Mark Blicavs’ transformation from steeplechaser to game-changing ruckman/midfielder has been one of the most intriguing footy stories of 2015 – but there’s more to his athletic background than is often reported.
Both his parents played basketball for Australia and, for a time, Blicavs thought he might follow a similar path.
“I was playing both athletics and basketball up until I was about 16, but dad said if you want to have a crack at one, now’s probably the time to up the training,” Blicavs told Channel 7 during its Round 16 coverage.
“Basketball fell by the way and I chose athletics, purely because I enjoyed it more.”
So how did he end up playing in the AFL? In some ways, it’s not all that surprising. While many kids grow up with specific dreams, Blicavs just had an eye on success – however it came.
“Seeing Mum and Dad’s success in basketball just made me hungry to make something of any sport I chose,” the 198cm Cat reflected.
“Seeing Mum and Dad’s success in basketball just made me hungry to make something of any sport I chose” – Mark Blicavs
“Seeing photos of both mum and dad representing Australia was something that I’d always wanted to do as a kid, and why I chose athletics growing up.”
Given Blicavs’ 2015 form – there’s been talk he could be in line for an All-Australian selection at season’s end – there’s a chance he’ll get to represent his country in an International Rules series before his career’s done. His father, Andris would love to see that.
“I was lucky enough to go to Montreal in 1976,” Andris said.
“It was the highlight of my sporting career. Playing against the best in the world was something everyone aspired to.”
Though Mark won’t represent Australia in basketball, his sister might. She currently plays in the WNBL.
“I’d love to see my daughter get a gold medal in the Olympics, as well,” Andris said.