Rowing Australia announce Row to the Moon challenge alongside other National Federations

Submitted by admin on Tue, 05/19/2020 - 13:51
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Following the huge success of the recent One Minute Challenge, Rowing Australia, Rowing Canada Aviron, British Rowing and Rowing NZ are today announcing the launch of the Row to the Moon challenge.

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The initiative invites indoor rowers worldwide to log their training metres on a bespoke online platform with the shared goal of accumulating, as one singular community, 384.4 million metres - the distance from Earth to the Moon. 

The motivation behind this challenge comes from the phenomenal uptake of the One Minute Challenge, which ran from 8 to 11 May and was organised in partnership between the four national rowing federations.

The extremely popular joint initiative challenged anyone with a rowing machine at home to see how far they could row in one minute, and saw over 2,300 rowers participate across the four nations, with over 600 participants from Australia.


Alongside the excellent participation, the One Minute Challenge also saw 19 Concept2 World Records and multiple national records unofficially broken, all of which are currently being verified by Concept2, including that of two-time Paralympic silver medallist, Erik Horrie, who broke his own One Minute World Record during the One Minute Challenge. 

The Row to the Moon challenge will run for ten days, starting at 13:00 AWST/15:00 AEST on 21 May and finishing on 31 May, and will give members of the public the opportunity to participate alongside rowers from each nation’s Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls.

Throughout the duration of the global challenge, participants will be asked to upload all of the distance they cover on the rowing machine on a live, real-time web platform, adding sessions as regularly as they like and nominating friends on social media to join them in the challenge.

The web platform is open for pre-registration now, and participants will then be able to begin logging their training metres from 13:00 AWST/15:00 AEST on 21 May.

Building on the momentum of the One Minute Challenge, the four nations are opening the Row to the Moon challenge up to participants globally, with each rower able to log their metres to their specific nation whilst contributing to the global tally.

The Row to the Moon challenge also builds on the inclusive nature of the One Minute Challenge, offering 17 para-rowing categories to which users can upload their progress and contribute towards the combined total.

Speaking ahead of the Row to the Moon challenge, Olympia Aldersey, 2019 World Champion in the Australian Women’s Four said, “It’s awesome that the four nations are combining again for a challenge and this one really is taking it to the next level.

"Australians are proud to have played their part in broadcasting the first pictures of Neil Armstrong, and the crew of Apollo 11, as they walked on the moon back in 1969, so I know we’ll all come together on this challenge to send an erg into space!

"Indoor Rowing really is for everyone, not just elite athletes, so I encourage everyone to take part, no contribution is too little when we’ve 384.4 million metres to complete to get us there!”

Also looking forward to the Row to the Moon challenge is Lauren Rowles MBE, current Paralympic and World Champion in the British PR2 Mixed Double Sculls, said:

“It was awesome to see so many people at home getting involved in the One Minute Challenge.

"There's been a real community spirit through the rowing world during lockdown and it's been great to see us all come together and take on these challenges from our homes. This new challenge gives us another exciting target to work towards as a team and keeps that competitive spirit alive.”

The sentiment was echoed by Canada’s Andrew Todd, two-time PR3 Men’s Pair World Champion (2018 & 2019), who said,

"It's great to see a sense of teamwork and connection amongst various rowing nations to work together towards a common goal during this time of physical and social distancing due to COVID-19.  

"It can be very lonely and difficult for people right now with so much uncertainty and it is really cool to see Canada join forces coast to coast and with other countries around the world to collectively Row to the Moon.

"Indoor rowing is a staple to my training in isolation right now as it seems to be for so many other rowers around the world so it is really special to try and add some special purpose and togetherness to our training."

2019 World Champion in the New Zealand Women’s Eight, Lucy Spoors is back training on the water but excited for the indoor event’s launch,

“The New Zealand women’s sweep squad are relieved to be back training alongside each other at Lake Karapiro, but we have all enjoyed the camaraderie that arose across our sport internationally throughout our respective lockdowns.

"We’re excited to once again take part in an event alongside not only our domestic rowing community, but also our competitors and the international rowing community.’’

Click to register HERE

Rowing Australia

Olympics Unleashed inspiring students in virtual classrooms

Submitted by admin on Tue, 05/19/2020 - 12:06
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Just as Olympians have been separated from teammates, training centres and elite competition due to COVID-19, students across Australia are dealing with being apart from their schoolmates, unable to participate in their normal sport and school environment.

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Athletes are using their experience in overcoming these challenges to help inspire students with Olympics Unleashed, presented by Optus.

Olympics Unleashed, which has seen athletes share their experience face-to-face with more than 120 000 students in over 800 schools since launching in 2018, is now connecting elite athletes with students in the digital classroom – and Olympians’ message of resilience, teamwork and perseverance is more important than ever.

Rio Olympian judokas and brothers Nathan and Josh Katz delivered the first two Olympics Unleashed online sessions in May, with New South Wales’ White Bridge and Blakehurst High Schools.

“It’s rewarding to be able to share with students that even though things have changed, it doesn’t cancel out all of their goals or what they are working towards,” Josh said. 

“While they might have to shift their focus for now, if they keep that dedication and passion towards what they want to achieve, then they can still reach their goals.

“Even though you can have such a clear goal, which for the both of us was the Olympic Games this year, that can change very quickly and you need to be adaptable to the circumstances that come your way,” Nathan added.

With Nathan and Josh completing more than a dozen in-person visits with Unleashed throughout 2019, they have witnessed the changes in students’ approach and focus.

“Students were really interested in understanding how to stay motivated during COVID-19. They wanted to know how to keep engaged when your goalposts have changed or your goals are delayed, which was different to the questions we have received in the past around being motivated to get up so early or train so hard” Josh said.

Nathan felt it was more important than ever to be able to connect with young Australians and share the benefits of an Olympic journey built on overcoming challenges and adapting to changing circumstances.

“Our core messages of overcoming adversity, goal setting and harnessing motivation remain the same, but it has a clearer focus now,” he said. “I think the Olympics Unleashed program is really important at this time because, sometimes all you need is a little bit of motivation. 

“It’s about understanding that while their lives are different, there are ways to adapt, it’s just about figuring out a way to do that and that’s something Olympians can do through Olympics Unleashed that can really help.”

Olympics Unleashed is available in NSW, Queensland, ACT and South Australia. The program is free for schools thanks to support from presenting partner Optus, state governments and the AOC. 

Schools can find out more and register for online visits now. Online visits have commenced in NSW, with Queensland, ACT and South Australia expected to commence in the coming weeks.
 

 

AOC remembers figure skating pioneer, Jacqueline Kendall-Baker

Submitted by admin on Mon, 05/18/2020 - 09:41
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Jacqueline Kendall-Baker (‘Jackie’ nee Mason) was one half of a pair of figure skaters who made history for Australian winter sport, when she and partner Mervyn Bower became the first Australian pairs team to compete at an Olympic Games and a World Championships.

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The duo burst onto the scene in 1950 and won an incredible 12 Australian National titles during their partnership and in 1952, became the first Australian pairs team to compete at a World Championships.

Dividing their training time between Australia and Great Britain, the pair also became the first Australian team to earn the National Skating Association’s gold medal in pairs skating.

In 1956, Kendall-Baker and Bower set sail from Australia to Italy, to make their Olympic debut in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, but their Olympic dreams were shattered within minutes.

In less than five minutes of being on the ice, Bower, who passed away in 2013, crashed into the wooden rim of the ice rink during a back glide and fractured his ankle, forcing the team to withdraw.

Four years of preparation came to a devastating end, but the pair didn’t lose hope and set their sights on the next Olympic Games, Squaw Valley 1960.

They made a triumphant return and earned their rightful place in Olympic history by becoming the first Australian pairs skaters to compete at the Games, where they finished 12th, right behind future two-time Olympic gold medalists Ludmila and Oleg Protopopov.

 

While competing, Kendall-Baker was also training as a judge whose international judging career went on to include the Lake Placid 1980 Olympic Games along with the 1979 World Figure Skating Championships in Vienna.

Jackie was honoured as an ISU Hall of Fame inaugural inductee and a life member of the NSW Skating Association.

She often spoke of the unique challenges of being an Australian skater competing internationally in the fifties and sixties and lamented that the long sea voyages from Australia to Europe were the greatest setbacks, owing to lost training time.

The journey would take weeks by train and sea, with Jackie commenting, “you can’t skate on a ship.”
Chairman of the Olympic Winter Institute of Australia, Geoffrey Henke AO said Jackie Kendall-Baker was an Australian pioneer for winter sport and would leave a lasting legacy. 

“Jackie was one of the pioneers of Australian figure skating alongside her pairs partner, Mervyn Bower who were Australia’s first pairs skaters at an Olympic Games.

“She made history as a competitor and continued making a great contribution to winter sport as an international judge, leaving a lasting legacy.”

She was happily married for many years to husband John and is survived by two of her three children and nine grandchildren. 

At the time of her passing, Jackie Kendall-Baker was 84 years of age.

Partner Response to COVID-19

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Visa

The Visa Foundation committed $200 million to support micro and small business across the globe. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Airbnb

Airbnb is providing frontline health workers with the opportunity to arrange accommodation, so they are able to be close to their patients and safely distanced from their own families.

 

 

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Coca-Cola

The Coca-Cola Company and local bottlers have pledged over $100 million to support local communities, including $40 million from the Coca-Cola Foundation, $14 million of which has gone to Red Cross projects around the world.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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ASICS

ASICS is giving people access to ASICS Studio app, which is usually normally a subscription-based service, people can now access multiple at home sessions for free to help ease you through this challenging time. 

There is a dedicated at home section, bodyweight only, and some great guided mindfulness classes plus a host of other activities that can be done at home. 
  
They have been encouraging their athletes and consumers to download the app, post a workout and tag ASICS using #SoundMindSoundBody so that they can share the posts on their social channels.

DOWNLOAD FROM APP STORE >>>

DOWNLOAD FROM PLAY STORE >>>

 

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YoPro

YoPro is helping people come out of isolation fitter then they went in, with the launch of a free 66-day fitness challenge featuring their Olympic ambassadors and fitness experts.

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JCDecaux

Out-of-home advertising provider, JCDecaux, have been helping the government send important messages informing the public on Covid-19.

 

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Cadbury

To continue to deliver care and support to Australian families, Cadbury has donated $100,000 to the Royal Children’s Hospital Good Friday Appeal to ensure this amazing hospital isn’t impacted by the cancellation of the annual Easter Picnic & Egg Hunt fundraiser. Cadbury also donated over 1.6 million Easter eggs to hospitals, paramedics, aged care homes and those in quarantine across the country, as well as a range of food products to Foodbank and SecondBite to help Aussie families doing it tough at this difficult time.

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Optus

Optus is playing a critical role in keeping Australians connected, understanding that now, more than ever, everyone is counting on their ability to access the world through their home and mobile connectivity.

While many organisations are temporarily reducing their workforce, Optus has been hiring more staff to support its customers. Over 2000 people have been onboarded into service roles, 500 of which are people who have been laid off or temporarily stood down by other companies. This includes 45 Virgin Australia Cabin Crew members who have been brought on to provide call centre support. Optus has also upskilled 1300 retail staff so that they can support customers in new, relevant ways such as through online messaging support.

To help keep customers connected to friends and family, to school and to work, Optus is offering unlimited data allowances for eligible Optus Home Broadband customers on limited data plans (excluding 4G or 5G Broadband plans) until June 30th, 2020. To learn more, visit Optus’ Help and Support page.

Optus is also lending a hand to customers in financial hardship, including small businesses, that continue to find themselves in difficult financial circumstances due to COVID-19. Customers who are unable to pay their Optus bills may be eligible to request a financial hardship plan, tailored to individual needs, to give them the peace of mind they need at this difficult time. Eligibility details and information on how to access financial hardship support are set out here.

This helpful letter template, inserted into major newspapers across the country, further encouraged everyday Australians to lend others a helping hand and to keep in touch with each other.

 

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Qantas

Qantas is continuing to support Australia, with their freight service delivering vital goods to and from Australia.

 

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Swisse

Swisse wants to ensure everyone is happy and heathy during their unprecedented times, they have donated 10,000 products of Immune Probiotics and Vitamic C & Manuka through Frontliners Australia to hospital staff.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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H&H Group’s brand Biostime have donated Instant Milk Formula to families in need through Foodbank Australia.

When Covid-19 broke out in China, the H&H Group donated cash and products including Biostime probiotics and protective gear for frontline medical workers to the Chinese Red Cross, to be distributed to Wuhan and broader Hubei province residents.

They have also supported Italian doctors, nurses and patients through donations of Swisse products, sourced 150,000 masks and donated cash to the Italian Red Cross.


 

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Woolworths

Woolworths is offing Australians who have lost their jobs with the opportunity to work for them, with 20,000 new roles becoming available across Australia.

Woolworths Group remains committed to supporting communities with a number of initiatives rolled out to help those impacted by the health crisis including:

  • On 17 March, Woolworths was the first supermarket nationally to introduce a community shopping hour for the elderly and people with disability. Healthcare and Emergency Service workers were also included in the community hour later in the month
  • Partnering with Meals on Wheels and their network of volunteers to help deliver 80,000 packs (320,000 rolls) of toilet paper directly to their vulnerable clients across Australia
  • More than $4.5 million provided to date to hunger relief partners OzHarvest, Foodbank and Fareshare by way of financial contributions, direct food donations, transportation and labour cost support. An additional $5 million has been committed to support these partners over the coming months
  • $1.5 million donated to children’s health and wellbeing charity partners to support their ongoing work due to the COVID-19 related downturn in the charity sector and cancellation of their key fundraising efforts
  • Supporting small suppliers through temporary changes to our payment policy so eligible suppliers are paid within 14 days for their goods and services
  • Rental relief support to help retail tenants and small businesses in Woolworths Group owned shopping centres impacted by temporary store closures or downturn in business during COVID-19
  • 6,000 Woolworths Basic Boxes donated to organisations including Arnhem Land Progress Aboriginal Corporation, Outback Stores and NSWALC Indigenous communities

Crystal Globe Champions Scotty James & Laura Peel named joint Olympic athletes of the Year in Snow Australia Awards

Submitted by admin on Fri, 05/15/2020 - 09:28
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Crystal Globes winners, snowboarder Scotty James and aerial skier Laura Peel, were today named the joint winners of the Olympic Athlete of the Year title for the 2020 Snow Australia Awards.

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After an outstanding Northern winter that saw them both finish the season ranked number one in the World, the pair once again have been named joint winners of the award, previously sharing the title in 2015. 


Triple Olympian James now becomes the first person in history of the Snow Australia Awards to win the Athlete of the Year Award four times.
 
It was an extraordinary season for both athletes, with dual Olympian Peel claiming her career first Crystal Globe, and James becoming the overall season champion for the third time.
 
Peel finished the season with two gold, one silver and one bronze medal, in her first year jumping triple back somersaults.
 
The 30-year-old Canberra local said that this season far exceeded the expectations she had set for herself before it commenced. 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

No matter what your goals are in life, if they’re big enough you’re pretty much guaranteed a setback or two, or 50. Sometimes they’re just a bit of a pain in the ass, and other times they threaten to derail everything you’ve worked for. I’ve been met with some obstacles throughout my career that have left me feeling totally hopeless and helpless, but power lies in your response to these setbacks, rather than trying to avoid them totally. So, when it feels like the universe is trying to gobble up your dreams ☀️ Feel your feelings. Let’s face it, feeling feelings can hurt, but from my experience it’s the only road to acceptance. Let it all out so you can leave it all behind! ☀️ Reflect. What could I have done differently? Taking time out to reflect gives us the greatest opportunity to learn from our past, and take those lessons into the future. ☀️ Remap your course. The path may have changed, but the destination doesn’t have to! There are many roads to success, and you have to create yours as you go. ☀️ Short term goals. Looking too far into the future can be overwhelming and paralysing. Create short term goals that step by step will bring you closer to your ultimate goal!

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“It was a great season - was pretty magic for me,” Peel said.
 
“I went in doing triples and completing triples for the first time - so the goal wasn’t to win the Crystal Globe, it was to gain some experience doing triples.
 
“But that (winning the Crystal Globe) has been a dream of mine pretty much since I started the sport so this was a really amazing season,” she said.
 
James successfully defended his X-Games titles and won the Dew Tour event in Copper Mountain. He qualified first in every World Cup event, before going on to finish the season with three golds and one silver World Cup medals. 
 
James echoed Peel’s sentiments, adding that he feels extremely honoured to be named Athlete of the Year amongst some great talent in his fellow finalists.
 
“It’s getting harder every year to win this award, so each year brings a different excitement,” James said.
 
“I’m very happy to be the winner of this award, alongside Laura again. She’s been amazing and I’ve been watching from afar. As winter athletes we don’t get to be together that often so it’s been good to watch and support each other from afar.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Thanks China 😁🇨🇳🥊

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Snow Australia Chief Executive Officer Michael Kennedy said he couldn’t think of two more deserving winners for the title of Athlete of the Year (Olympic Disciplines) than Scotty and Laura.
 
“Scotty and Laura had fantastic seasons. They are both pushing themselves and their sport to the next level,” Kennedy said.
 
“Scotty’s consistent results made him unstoppable this season and it’s great to see him once again be crowned our Athlete of the Year,” he said.
 
“As for Laura, she now joins Aerials royalty in becoming World Cup Champion joining the greats of our sport in Kirstie Marshall, Jacqui Cooper, Alisa Camplin and Lydia Lassila in that honour. 
 
The Athlete of the Year award caps off what has been a fantastic celebration of Australia’s snowsports athletes as part of the 2020 Snow Australia Awards online.
 
For a full list of Award winners - CLICK HERE

Snow Australia

Royal Australian Mint launches Australian Coin Sport Challenge

Submitted by admin on Tue, 05/12/2020 - 09:45
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Today, the Royal Australian Mint (the Mint) launched Australia’s Coin Sport Challenge — a fun and family-friendly challenge for all the Australians that continue to be stuck at home or who are missing sport in these COVID-19 times.

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The Mint has a long-standing tradition of marking and celebrating our nation’s greatest sporting achievements said Mint CEO, Ross MacDiarmid.

“Sport is an integral part of Australian culture so we hope that Australians will reach for their spare change, bring some friendly competition and participate in Australia’s Coin Sport Challenge with family and friends” Mr. McDiarmid said.

Australia’s Coin Sport Challenge is a digital initiative that taps into our nation’s affiliation and love of sport.

To take part in the challenge Australians are being asked to grab a few coins, organise their friends and/or family and play a variety of ‘coin sports including coin rugby, coin hockey, coin volleyball, coin basketball and coin cricket. 

The Mint will reward ‘Challengers’ who record their ‘Coin Sport Challenge’ match from home and share it to the Mint’s Facebook page with weekly prizes. Winners will receive limited-edition collector coins celebrating the Australian Olympic Team.

 

The Mint is the producer of the official coin products for the Australian Olympic Team competing in next year’s Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

For more information on the Olympic team coin program visit the Mint’s website.

Australian Olympic Team ambassador for the Royal Australian Mint – Olympian Taliqua Clancy said she hopes this initiative will encourage Australians to band together behind the Australian Teams as they prepare for the Tokyo Games in 2021.



 

“We are hoping this coin sport challenge will generate excitement and anticipation for the upcoming Olympic Games and get people engaging with sport again.”

To take part in Australia’s Coin Sport Challenge and for terms and conditions visit the Mint’s website. Australia’s Coin Sport Challenge starts 12 May and ends on 19 June 2020.

Jessica Stenson: The new mum chasing her third Olympic Games

Submitted by admin on Sun, 05/10/2020 - 07:05
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After giving birth to her first child, Billy, six months ago, marathon runner Jessica Stenson (nee Trengove) is one of a growing number of elite athlete mums proving they can do it all, and with the postponement of Tokyo 2020, her third Olympic Games is now in reach.

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In November 2019, the dual Commonwealth Games bronze medallist prepared for a marathon of a different kind -  motherhood.


Stenson delivered Billy via cesarean section on November 2, 2019, and although many babies are delivered via this method, it is still considered major abdominal surgery.

“The doctors told me afterward that they’d cut through seven layers, so when you think about it, it is quite invasive," the 32-year-old said.

“The recovery is a long process and can be quite painful, but it was a really positive, beautiful experience for me, and I’ve recovered well."

A physiotherapist by trade, Stenson drew on both her workplace education and her athlete's mindset for the road that was ahead. 

“I definitely used my marathon mental strategies to get through it and I had to focus a lot on finding my stability and strength," she said.


"I had to work really hard on my core and pelvis because initially, they were the areas I felt most vulnerable in.

“I’d never felt so weak just trying to sit up or roll over in bed and sneezing and laughing was so painful for about three weeks after giving birth."

Putting her son and family first in all her decisions, thoughts of Tokyo 2020 were temporarily put on the backburner.

“I definitely wasn’t going to compromise Billy’s health or happiness by getting back into sport, so I didn’t have any goals set in stone, but I was open to the idea of trying to qualify for Tokyo,” the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympian said.

“My husband Dylan and I managed to pick up an elliptical set for me and a little swing rocker for Billy, so while I was doing a cross-training session, Billy would be rocking in his swing.

 

Having that little home gym was fantastic because it meant I could do some abdominal stability work and also continue on with the cardio I’d been doing throughout my pregnancy.”

Five weeks after the birth, Stenson gradually transitioned back into jogging and then running. 

Being able to run again reignited the fire in her belly to chase her next Olympic Games and she set herself a goal to compete in the 42 km Hamburg Marathon in April 2020 - to attempt to post an Olympic qualifying time of 2.29.30 or better.

“In February, I got to the point where I was able to start doing some sessions again and did a little three-kilometre race on the track and that stimulus just took my training to the next level,” she said. 

“I started to get really excited about the prospect of running a marathon again and that’s when I locked in Hamburg and became really focused on that goal.”
 

Like many global sporting events, the Hamburg Marathon was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which meant that Stenson had to find alternative ways to secure her place on the Tokyo 2020 Team.

“The marathon was postponed so I needed to start looking around for domestic races that I could utilise as an Olympic qualifying opportunity,” she explained.

“But soon after, all the domestic races were cancelled and that left me in an awkward position because at that stage, the Olympics were still going ahead in 2020 but there were no marathon races within the qualifying window.

“I had to let go of my dream of competing at Tokyo.”

Two weeks later, when it was announced the Games would be postponed to 2021, Stenson realised she didn’t have to give up on her Tokyo dream after all.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Trying to stay as positive & as calm as possible during this challenging time for the world. Here are some strategies that have helped me: Smiling & saying hello to people when I’m out for a walk/run 🙂 • Acknowledging what I’m grateful for every day 💙 • Enjoying lots of Billy cuddles 👶🏼 • Staying informed with health recommendations & being diligent when following them 🧼 • Setting myself daily & weekly goals to focus on ~ whether they’re related to home projects, work or training, short-term goals help me to find opportunities & feel progress 😃 • Staying active and enjoying some fresh air every day 🍃 • Making an extra effort to eat nutritious meals & establish good sleeping habits 😴 • Checking in with loved ones/friends📱👩‍❤️‍👩 Feel free to add any extra suggestions below. We’re all in this together. Xo 📷 @dylanstenson

A post shared by Jessica Stenson (née Trengove) (@jess_tren) on

 

"Within a fortnight of me coming to terms with missing out on Tokyo, it was announced that the Olympics would be postponed.

"That came as a relief for me, as it gave me an extra year to try and qualify," she said.

Stenson says that one of the best parts of being an athlete mum is the new Olympic and athlete parenting community she has around her.

“I remember Anna Meares and Sally Pearson announced their pregnancies towards the end of mine and even talking about it now, I still get goosebumps all over,” she said.

“We’ve all been communicating and there’s this new level of respect and understanding.

“The day that I gave birth to Billy, Steve Hooker messaged me congratulations and told me that they’d just had their son, Jackson the same day.

 

"Victoria Mitchell had a little girl the day before us and Matthew Dellavedova, Libby Trickett and Eloise Wellings all had babies in the same week," she said.

“There were five or six Olympians all within a week of each other and that just made the experience so cool because it created this special little community where we are all going through the same phases together.”

Stenson says the biggest change over the last few years is that women no longer need to choose between being an athlete or being a mum.

“I feel grateful that I was pregnant and an athlete in this era because even five or even two years ago it might have looked very different.

“A lot has happened in the last couple of years for women in sport and women in business around pregnancy and I think it prompted organizations like Athletics Australia to re-evaluate their policies," she explained.


“Previously I don't think many women would have thought they could continue their sporting careers after having children, but increasingly now with endurance sports becoming more dominant for women, there are lots of females wanting to incorporate motherhood into their careers.

“Women were only able to run marathons at the Olympics from 1984 onwards, so it’s taken us another couple of decades to get to where we are now, and Australia has such incredible depth and quality.

“We’re seeing women who have a couple of children and are into their 40’s still competing at a high level.
 “People are starting to see how strong mums can be, both physically and mentally,” Stenson said.

“There are the physiological changes that occur throughout pregnancy and motherhood but more so, your whole perspective on life changes, the way you view sport and its role in your life changes and taking the pressure off can be positive, in a way.


Stenson said she received overwhelming support from both her federation and her sponsors.

"ASICS were fantastic, they congratulated me and said they'd love to support me in my new goal even though the process looked a bit different," she said.

"Athletics Australia and the sports institute provided support and access to the gym, exercise physiology and nutrition services which was great."

 A role model for women and mums herself, Trengove says the mum she most admires is her own, Deb, along with her sister, Abbie.
 

 

“My mum is the most loving person you could imagine, she’s been there for me through it all, just whole-heartedly supporting me and allowing me to be who I want to be and helping me to make that happen,” she shared.

"My sister Abbie is also a mum and a nurse.

"She was there for the c-section and to bring Billy into the world and shes supported me so much throughout both my pregnancy and motherhood experience which I've appreciated so much.

“Both mum and dad have always helped my two siblings and me to make the most of every opportunity and to evolve and let our own individual personalities flourish.

“Mum’s very driven and has always been a go-getter and I really admire the way she loves doing things for other people. 

“Family is her number one and I really hope that I can enable Billy to feel as loved as I’ve always felt.”

Liana Buratti

Anna Meares: Claiming the one title that trumped them all - 'Mum.'

Submitted by admin on Sat, 05/09/2020 - 13:00
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Gold medallist Anna Meares of Australia celebrates during the medal ceremony for the Women's Sprint Track Cycling Final on Day 11 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Velodrome on August 7, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
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A track cyclist with six Olympic medals to her name and a history-making comeback story, Anna Meares is one of Australia’s most beloved sporting heroes.

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She boasts the titles of dual Olympic Champion, 11-time World Champion and five-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist, but she never thought she would claim the title ‘mum,’ until the recent birth of her daughter, Evelyn.


The Rio 2016 Australian Flag Bearer retired in 2017 as Australia’s first Olympian to have medalled at four Olympic Games. At the time, Meares was 32 and recently divorced, but being a mum had been a lifelong dream of hers. 

“One of my first coaches, Marv [Martin Barras] would always joke that I had my kid’s names already on the doors,” she said.

“I’d always wanted to experience being a mum, but eventually like anything in life, with time and age, I thought that door had closed.”

Believing she wouldn’t be able to have a child of her own, she channelled her maternal longings into foster care.

“I figured that I’d just be a single person forever, with a big block of land who would take in foster kids and rescue beagles,” Meares laughed.

In 2017, she reconnected with her now partner, Nick Flyger, who took over the role of the National Senior Track Sprint Cycling Coach after the death of Meares’ much-loved coach, Garry West.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Me and my coach GW #greatman #greatcoach #thankyou

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Flyger supported Meares through her grief, and the two formed a friendship that blossomed into romance. Flyger encouraged Meares to find her passion outside of sport and that’s when the idea of fostering children was born.

“One thing Nick and I would talk about a lot when we first started seeing each other was around me trying to find my place of contentment in life after sport,” Meares explained.

“There were a lot of coulds, shoulds and woulds but he simply said to me ‘don’t do what you think everyone wants you to do, do what is going to feed your soul,’ and it took me a while to figure it out.

“Kids and family were a big one for me, but adoption wasn’t an option at the time and even today is really difficult in this country.

A friend of mine steered me towards a foster care information session and I saw that as an opportunity to positively impact a child’s life and also, to fulfill that maternal side of myself,” she shared.

Meares registered to become a foster carer and cared for children between the ages of four and eight years old, then in September of 2019 Meares and Flyger announced she was pregnant with their first child.


“When I first thought I was pregnant, I didn’t actually say anything to Nick. I just kept it in the back of my mind,” Meares said.

“I’d always imagined what that moment would be like when you see that ‘positive’ test.

“I’d assumed that I’d be an emotional wreck but I was just so elated and so happy, but at the same time wasn’t able to comprehend the reality of it, even though it’s what I’d always wanted,” she shared.

“It’s kind of like, you always dream of winning an Olympic gold medal, but no one tells you what it feels like when you actually do, and so I had this dream that I wanted [of becoming a mum] and I wasn’t sure if I’d achieve it, but the moment it became a reality, I almost didn’t know what to do.”

Thirty-six-year-old Meares and her partner Nick Flyger welcomed baby Evelyn Bette Meares Flyger into the world on February 2, 2020.

Meares shared her joy on social media calling the birth of her first child, “Better than any medal or title I have ever won. The day that I became a mum.”

Resilience and success against all odds are qualities Meares has been known for throughout her decorated career.

At Athens 2004, she became Australia’s first ever female Olympic gold medallist in track cycling, winning the 500m Time Trial. But in 2007, just seven months out from her second Olympic Games, she sustained a horrific injury while racing in Los Angeles.


Meares broke her neck and left hospital in a neck brace and a wheelchair. Even her father Tony said he didn’t give her ‘a hope in Hades’ of making it to Beijing 2008.

“Before I hit the track, all that was going through my head was, ‘Marv is going to be so angry,’” Meares recalled.

“That was one discussion we had right before the race, that the Games were only seven months away and the last thing we needed were any injuries, but then I hit the track and was knocked out. When I woke up, I was just gutted,” she said.

“I was so focused on Beijing and qualification, that was my whole reason for being in LA in the first place and I was scared because I didn’t know what a broken neck meant, I didn’t know the ramifications so your mind just races.

“Once I got the information that I’d broken my C2 and I’d need 10 weeks in a brace and a wheelchair, I was devastated because I thought my Beijing dream had gone out the window,” she continued.

She was later informed that if the break had been just 2mm longer, she could have ended up a quadriplegic or the crash could have been fatal.

“The C2 level where I fractured is where all the lung attachments go through, so I was two millimetres from, at best case scenario, requiring a respirator for the rest of my life and being paralysed, or worst case scenario, dead,” Meares said.

Knowing she was so close to a different outcome changed Meares’s perspective on life.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Love this. Thanks @santinisms #santini

A post shared by Anna Meares (@annameares) on


“That experience taught me that the way you look at a situation changes the potential path you go down,” she explained.

“I learned that you can think in the context of ‘what if,’ which is driven by emotion, fear and doubt or ‘what is’ which is driven by reality and tangible information.

“The fear side of it was, ‘what if I did break it that extra two millimetres?’ But the reality was, that two millimetres saved my life.”

This realisation caused Meares’s ‘never say die’ mentality to kick in, full throttle.

“I did the math and said, ‘well, 10 weeks of recovery and seven months to get to the start line… I’ve got four and a half months once this brace comes off to get to Beijing’.”

Against all odds, the resilient Queenslander not only made it to Beijing 2008, she won a silver medal in the Sprint before going on to claim Sprint gold and Team Sprint bronze at London 2012.

Meares also won Keirin bronze at her final Games, after leading the Australian Team as Flag Bearer at Rio 2016.

 

“It wasn’t easy, and the trouble is, physical injuries always come with emotional and mental injuries,” she explained.

“The rollercoaster was always up and down… ‘I can do it, I can’t do it,’ multiple times a day, but I’m pretty stubborn when I want something.

“My sports psych always says that I’m persistent, which is probably a better way to describe it.”

But Meares says the trials and tribulations she endured throughout her life and career revealed who she truly is and has helped shape her into the mother she is today.

“One thing I’ve learned about myself is that I’m more capable than I even realised,” she shared.

“I’ve learned that I can’t always do it on my own, and to be able to ask for help and swallow my pride and ego in that sense. 

“Life isn’t always going to be perfect, it’s not always about winning and succeeding, and when you have those dark moments that you have to trudge through, you need to be open to help.

“I’ve been very lucky to have a great family, friends and manager who have always been there in my corner, but as humans we’re always harsh and judgemental when it comes to critiquing ourselves.

“I hope that I will be able to teach my daughter the importance of empathy for both herself and others as she grows.


“I think because I’ve had such a full experience of life so far, I have the ability to be able to sit in the position of being Ev’s mum and give her the time that she needs.

“I just want to give her a lot of opportunity to express herself, to find her passion and follow a path that speaks to her… Not to me, not to her dad or anyone else, just to her and I think that will allow her to want to work hard and dedicate herself.”

As for the legacy Anna Meares wants to leave on a wider scale, her answer is simple.

“I’ve always said, just to be remembered at all would be nice, because that means I’ve done enough to connect with people enough to stay in their psyches,” she said.

“I hope to be remembered as a fighter, someone who worked hard but was real.”

You can read all about Anna's journey in her new book, 'Now'. Order online HERE

Liana Buratti

AOC Annual General Meeting 2020 held online

Submitted by admin on Sat, 05/09/2020 - 11:37
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The AOC has held its Annual General Meeting in Sydney today, marking 100 years since its inception. The meeting was held online for the first time, due to the impact of COVID-19.

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In noting the Centenary milestone (which fell on 29 April) AOC President John Coates observed that Australia is one of only two countries, along with Greece, that has competed at every modern Olympic Games.

Additionally, Australia is one of only five countries which has hosted the Summer Olympic Games twice.

The meeting commenced with an Acknowledgment of Country from three-time Olympic basketballer and proud Indigenous Olympian Patrick Mills, recorded in the United States.

In his speech to the Meeting, conducted via video conference, Mr Coates noted the challenges faced by the Olympic movement in adjusting to the reality of the coronavirus pandemic, but he had this advice for athletes who are now focused on their preparations of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games to be held in 2021.

“To all of you, I offer this observation. As impossibly high as the Olympic mountain always is – this pandemic makes it even higher. You are the generation chosen by time and fate to summit a new peak.

“But the longer and harder the road is, the greater the moment of arrival.

“I believe the Tokyo Olympics may ultimately be amongst the greatest Games ever, if not the greatest.”

Mr Coates also noted the strong financial performance of the AOC and the Australian Olympic Foundation.

The AOC recorded an operating surplus of $5.437 million before a settlement of that amount to the Foundation.

Net assets of the Foundation increased from $150.8 million in December 2018 to $171.4 million in December 2019.

In the 2020 First Quarter Report of the AOF, as a consequence of the impact of COVID-19, the Foundation’s net asset value returned to $150.8 million at 31 March 2020 after distributing $1.562 million to the AOC.

The 12% decrease compared with a 24% decrease in the ASX 200 accumulation index for the quarter.

The Meeting also passed three amendments to the AOC Constitution:

  • To create a role of Honorary Life President as a member of the Committee without voting power.
  • To provide clarification around powers related to the gifting of assets from the AOC to the AOF.
  • To include a provision for electronic voting at General Meetings.

Mr Coates also noted efforts by the AOC in conjunction with the Commonwealth Games Association and Paralympics Australia to work with the Federal Government to provide financial certainty for sports, using the power of sport to reconnect and motivate the Australian community and securing Australia’s international sporting competitiveness.

He also emphasised the AOC’s commitment to securing the 2032 Olympic Games in Queensland in conjunction with the Federal, State and Local governments. The candidature is currently in the “Continuous Dialogue” phase.

Mr Coates concluded his speech with a note of optimism, thanking the family of Olympic sports for their support during the difficult time of the pandemic crisis.

Geoff Lipshut Appointed Chef de Mission for Beijing Winter Games in 2022

Submitted by admin on Fri, 05/08/2020 - 12:12
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The AOC has appointed Geoff Lipshut as Chef de Mission for the Australian Olympic Team to compete at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games.

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The AOC Executive today approved Mr Lipshut’s appointment to lead the Australian Team for the first time. However, he’s no stranger to the Winter Olympics, having been a coach or official at seven Games, starting with Lillehammer in 1994.

He succeeds Ian Chesterman who will lead the Australian Team to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games to be held in 2021.

AOC President John Coates says there’s no better qualified person to take up the reigns given his long association with Australia’s winter athletes and the Winter Games environment.

“Australia continues to take great strides in the Winter Games and Geoff can take considerable credit for that progress. Not only for his role at past Games but also in his capacity as the inaugural CEO of the Olympic Winter Institute of Australia.

“He has been recognised by the IOC, been a member of the Australian Winter Team Executive as performance director since Vancouver 2010 and subsequently Deputy Chef de Mission for Sochi 2014 and PyeongChang in 2018. Geoff was also awarded an AOC Order of Merit in 2018.”

Geoff Lipshut acknowledged the work of his predecessors and the athletes who continue to excel in the winter environment.

“It is an honour to follow in the footsteps of two generational leaders Geoff Henke AO and Ian Chesterman AM who have shaped winter sports in Australia over the past 12 Olympic Games.

“I look forward to the opportunity of working together with our winter athletes, their coaches and National Federations on the journey towards Beijing in February 2022.

“I am confident that our athletes will be doing their best to meet the challenges over the next 22 months to be ready for the Games in China.”

AOC Vice President Ian Chesterman, who has led the Australian Team to the past six Winter Olympic Games, welcomed Geoff’s appointment.

“His impact on winter sport in this country, through his pioneering role with aerial skiing and his role as CEO of the Olympic Winter Institute, has been immense.

“Geoff's leadership of our winter sports high performance program, which has now produced many world and Olympic champions is recognised globally.

“He has a great passion to help our athletes and will build a strong team around him for Beijing 2022.”

Australia has won 15 medals at Winter Olympic Games – five gold, five silver and five bronze -starting with a bonze in Lillehammer in 1994. Most recently, Australians picked up two silver and a bronze in PyeongChang in 2018 – all three medals picked up by first-time medallists.