of bagpipes fills the air.

Many have filled pubs and bars but no trouble has been reported, with the Scots largely creating a joyous atmosphere as they revel in a rare opportunity to travel overseas to see their team play in a major tournament.

Entrances to Munich's main square — Marienplatz — were blocked off by lines of police officers mid-afternoon on Friday as there were too many people. Fire engines also turned up after automatically being alerted because of smoke from flares and fireworks. But everyone appeared relaxed and smiling.

“Half of Scotland is in there,” said one excited fan as he headed out of the square.

Scotland played in the pandemic-delayed 2021 European Championship but that was held in different countries and there were also travel restrictions because of the coronavirus. Before that, it hadn’t qualified for a major tournament since the 1998 World Cup in France.

“We should all be proud that we’re here,” Scotland coach Steve Clarke said. “Been a long time, since 1998, when we actually traveled abroad to be involved in a major tournament like this. That’s why the nation is so excited I think.”

The Scottish FA estimated in March that 100,000 fans would travel to Germany. British media is reporting double that figure.

The majority of fans arrived by plane, train or automobile but others traveled by more unconventional methods. Some cycled all the way to Germany, while Craig Ferguson made his journey from Glasgow on foot.

The 20-year-old from Paisley set off on his epic walk more than 40 days ago to raise money for charity, starting at Scotland's national stadium Hampden Park and arriving in Munich around midday on Thursday.

“It was so worth it, I mean even for that sort of finish line yesterday, you know, coming in, that’s a moment I’ll never forget," Ferguson said on Friday.

"But more importantly, we managed to raise over 62,000 pounds ($79,000) for men’s mental health and suicide prevention, so for that it was absolutely worth it and I’d do it all over again, just to raise that money.”

Ferguson was hoping to be rewarded by getting to see Scotland pull off an upset against Germany.

“You can’t walk all the way here and not see a Scotland win, so 1-0 Scotland,” he hoped.

The Scotland team has been seeing images and video of the support.

“It gives us a big boost,” Clarke said. “We know they’re here to support us and they’re going to be behind us every minute, every game. That’s really important for us.

“We’ve had a little taste of it down in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, where we’re based. Some people down there have made the walk to training more enjoyable … I hope they enjoy themselves and behave themselves.”

AP Euro 2024: https://apnews.com/hub/euro-2024

A man plays bagpipes as passengers cheer after disembarking from a train in Munich before a Group A match between Germany and Scotland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Germany, Friday, June 14, 2024. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

A man plays bagpipes as passengers cheer after disembarking from a train in Munich before a Group A match between Germany and Scotland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Germany, Friday, June 14, 2024. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

A man wearing a kilt poses on a fontaine at the 'Marienplatz' square before a Group A match between Germany and Scotland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Munich, Germany, Friday, June 14, 2024. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

A man wearing a kilt poses on a fontaine at the 'Marienplatz' square before a Group A match between Germany and Scotland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Munich, Germany, Friday, June 14, 2024. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

Soccer fans cheer in the 'Marienplatz' square, before a Group A match between Germany and Scotland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Munich, Germany, Friday, June 14, 2024. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

Soccer fans cheer in the 'Marienplatz' square, before a Group A match between Germany and Scotland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Munich, Germany, Friday, June 14, 2024. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

Scotland's soccer team fans cheer in the 'Marienplatz' square, before a Group A match between Germany and Scotland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Munich, Germany, Friday, June 14, 2024. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

Scotland's soccer team fans cheer in the 'Marienplatz' square, before a Group A match between Germany and Scotland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Munich, Germany, Friday, June 14, 2024. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

Scotland's soccer team fans at the 'Marienplatz' square before a Group A match between Germany and Scotland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Munich, Germany, Friday, June 14, 2024. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

Scotland's soccer team fans at the 'Marienplatz' square before a Group A match between Germany and Scotland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Munich, Germany, Friday, June 14, 2024. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

A Scotland soccer fan pours beer on his face in the 'Marienplatz' square, before a Group A match between Germany and Scotland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Munich, Germany, Friday, June 14, 2024. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

A Scotland soccer fan pours beer on his face in the 'Marienplatz' square, before a Group A match between Germany and Scotland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Munich, Germany, Friday, June 14, 2024. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

Soccer fans gather in the 'Marienplatz' square, before a Group A match between Germany and Scotland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Munich, Germany, Friday, June 14, 2024. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

Soccer fans gather in the 'Marienplatz' square, before a Group A match between Germany and Scotland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Munich, Germany, Friday, June 14, 2024. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

A Scotland soccer team fan with the flag of Scotland painted on his face looks at the camera before a Group A match between Germany and Scotland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Munich, Germany, Friday, June 14, 2024. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

A Scotland soccer team fan with the flag of Scotland painted on his face looks at the camera before a Group A match between Germany and Scotland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Munich, Germany, Friday, June 14, 2024. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

A Scotland soccer team fan plays the bagpipes in 'Marienplatz' square, before a Group A match between Germany and Scotland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Munich, Germany, Friday, June 14, 2024. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

A Scotland soccer team fan plays the bagpipes in 'Marienplatz' square, before a Group A match between Germany and Scotland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Munich, Germany, Friday, June 14, 2024. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

Soccer fans gather in the 'Marienplatz' square, before a Group A match between Germany and Scotland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Munich, Germany, Friday, June 14, 2024. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

Soccer fans gather in the 'Marienplatz' square, before a Group A match between Germany and Scotland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Munich, Germany, Friday, June 14, 2024. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

Scotland's soccer team fans cheer in the 'Marienplatz' square, before a Group A match between Germany and Scotland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Munich, Germany, Friday, June 14, 2024. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

Scotland's soccer team fans cheer in the 'Marienplatz' square, before a Group A match between Germany and Scotland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Munich, Germany, Friday, June 14, 2024. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

Scotland's soccer team fans at the 'Marienplatz' square before a Group A match between Germany and Scotland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Munich, Germany, Friday, June 14, 2024. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

Scotland's soccer team fans at the 'Marienplatz' square before a Group A match between Germany and Scotland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Munich, Germany, Friday, June 14, 2024. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

Two men play bagpipes at the 'Marienplatz' square before a Group A match between Germany and Scotland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Munich, Germany, Friday, June 14, 2024. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

Two men play bagpipes at the 'Marienplatz' square before a Group A match between Germany and Scotland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Munich, Germany, Friday, June 14, 2024. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

Soccer fans share a laugh in the 'Marienplatz' square, before a Group A match between Germany and Scotland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Munich, Germany, Friday, June 14, 2024. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

Soccer fans share a laugh in the 'Marienplatz' square, before a Group A match between Germany and Scotland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Munich, Germany, Friday, June 14, 2024. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

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