Olympics Unleashed, presented by Optus, has won the 7 News Community Spirit Award at the 2019 New South Wales Institute of Sport Awards in Sydney overnight.
The program, which takes Olympians and athletes aspiring for Tokyo 2020 and beyond into schools across the country to motivate them to find their passion and unleash their potential, was rewarded for the positive impact athletes are making across the state.
Olympics Unleashed has already taken elite athletes into the Year 9 classrooms of more than 22 000 students from 180 schools across New South Wales to inspire them to overcome challenges, build resilience and chase their goals.
WINNER of the @7NewsSydney Spirit of Sport award for 2019 is @AUSOlympicTeam! 400m sprinter @stevesolo10 was one of the many athletes involved in the program and was on hand to receive the award on behalf of the AOC 🙌 #NSWISAwards pic.twitter.com/6G2gSCewI8— NSW Institute of Sport (@NSWIS) November 14, 2019
AOC CEO Matt Carroll said the award highlights the positive impact Olympians are having each day in Australian communities.
“This award is great recognition of the incredible work Olympians and aspiring Olympians are doing in the community,” Mr Carroll said.
“The AOC is committed to use the spirit of the Olympics and the power of sport to inspire young people to be their best.
“Olympians have inspiring stories that go beyond sport. An Olympic journey is never a straight line – having athletes sharing their stories, including the challenges and how they overcame them, is a vital lesson that can help young people no matter what their passion.
“Thank you to the NSW Government, NSWIS and our Olympic Partner Optus for their ongoing support, making it possible to use the Olympic spirit to inspire young students throughout the state.”
The program, aimed at Year 9 students in New South Wales, is free for schools and available to every secondary school across the state.
Olympic 400m runner Steve Solomon has been visiting schools across the state in between training and competing on the journey to Tokyo 2020.
“It was an honour to accept this award on behalf all athletes that are part of the Olympics Unleashed program,” Solomon said.
“Unleashed is one of the best things I’ve ever been involved in – to be able to go into schools and relate to students with our stories, our goals, our challenges and fears and how they can use that themselves is a great opportunity. You can see it in the kids’ eyes that they’re relating to the message.”
Solomon also valued the connection with communities across the state Olympics Unleashed is fostering for elite athletes.
“Being able to give back to the community is a huge motivator, and gives us a tangible feeling of what we can achieve.
“To be able to step back and look at the goals we’re fighting for, not just the highs but how scary it can be trying to be the best in the world, is a really humbling experience for me and can really connect with the students.”
Dual Olympian Alexandra Croak, who represented Australia as a gymnast at Sydney 2000 and in diving at Beijing 2008, is one of the dozens of New South Wales athletes trained to deliver Olympics Unleashed.
“I’m chuffed to be part of Olympics Unleashed, and it’s great to be rewarded with the Community Spirit Award tonight,” Croak said.
“There’s been really positive feedback from the schools, and the engagement with the students at every visit has been fantastic – they’re so switched on and are so keen to take a lot out of the program.
“To be part of an athlete group across different sports, Games and experience all working together on this fantastic program and know we’re contributing back to the community is really satisfying.”
A wrap of the evening and award winners can be found HERE
Olympics Unleashed is free for schools and open to schools right across the state. It is currently available for Year 9 in New South Wales, as well as Years 4-6 in Queensland and Years 9 and 4-6 in the ACT. You can find out more and register your school at www.olympicsunleashed.com.au.