Olympics Unleashed, presented by Optus, celebrated its 500th Queensland school today, with Olympic swimmer David McKeon inspiring 300 students at Graceville State School in Brisbane.
More than 76 000 Queensland students from Coolangatta to Cape York have had Olympians, Paralympians and athletes aspiring for Tokyo 2020 visit their classroom to motivate them to find their passion and unleash their potential.
AOC CEO Matt Carroll said the success of the program highlights the impact Olympians and the power of sport can have in the community.
“Today’s milestone means 76 000 students who have been face to face with elite athletes in their classroom, inspiring them to find their passion, build resilience and chase their goals,” Mr Carroll said.
“Olympians have inspiring stories that go beyond sport, and teachers have told us having an Olympian face to face in the classroom is a powerful way to engage students about what you can achieve when you have a goal and work towards it.
“This message is helping young Australians to be the best they can– whether that’s in the classroom, the playground, the sporting field or at home.
“The AOC thanks the Queensland Government, Minister de Brenni, and the Queensland Academy of Sport for their foresight and, support making it possible to use the Olympic spirit to inspire young Queenslanders throughout the state. Our Olympic partner, Optus, has also invested in the program and the athletes to enhance the experience.
David McKeon, a Rio 2016 and London 2012 Olympic swimmer, is one of more than 100 athletes trained to deliver Unleashed across Queensland.
“I’ve loved the opportunity to come face to face with so many students around Queensland and help inspire them with my Olympic story,” McKeon said.
“I want students to come away knowing that you shouldn’t lose heart or motivation if you’re not the best at something straight away or if you don’t have that one passion early on.
“I didn’t start swimming seriously until I was 17 and have found my passion and some success, even though that’s a really late start for most swimmers.
“A lot of kids can think that if they’re not great at something straight away that it’s not going to get better for them. I want my story to help show that trying a whole range of interests – whether it’s different sports, school subjects and hobbies, and not worrying if you’re not the best early on, can help them discover a passion and success they may never thought possible.
“It’s crazy to think that if we’re lucky enough to host an Olympics in Queensland in 2032, the students we’re talking to now will be old enough to be competing at a home Games.
“I’m so grateful for the opportunity of Olympics Unleashed. I’ve got the chance to visit schools from the Gold Coast to Torres Strait and it’s something I don’t take for granted – the reaction from the kids, the smiles, laughs and how interested they are learning from our stories makes it a really humbling experience.”
Queensland Minister for Sport Mick de Brenni said the program is creating a buzz around sport, with the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games just around the corner.
“The program will run through until the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, by which time we are expecting athletes to have visited 150,000 students in 900 schools,” he said.
“An additional 100 Queensland schools have already registered for a visit, so we encourage more schools to get on board this fantastic program.
“Olympics Unleashed is a great program to get kids excited about sport, and a fun starting-gun to get them to live a more active lifestyle.”
“We are delighted to see that the Olympics Unleashed program has reached its 500th visit in Queensland,” Optus MD Marketing and Revenue Matt Williams said.
“There is no doubt we are looking forward to seeing our Australian athletes compete on the world stage at Tokyo 2020, but we’re equally as excited to see the Olympics Unleashed program inspire the next generation and change the future they see.”
Olympics Unleashed in Queensland is a $1.34 million joint program with the Queensland Government, Australian Olympic Committee and presenting partner Optus.
The program is free for schools and aimed at years 4-6. Schools can find out more and register for the program now at www.olympicsunleashed.com.au, with visits continuing in 2020.