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Olympic champions inspire secondary students

16 September 2011

Olympic gold medallists Giaan Rooney (swimming) and Lydia Lassila (freestyle skiing) are sharing with Victorian secondary school students an insight into their life as an elite athlete as part of the Australian Olympic Committee’s (AOC) Talk with a Champ program.

Rooney and Lassila will appear at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre on Tuesday 20 September in front of 200 lucky secondary school students and many more online in a live webcast at olympics.com.au . In a one hour discussion, the Olympians will talk about how they became involved in sport, the positive impact it’s had on their lives as well as their experience at the Olympic Games.

Rooney, who was part of the world record-breaking team, along with Jodie Henry, Leisel Jones and Petria Thomas, to win the gold medal in the medley relay at the 2004 Athens Games, is looking forward to talking about her time in the pool.

“It is wonderful to have the opportunity to share with young Australians my experiences through sport as well as encourage them to follow their dream and never give up,” Rooney said.

Lassila, who after a traumatic knee injury at the 2006 Winter Olympics won a gold medal at the 2010 Vancouver Games, will talk about the importance of self-belief.

“There was a lot of scepticism about whether I would return after such a serious knee injury,” Lassila said. “It was really important for me to keep believing in myself, to get back on the skis and refocus on an Olympic gold medal.”

Talk with a Champ tours around the country during the year and at each event feature two outstanding Olympians, who share with aspiring athletes the positive impact sport has had on their lives.

Talk with a Champ is just one part of the a.s.p.i.r.e. school network, the AOC’s education program, which uses the Olympic sport traditions and values to teach life values and life skills.

The program also features the online multimedia events Chat to a Champ and Learn from a Champ as well as Olympic Day. In the lead up to the London Olympic Games more activities will be offered including the popular Village Art program, Cheer for a Champ and lesson plans for primary and secondary school teachers.


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