Greater Shepparton Sports Hall of Fame
What many might have considered a throw away line at the pub for pistol shooter Bruce Quick was anything but that, spurring him on to two Olympics and six Commonwealth Games appearances.
The nuclear medicine technologist was having a post-work drink with friends during the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics when Australian Patricia Dench won a medal in pistol shooting.
‘‘A woman that was from my hometown that was a friend of my parents won a bronze medal in LA,’’ he said.
‘‘That was my motivation being at the pub after work with the guys at the hospital and I said ‘I know that lady’, because she was on the TV (at the pub).
‘‘I used to shoot a bit and I said I reckon I could take it a bit (further) and go to the Olympics and they all laughed at me and in 1985 I joined a club.’’
Just two years later he would be shooting at a World Cup and then representing Australia at the 1990 Auckland Commonwealth Games.
Moving to the Goulburn Valley in 1994, the Shepparton Pistol Club received a gold medallist to shoot at Pine Lodge.
Quick had won gold and bronze medals at Auckland, the first of six Commonwealth Games appearances.
Kuala Lumpur in 1998, Manchester in 2002, a home games in Melbourne 2006, New Delhi in 2010 and Glasgow in 2014 all followed for a medal haul of one gold, nine silver and four bronze.
But that tally is far from finished.
Quick has intentions of qualifying for another Australian Commonwealth Games and travelling to compete on the Gold Coast next year.
He stayed in Shepparton until moving shortly after the Glasgow Games in 2014, with countless hours of training contributing to his success.
Shepparton Shooting Club’s president for two decades, Quick was in just as good form as he was back when he started.
‘‘Twenty-seven years later I’m still shooting well... I went to a competition in Melbourne and had a personal best a couple of months ago, which I’m very surprised about,’’ he said.
‘‘It just goes to show shooting is a sport you can do for quite a long time if you can keep the mental toughness and the application.’’
Quick, who has moved to Holbrook in NSW, goes out to a shooting range three times a week and sometimes for a full day on the weekend.
His application is for personal fulfilment to make sure his preparation is meticulous for a big event.
‘‘They talk about becoming a master at anything, piano or violin, if you do it 10000 times and do it well you can get to a level where you can be good at anything,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s important going into the Commonwealth Games that I know that nobody has done more training or worked harder, at least even if I don’t win a medal I can think at least I couldn’t have done any better.’’
Picking up the sport from his father who was a shooter, Quick shot as a teenager, but did not take the sport seriously until in his 20s.
But he said the pressure had grown with each high level competition, despite expansive experience.
‘‘I had no expectations (in 1990), I walked up and won a gold medal and thought that was alright, I didn’t know how to lose and then there’s family pressure and local pressure and all of a sudden you’re in the paper and people want to interview you on TV and the pressure was hard to deal with, but you either deal with it or you don’t,’’ Quick said.
Quick competed at the 2004 Athens and 2008 Beijing Olympics, continuing to work full-time during his experiences.
Returning from the Manchester Commonwealth Games in 2002, he watched the closing ceremony on television needing to be back to focus on his patients.
But like many elite athletes, Quick has been travelled to various countries during fascinating political times.
In the 1980s he competed in East Germany, coping with the difficulty of bringing firearms into the communist country and in 1990 was in Moscow for the World Championships, where he said westerners were treated with suspicion.
Quick said the Russians were some of the hardest to compete against, particularly after the Soviet Union broke up and each individual nation was able to send two supreme shooters to the Games.
Closer to home, Quick said the 2006 Melbourne Games were an entirely different experience.
‘‘The Melbourne Commonwealth Games were very special to be on your home turf, that was great, a really good experience being in Melbourne and knowing the locality and being able to duck off and visit friends,’’ he said.
‘‘We got all the paraphernalia and security and pomp and ceremony.’’
Quick’s daughters Ellen, Piper and Hannah have all attempted shooting, with Hannah competing alongside her father at the Oceania Continental Games in 2013.
Quick is one of the finest shooters across all disciplines in history at the Oceania Championships and he hoped to gain another record next year.
Just one of six athletes to attend six Commonwealth Games, Quick’s 14 medals have him behind only swimmer Susie O’Neill (15) and shooter Phillip Adams (18) as he looks to the Gold Coast.