Every public high school in NSW will experience the Olympic spirit in the lead up to Tokyo 2020, with some of the nation’s most elite athletes to visit students as part of an initiative supported by the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Minister for Sport Stuart Ayres were joined by past and present Olympians Matt Shirvington, Jessica Fox, and Aidan Roach as well as the CEO of the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) Matt Carroll to announce the NSW Government’s support for Olympics Unleashed, a program for school students coordinated by the AOC.
“Matt, Jessica, and Aidan are so inspirational and they set a great example for kids: if you set goals and work hard, you can achieve your dreams,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“Olympics Unleashed will give students a chance to learn from one of the 100 past, present or aspiring Olympians who are involved with the program.”
Mr Ayres said the program will be targeted at Year 9 students who attend the State’s 460 plus public high schools and central schools, giving them insight into what it means to be an elite athlete, while promoting the Olympic values of friendship, respect and excellence.
“We want more young people to participate in sport and learn about setting goals, and having these athletes visit schools could be no greater motivation,” Mr Ayres said.
“In turn, our athletes will be heading towards Tokyo 2020 knowing that back home, they have the support and admiration of the next generation.”
While all public high schools will be able to have an Olympian visit their school, the Olympics Unleashed program is also available to Catholic and independent schools, so that every school can share the Olympic spirit.
Mr Stokes said the program would inspire students to aim higher not just in sports but also in their academic endeavours and other life goals.
“By hearing the athletes’ personal stories, students will learn the importance of effort and commitment,” Mr Stokes said.
“The lesson taught by the example of our most successful athletes is that great results follow hard work, commitment and discipline. What an encouraging and inspiring message for young people across NSW schools,” Mr Stokes said.
Matt Shirvington, Australian sprinting legend and Sydney 2000 Olympian, knows the value athletes can provide to the community.
"The Unleashed program comes at a perfect time, with our kids inundated with confusing and conflicting messages across so many forms of media these days,” Mr Shirvington said.
“Having an Olympian standing in front of them telling their story, a story of determination, time management and humility is brilliant. These are all traits any up and coming generation would benefit from.”
Two-time Olympic medallist Jessica Fox said Olympics Unleashed will allow athletes to motivate the next generation and help them achieve their dreams.
“Being able to set goals, working out steps to achieve them and overcoming challenges is so important for all of us. Olympians understand this really well and we are keen to pass these lessons on,” said Ms Fox.
AOC Chief Executive Officer Matt Carroll said Olympians have unique stories of hard work, goal-setting and resilience.
“The AOC is committed to use the spirit of the Olympics and Australian Olympians to inspire NSW youth to be their best, in the classroom, on the sporting field, and in their personal lives,” Mr Carroll said.
The NSW Liberals & Nationals Government will provide $1 million to the Australian Olympic Committee over two years to support the rollout of the program in high schools across the State and to provide our students with personal access to some of our greatest sportspersons.
Schools can apply to be part of Olympics Unleashed directly through the AOC website, www.olympicsunleashed.com.au