Receiving the Pierre de Coubertin Award for 2017 has opened my eyes to the diversity of elite sport within the wider community. To witness recipients from all over Queensland, who have accomplished so much in many varied sports, was inspiring. It was a privilege to attend the ceremony and meet current and past Olympians.
I was deeply influenced by the words of swimming legend, Susie O’Neill. She emphasised that- especially in individual sports- athletes can become so inwardly focussed that they lose sight of the bigger picture. By broadening our horizons and recognising the exceptional performance of others, it can bring us all closer together, as we share in everyone’s success.
Prior to the ceremony taking place, several activities were organised to teach us about life as an athlete and how to overcome some obstacles we may face. The most memorable activity involved us being blindfolded and then informed that we had to escape from a maze. We were advised that we could ask for help at any time by raising our hand. The maze, in reality, consisted of a piece of rope leading us around in circles. As competitive athletes, we all initially followed the rope at great speed but, obviously, to no avail! The only way to escape was to ask for assistance from the group leader.
This proved to be a dramatic demonstration of the manner in which human characteristics, such as pride or stubbornness, can prevent us from seeking assistance. As a result, we forego the opportunity to succeed. In hindsight, the answer was obvious, but this simple exercise resonated with all of us, making us consider our sporting careers and how we might be hindering our development because of a reluctance to seek assistance.
I am truly grateful for the opportunity afforded to me through A.B. Paterson College and the Pierre de Coubertin Award to grow as an athlete, as a leader and as an individual.
Rachel Hoch - Year 11 Student