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Olympic legends inspire Aaron Smith

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Lynn McConnell     14 Aug 2016     Getty Images

Smith was speaking before the team's departure on Sunday for Sydney and said he had occupied himself on Saturday watching the television documentary about New Zealand's golden hour at the Rome Olympics in 1960 and about the stable of runners created by coach Arthur Lydiard.

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Smith said he was impressed with the way Snell was so unflustered about taking on the world's best in the 800m at Rome while he enjoyed the pre-race 'psych' methods employed by Halberg among the runners he would face in the 5000m.

"I was just blown away by how awesome they were and just with the whole Olympic buzz. You think you're working hard but they did so much work back then just because they loved, and had a passion for something, and that kept me really grounded about what I do and how blessed I am.

"I was buzzing out at them running-like Marathons every day. It was just awesome to see how hard some people work to get what they wanted," he said.

"Man that Arthur Lydiard sounded like a pretty tough guy. I think we do some running but he came up with some running method back then that was pretty ruthless."
Smith added that he had enjoyed seeing the way New Zealanders win, at the Olympics.

"The way they win is really gracious and just humbling. They don't want it to be about them, it's nice to see," he said.

While they were obviously happy with success they were not over the top.

Smith said social media made contact between sportspeople a lot easier and he related how he had ended up tweeting with rowing pairs double gold medalist Eric Murray as a result of a comment he was making on Twitter.

Social media had made it quicker for top sports people to be supportive of each other, he said.

Fellow All Black Jerome Kaino said he always got a lift from seeing Kiwis performing well on the world stage.

"Regardless of whether they win or not you still feel a sense of pride when you see the silver fern out there but even more so when they do get a meal.

"It's awesome being in touch with what athletes are doing over there," he said.