NOT even a fresh start interstate can take the Doonside out of dual Olympic hammer thrower Debbie Sosimenko.
The 1998 Commonwealth Games gold medallist lived in Doonside for most of her life before she and her young family moved to acreage near Brisbane four years ago.
She returned to her grassroots during a visit to Sydney last weekend.
"It's changed a lot in the last few years," Sosimenko, 40, said.
"It seems a lot busier.
"I remember the railway crossing in Hill End Road before the bridge was built there."
Sosimenko is proud of her roots and is still the patron of Doonside Little Athletics.
"A lot of good people came out of Doonside, such as Craig Moore (former Socceroo) and Michael Knight (former Olympics minister)," she said.
"It doesn't matter where you come from, you'll always find a way if you've got your heart set on it."
The maths teacher won eight national titles during the 1990s and early 2000s.
Her best international results were fifth at the 1999 world titles and at the 2000 Olympics the following year, where she recorded her personal best throw.
A knee injury forced her to retire after the 2004 Olympics.
Sosimenko hopes her sporting genes were passed on to son Max, who often tags along to training sessions.
"Like any five-year-old, he has a short attention span," she said.
"Who knows, but I hope he is involved in something sporty.
"He's got the height for it."
She had this advice for young people: "Take every opportunity that comes your way."
"Don't think you can't achieve your dreams because of where you're from.
"The ones who succeed are the ones who embrace every opportunity they get and use it to their advantage."'