IT’S A name synonymous with victory in Ballarat.
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But as of this week there are three additional letters fans are going to have to get used to.
Olympic gold medallist walker Jared Tallent, now officially Jared Tallent OAM, was on Monday awarded a Medal of the Order (OAM) as part of the Queen’s Birthday honours for his service to sport.
For the former Ballarat resident, who will enter Rio as defending Olympic champion in the men’s 50-kilometre walk after Russian drug-cheat Sergey Kirdyapkin was stripped of his gold medal earlier this year, the award formed only part of the ‘best week’ of his life.
To add to his achievement, on Friday Tallent will finally be awarded the 50-kilometre gold medal at a special medal ceremony in Australia - four years after the London Olympics race and only days out from leaving for Rio.
The medal will be presented to Tallent with full Olympic protocol on the Treasury Steps in Melbourne.
But that’s not all that’s happening in Tallent’s life at the moment.
This week he will also say farewell to his glasses after undergoing laser treatment on his eyes.
“They say things come in threes,” he told The Courier on Monday.
“It will be an unforgettable week.”
With four years of waiting behind him, he said this week’s celebrations with his family will be far from small.
“It’s a huge honour, it’s very special for me,” he said.
“To have it all happen this week is great. I really didn’t expect it.”
Leaving for Rio next Monday, receiving the OAM was a boost of motivation for the 31-year-old.
“Things like this mean a lot for me,” he said.
“It makes me want to train hard for Rio.”
Tallent recently won silver in the 50-kilometre IAAF World Race Walking Team Championships in Rome, with hopes of adding to his growing medal tally with another in Rio.
With his three Olympic medals, Tallent is one medal away from being Australia's most successful male athletics competitor.
He became the first Australia male track and field athlete to win two medals at a single Games in over a century when he won bronze (20km) and then silver (50km) in Beijing.
The Rio Olympics open on August 5.
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