Winter Olympic Chat to a Champ program launches

7 August 2013

There are just six months to go to the 2014 Olympic Winter Games and athletes vying for a spot on the Australian Team are connecting with schools across the country to share the ups and downs of their journey to Sochi.

Olympian Jana Pittman heads a group of eight athletes from the sports of Alpine Skiing, Bobsleigh, Freestyle Skiing and Skeleton participating in the Australian Olympic Committee’s (AOC) web video conference program called Chat to a Champ.

Primary schools have been linked with one of the athletes to follow online; reading their blogs, looking at personal images and videos, following competition performances and chatting online in Term 3 and 4.

Then during the Winter Games in Term 1, 2014, these primary schools will have an exclusive chat with their athlete, live from the Olympic Village in Sochi, Russia.

“It’s an excellent program,” Nichols Point primary teacher Beck Kelley said.

“It enables kids to get an inside view into the preparation required to be an Olympian and the dedication they have for their sport. It is particularly great for regional kids who are far from resources in the cities.”

Students in Year 5 from Nichols Point Primary, located on the banks of the Murray River in Mildura, are looking forward to chatting with alpine skier Greta Small today at 11:30am AEST and following her journey to Sochi.

“The students are really excited,” Kelley said. “A lot of the kids do water sports so they are interested to understand how alpine skiing and water skiing relate.”

Chat to a Champ not only relates to Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) but to a range of generic skills, essential learnings and key learning areas for primary school students.

“I using the program in Health and PE classes as well as linking it to an overall idea the school has of being knowledgeable of things happening in our community, in Australia and around the world,” Kelley said.

Seventeen-year-old Greta Small will have much to share with the students. The alpine skier was the Australian flagbearer at the inaugural Youth Olympic Winter Games in Innsbruck in 2012 and is hopeful of competing in her first Olympic Games in Sochi next year.

“I hope to provide an insight into the sort of life I lead as an athlete, which I know is so different to that of my school friends,” Small said.


“When I was in Year 4 we studied the 2004 Olympic Games. We emailed the athletes and it was great to get a response. I hope I can convey a similar message that encourages them to lead an active and healthy lifestyles.”

As a student of distance education, Small appreciates the benefits technology can provide in the learning environment.

“I studied through distance education from Year 4 until now (Year 12),” she said. “Today’s technology allows for so many different learning opportunities, which one needs to grasp wholeheartedly.”

Each ‘Chat’ will be broadcast live on the AOC website and available to view at a later date on the AOC’s YouTube channel. Schools can register to participate by emailing

Chat to a Champ is just one element of the AOC’s education program that teaches life values and life skills through the Olympic sport traditions and values. It was established for the 2008 Olympic Games and in an Olympic first connected athletes with school students live from the Olympic Village in Beijing. More than 3,000 students have participated in the program since then, with many more watching online.

Chat to a Champ Schedule: Term 3, 2013 (AEST) live at

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