The Australian Olympic Committee’s (AOC) Olympics Unleashed program, presented by Optus, has moved into the digital classroom, with more than 70 New South Wales schools signing-up to connect students with Olympians sharing lessons in resilience and goal-setting.
This afternoon dual sport Olympian Alex Croak, who represented Australia at the Olympics in both gymnastics (Sydney 2000) and diving (Beijing 2008), shared her experience with more than 400 students at Pymble Ladies’ College in Sydney.
Olympics Unleashed has seen 120,000 students in over 800 around Australia receive face to face talks from Olympians and athletes aspiring for Tokyo 2020 on how to overcome adversity and adapt to new challenges.
More than 1000 students from 16 schools across New South Wales, from Sydney to Condobolin and Barham have connected with athletes since Unleashed moved online in mid-May, commencing at Newcastle’s Whitebridge High School.
AOC CEO Matt Carroll said Olympians’ message of resilience, teamwork and perseverance is more important than ever.
“The COVID-19 crisis is affecting everyone, from athletes whose Olympic dreams for Tokyo have been postponed until 2021, to students facing the challenge of adapting to learning during the pandemic,” Mr Carroll said.
“Olympians have inspiring stories that go beyond sport - stories of overcoming challenges, adapting to circumstances beyond your control and getting back up after being knocked down.
“The great take-up we’ve seen from schools in just two weeks of Olympics Unleashed going online in New South Wales shows the enthusiasm for this message right now.
“Thanks to the support of Optus and governments in Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia and the ACT we can connect Olympians with students through Olympics Unleashed, making a real difference for these young people at a decisive time,” Mr Carroll said.
More than 34 000 students from 280 schools in New South Wales have already come face to face with athletes through Olympics Unleashed before COVID-19.
Local State Member of Parliament for Ku-ring-gai, Alister Henskens SC MP said, “It was a privilege for the PLC students this afternoon to have the opportunity to hear from an exceptional Australian athlete like Alex, who has represented Australia in two different Olympic Sports.”
“I endorse this program which is financially supported by the NSW Government”.
Just as Olympians have been separated from teammates, training centres and elite competition due to COVID-19, students across Australia are adapting to getting back to school after being apart from their classmates learning from home.
Alex Croak says Olympians enjoy giving back to the community and today’s students had plenty of questions after navigating their way through the pandemic experience.
“It’s great to be able to share with students some things I learned from my Olympic experiences,” said Ms Croak.
“I try to encourage students to accept that not everything will always go to plan – but how you adapt and react to what you might see as a negative experience can actually deliver a positive outcome.
“Building resilience out of a bumpy experience will help you in so many ways throughout your life. The biggest lessons I learned in my Olympic career were out of failures, not the successes.”
Optus Managing Director Marketing and Revenue Matt Williams said transitioning to online visits allowed the Olympics Unleashed messages to continue to inspire students at an important time.
“We are delighted to see Olympics Unleashed go online, as it is imperative these types of role models are visible to Australian school kids,” Mr Williams said.
“There is no doubt we are looking forward to seeing our Australian athletes compete on the world stage at the Tokyo Olympics, but we’re equally as excited to see the Olympics Unleashed inspire the next generation and change the future they see.”
Olympics Unleashed is available online in NSW, with online visits rolling out in coming weeks in Queensland, ACT and South Australia. The program is free for schools thanks to support from presenting partner Optus, state governments and the AOC and available for schools right across each state and territory.
Schools can find out more and register for online visits now.