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Swimmers dive into Olympics Unleashed to inspire Queensland students

18 February 2019

OLYMPICS UNLEASHED: Olympian Maddie Groves and Paralympian Monique Murphy inspired more than 200 students at Bracken Ridge State School, as the Olympics Unleashed program surpassed 26 000 students visited across Queensland on Friday.

Groves, silver medallist in the pool at Rio 2016, is enjoying being able to share with students what it takes to follow your dreams.

“I love being able to visit students across Queensland, giving back to the community,” Groves said.

“We work so hard in swimming – it’s a lot of long, sometimes lonely hours, so I really enjoy getting out to share some of my experiences.

“I hope by sharing my story the kids can see I’m a normal person. I’ve been very lucky that through hard work, support of my coach and my family, I’ve been able to achieve some special things. Whatever kids are interested in, if they have a goal, work hard and believe in themselves, that can become a reality.”

The 23-year-old knows first-hand the impact learning from an athlete can have on students.

“When I was 12 years old I was lucky enough to hear Olympic swimmer Bronte Barratt speak, I was so inspired. A few years later I started training with her and we went to Rio together as teammates. I always keep that in mind when I’m speaking with kids – you never know who might be swimming alongside you in a few years’ time.”

Maddie Groves Unleashed 3

Rio 2016 Paralympic silver medallist Monique Murphy is thrilled the program helps build a strong connection that goes beyond the swimming pool.

“It’s amazing to get out to schools and get to know the students – to see them light up and feel inspired and motivated to get out there to do their best,” Murphy said.

“Sharing my story, having their reactions and seeing them grow and learn and understand about the community around them is really special. I head off to training feeling that little bit more motivated and inspired myself.”

The $1.3 million program, jointly funded by the AOC and Queensland Government, is already having a meaningful impact for students and teachers.

Bracken Ridge State School Principal Melissa Burke said Olympics Unleashed offered a unique way to deliver crucial messages for young students.

“Our school values are integrity, courage and lifelong learning, so to have an Olympian and Paralympian able to embody those values in a living way for our kids is so valuable,” Burke said.

“To get those messages around perseverance, having a go and working through problems to build resilience are messages that are really clear for our kids.

“Our community has a strong connection to sport, so it’s a double-win to have athletes who embody those values and talk about their own struggles and how they’ve been able to succeed from that – it’s incredibly powerful.

“The students couldn’t stop talking about the messages they heard and the life experiences of the athletes. It becomes a living example of what it means to be successful and gives a realistic example of what it takes to get there.”

 The program is available to all primary schools across Queensland. Schools can find out more and register today at www.olympicsunleashed.com.au.

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