Australia’s most successful Olympian, Ian Thorpe OAM, has committed to an ongoing role with the AIS that will focus on improving athlete wellbeing nationally.
The five-time Olympic gold medallist is the first member of the AIS Athlete Wellbeing and Engagement Advisory Committee, which will also include industry experts in areas such as mental health. Thorpe will also speak at the inaugural AIS Athlete Wellbeing and Engagement Summit – Beyond The Podium – to be held in Canberra on June 5-6.
The AIS has expanded its commitment to issues such as mental health in sport by establishing the Athlete Wellbeing and Engagement division, which will be officially launched at the two day Summit. It will bring together practitioners and athletes from various sports across the country to develop a national action plan for athlete wellbeing.
Thorpe will attend the Summit’s opening morning and provide an ongoing athlete voice on the AIS advisory committee, using his sporting experiences to help mentor future athletes.
“I’m incredibly passionate about this issue and really looking forward to playing a significant role with the AIS Athlete Wellbeing and Engagement division,” Thorpe said. “It’s really important to have the voices of athletes in this process and the benefit of sharing wisdom to emerging champions can’t be underestimated. There were times during my career that I couldn’t quite find the right person to talk to and this is a great step in the right direction.
“This is about tapping into the knowledge of athletes and sharing what we know as high performers to help this generation and the generations that follow.”
AIS Deputy Director, Athlete Wellbeing and Engagement, Matti Clements said: “We’re delighted to work closely with Ian to develop strategies in this crucial area. Ian’s record as an athlete speaks for itself, plus his intelligence, commitment to the cause and ability to communicate his own challenges mean he’s a perfect person to champion athlete wellness.”
The AIS Athlete Wellbeing and Engagement strategy will focus on five pillars: mental health; athlete conduct and professionalism; career and education; personal development and; community engagement.
The Summit will be attended by high performance athletes including Olympic gold medallist and Australian Sports Commission Deputy Chair, Alisa Camplin-Warner, along with Mark Knowles (Hockey), Kim Brennan (Rowing), Daniela Di Toro (Paralympic sport) and more.