Athlete documentary series inspiring students

The NSW Institute of Sport has partnered with the NSW Department of Education to inspire student athletes ahead of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

Sarah Carli talks about her journey to the Olympics.

The NSW Institute of Sport (NSWIS) has partnered with the NSW Department of Education to inspire school students to participate in sport ahead of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

The partnership sees NSWIS share the journeys of 20 NSWIS athletes from grassroots to high performance sport through a documentary series called NSWIS Lights Up and made available on the Department's platform Digital and Regional Technology (DART) Learning.

“Storytelling is an incredibly important form of education. The journeys of our NSWIS high performance athletes from grassroots to high performance sport involve not only joyful stories of success, but stories of disappointment, adversity, resilience, grit and determination," Deputy Premier and Minister for Education Prue Car said.

“Sport teaches us so many life lessons. The importance of team work, goal setting and perseverance. These NSWIS videos provide inspiring content and invaluable life lessons for school students across NSW and all over the world.”

The documentary series features NSWIS athletes including Olympic champion Jessica Fox (canoe/kayak), world champion Eleanor Patterson (athletics), Commonwealth Games gold medallist Brandon Starc (athletics) and Olympians Sarah Carli (athletics) and Sam Fricker (diving).

“The role of NSWIS is not only to support athletes to become world’s best but to encourage more people to participate in sport and strategically provide pathways to high performance sport for aspiring athletes," NSWIS Director of High Performance, B-J Mather, said.

“As we look towards Brisbane 2032 and beyond, more young Australians participating in sport widens the pool for talent identification and contributes to more athletes achieving international success.

“These documentaries tell the incredible stories of some of our most successful athletes and will encourage school students to aspire towards a dream."

In one of the documentaries, NSWIS athlete and Olympian Sarah Carli shares her remarkable story of resilience, grit and determination, spurred on by her love of running to recover from injury and make the 2020 Australian Olympic Team.

“I got into athletics when an advertisement went home in my school newsletter, and I asked my Mum if I could join and that was in the under nines," Sarah said.

"I pretty much fell in love with it straight away. I’ve been able to maintain my passion for athletics by being able to explore other areas of my life .. that makes me happy.

"There’s definitely some fear associated with competing in athletics. And there’s so many times when you think you’re ready to go and it just doesn’t go according to plan.

"There’s so many variables that happen. I do think winning is just sometimes turning up to the starting line.”

In another of the documentaries, Olympic champion and NSWIS athlete Jessica Fox talks candidly about her high performance journey, the pressure of privilege and her aspirations for Paris.

“I remember dragging my feet to swimming club and not wanting to go there (because I knew it would be a hard session) and then leaving and feeling so proud of myself that I did it and that I pushed through, even though I didn’t feel like it," she said.

"Same with school work. You know, you’ve got to apply yourself. It’s something I’ve definitely held onto.

“I can’t control who’s going to be first, second or third. So, it’s always about me controlling what I can control and showing up with a mindset of, you know openness and possibility and curiosity and embracing the challenges.”

“There’s a saying, and I really love it – it’s ‘pressure is a privilege’. And so, that’s kind of the approach I take is whatever pressure is out there, how special that I’m even in this position."

The videos are aimed at Upper Primary and Lower Secondary, are linked to Key Learning Areas in the NSW curriculum and made available to teachers, parents and children in NSW and around the world through DART Learning.

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