Olympians inspire WA Pierre de Coubertin recipients

WA Pierre de Coubertin awards

22 outstanding secondary students from Western Australia have been presented with the Pierre de Coubertin award, after displaying the Olympic ideals of fair play and sportsmanship.

The annual award recognises Year 10, 11 and 12 students, who are active participants in sport and demonstrate the ideals of the Olympic movement in their work.

Chloe, who is in Year 12 at Sacred Heart College received the award for a piece she wrote on what moment during the Rio Games made the biggest impact on her.

Writing about the Women’s 5000m run when “Nikki Hamblin from New Zealand tripped and fell and Abbey D’Agostino from USA sacrificed her race and Olympic dream of winning to help a fellow competitor. As Abbey helped Nikki up she said, “This is the Olympic Games. We have to finish this”. This impacts me as I like to show my competitors sportsmanship, whether that is as simple as saying good luck and smiling at my competitors at the start line of a race, or shaking my opponents hand before and after a game.”

Year 12 student Ethan, from Ursula Frayne Catholic College, took home the award for a story he wrote about Kyle Chalmers Gold Medal winning performance.

Ethan wrote about watching Kyle (Chalmers) win, mainly because he has swum against him in the past. 

“Within his race, he started off poorly and went into the turn last.  Sheer determination and drive helped him catch the leader. It was super exciting to see him gain on the pack and not give up. When I had the great privilege to swim against him in the Australian Age National Championships last year he struck me as an unassuming guy who loves to swim and seeing him achieve spurred me on. I have been training harder, with more resilience knowing that following in his footsteps is within my reach.   Every four years I get the opportunity to see how the best earn their medals, and how maybe, one day, it could possibly be my turn at the Olympics” wrote Ethan.

For Warwick Senior High School student Kyle, it was exciting to hear four different journeys to the Olympics, and what inspires them to keep going.

The Year 12 student won the award for his work coaching athletics and his humility in his achievements.

“Kyle consistently puts his best effort forward and motivates all those around him, a natural leader, he graciously congratulates others in his own team, or in opposition whether he is part of a winning team or not” WSHS Deputy Principle Marisa Del Pin said.

In addition to receiving their awards, the students heard from four Olympians; Blair Evans (Swimming 2012, 2016), Danielle Kettlewell (Synchronised Swimming 2016), Jesse Phillips (Kayak 2012) and Stephen Bird (Kayak 2012, 2016).

Evans, a London silver medallist in the women’s 4 x 200m Freestyle relay, said it was exciting to share her sporting experience with the teenagers.

“For me it is a way to help others, hopefully be inspired by my words and maybe one day successfully achieve their individual goals they have set,” Evans said.

The four athletes focused on the how the Australiana Olympic Team A.S.P.I.R.E values (attitude, sportsmanship, pride, individual responsibility, respect and express yourself) can relate to the lives of all young Australians, in sport and in education.

“Each character trait you develop through life and in sport will help you in so many ways,” Phillips told students.

Bird, a dual Olympian shared the importance of setting goals and always focussing on  “Being a great sport and supporting your fellow team members, dedication to your sport and 100% commitment to training as hard as you can and competing to the best of your ability,” Bird said.

Kettlewell, shared her stories of her first Olympic experience and the values she felt reflected the Olympic movement.

Speaking about her Games debuts in Rio, where she was one of 4 Western Australians competing in Synchronised Swimming.  “The impact the Games has on you and the desire to push yourself and be the best you can be, I hope the students can take that away with them today,” Kettlewell said.

“Hopefully we inspired a few more Olympians in whatever sport they choose.”

Students were presented with their Pierre de Coubertin certificates by the Olympians and WA Olympic Council President Greg Kaeding.

Lisa Lilleyman