Australia excels in texting Olympics

Australian Olympic supporters have sent over 38,000 Telstra HeroMessages to Australian athletes competing in Athens, Telstra said today, topping the Sydney Olympic total of 22,000. Telstra counted 28,000 SMS and Internet text messages as at 2.

Australian Olympic supporters have sent over 38,000 Telstra HeroMessages to Australian athletes competing in Athens, Telstra said today, topping the Sydney Olympic total of 22,000.

Telstra counted 28,000 SMS and Internet text messages as at 2.30pm (AEST) yesterday - day four of the Olympics - and has since received 10,000 more overnight.

Olympic swimmer Ian Thorpe and hurdler Jana Pittman have received the most HeroMessages, Telstra said, with nearly every Olympian having received at least one.

Telstra said the most supported athletes following Thorpe and Pittman are swimmers Matt Welsh, Leisel Jones and Libby Lenton.

Welsh said the messages have played an important part in keeping the athletes optimistic.

"The messages of support are a real motivator," Welsh said. "The HeroMessages I've already received have taken over the wallpaper in my room at the Athletes Village, and are a great reminder of all the fantastic support I have from Australia."

Among some of the more colourful messages, Thorpe has received two marriage proposals, Telstra said, with the women's freestyle relay team receiving six requests for dates.

According to Telstra, tennis start Mark Philippoussis has received dozens of messages asking after his girlfriend Delta Goodrem - who has been suffering with Hodgkin's disease - and Olympic gold medal shooter Suzanne Balogh has also received numerous messages from "newly converted shooting fans".

HeroMessages can be sent any time up until 12 October 2004 via SMS to 0427-672-946, charged at typical SMS rates, or via Telstra's HeroMessage Web site -- www.heromessage.telstra.com -- without charges.

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