If anyone knows about picking yourself back up when you’ve been knocked down, it’s Brad Hore. When he took up boxing as a young kid, he lost every single one of his first ten fights, but that didn’t deter him, at 17-years-old Hore became one Australia’s 52 Indigenous Olympians.
Hore has always been candid with his battles both in and out of the ring and is a strong advocate for mental health which he shared with the 120 students of Western Cape College.
“Being able to share my story with these kids is so rewarding,” Hore said.
“So many athletes have such great stories but not everyone knows or hears of the hard times. Letting these kids know that being an athlete isn’t always ‘happy days’ is so important in helping them to relate,” he continued.
“Everyone has good days and bad days but it’s about being mentally strong and not being afraid to reach out and ask for help.”
By sharing his story of resilience, Hore hopes that they won’t see failure as an end, but as part of their growth.
“When I started boxing as a 10-year-old, I lost my first ten fights and I explained to the kids that it’s okay to lose - it’s not all about winning everything. I wanted them to know that their failures did not define them, it’s their ability to get back up and keep trying that shapes who they are,” he said.
“It’s the same in any area of life, whether it be getting a bad grade or not winning in competition, the most important thing is to do your best and not give up.”
Hore also explained his struggle with depression and how he was able to pick himself back up with the support of those around him.
“I touched on my depression through sport and explained that it's not normal to feel sad every day. The students asked some really great questions like what you need to do to overcome the sadness you feel when people knock you back and or don’t believe in you,” he said.
“I told them that I had my little group of support which is my family, my coaches and a couple of friends who all believed in me, so I had to believe in myself to get where I wanted to and the people who told me I couldn't do it – they were my motivation.
“I wanted to encourage these kids to believe in themselves and not let anyone stop them from dreaming big. If they want to be an Olympian or a doctor, what’s stopping them?” he said.
“I actually had two young girls come and talk to me, who both just love football. They said they wanted to play professionally, and I said, what is stopping you?
“The girls said, “Oh just boys telling us that we shouldn't be playing” I told them women's sport these days is just as big as men’s sport and the girls were really excited to hear that if they wanted a future as a professional sportswoman, there was nothing to stop them.”
Hore said that doing these presentations is just as rewarding for him, as it is for the students.
“Being able to give back is the best part about Olympics Unleashed – especially being able to talk to all different kinds of kids.
“There were a lot of Indigenous students in Weipa and one of the highlights for me was being able to talk to them, along with two deaf students who I was able to show videos to and engage with, which they really enjoyed,” he said.
“I feel so proud to be able to do what I’m doing and if just one kid gets something positive out of it, then I’ve done my job.”
Olympics Unleashed is free for schools, and takes Olympians and athletes aspiring for Tokyo 2020 into schools to unlock students’ passion and help inspire goal setting, overcoming challenges and developing resilience.
You can find more information and register your school at www.olympicsunleashed.com.au.
Olympics Unleashed is only possible through the great support of State Governments and presenting partner Optus.