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New ambassadors announced for AIS program boosting LGBTIQA+ inclusion in sport

17 May 2024

On a day that champions inclusion – International Day Against LGBTQIA+ Discrimination (IDAHOBIT) – the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) is proud to announce its new Thrive with Pride ambassadors.

Freestyle BMX rider Natalya Diehm
Seven new athletes will join 10 returning athletes as AIS Thrive with Pride ambassadors for 2024. Pictured is returning ambassador Freestyle BMX rider Natalya Diehm (AusCycling).

Now in its third year, the program will support seven new athletes and ten returning ambassadors across 13 sports, all of whom are striving to make sport more inclusive for LGBTIQA+ people.

Among the new ambassadors are ParaMatilda Carly Salmon, two-time Olympic rower Olympia Aldersey, and Australian gymnast Lachlan Davis.

While embracing her sexuality was an “extremely challenging journey” for Salmon, she’s now eager for others to have the same experience she had within her sport of football.

“My current sporting environment has accepted, celebrated, and empowered me to be my genuine self. I would love to become more informed about LGBTIQA+ topics so I can promote the power of inclusion within sport,” Salmon said.

Davis has similar aspirations and wants to create change to ensure everyone feels comfortable and supported within their sport.

“Creating an inclusive environment in sport can enable growth and crucial societal change and I believe that the AIS Thrive with Pride Program is actively taking these necessary steps forward,” Davis said.

“I want to be a part of the team that educates, inspires, and celebrates inclusiveness in elite sport on both a national and international stage.”

The athlete ambassadors will undertake LGBTIQA+ education sessions from inclusion experts and work with their chosen sporting organisation to run an LGBTIQ+ inclusion initiative.

A new addition to the AIS Thrive with Pride program in 2024 is the introduction of three lead ambassadors who will provide further personal development opportunities and assist with connection within the athlete group.

Taking on this new role will be return ambassadors Amelia Catt (Australian Sailing) and Dominic Clarke (Gymnastics Australia), as well as new ambassador Anu Francis (Aus Triathlon).

Francis said: “I hope I can utilise my experience as a gay athlete to be a positive role model to LGBTIQA+ individuals and help the triathlon and broader sporting communities fully embrace their LGBTIQA+ members, as I strongly believe that sport should be accessible to all, regardless of diversity factors including sexuality, gender, and disability.”

Amelia Catt, Dominic Clarke and Anu Francis.
A new addition to the AIS Thrive with Pride program in 2024 is the introduction of three lead ambassadors: Amelia Catt, Dominic Clarke and new ambassador Anu Francis.

2024 AIS Thrive with Pride ambassadors: 

  • Amelia Catt, Australian Sailing
  • Anu Francis, Triathlon Australia
  • Carly Salmon, Football Australia
  • Dominic Clarke, Gymnastics Australia
  • Heath Thorpe, Gymnastics Australia
  • Jae Charlton, Athletics Australia
  • Kalinda Robinson, AusCycling
  • Katerina Paul, Snow Australia
  • Kaylia Stanton, Netball Australia
  • Lachlan Davis, Gymnastics Australia
  • Madeline Boyle, Archery Australia
  • Matthew Mitcham, Diving Australia
  • Natalya Diehm, AusCycling
  • Nikki Ayers, Rowing Australia
  • Olympia Aldersey, Rowing Australia
  • Sarah Crosbee, Paddle Australia
  • Serena Bonnell, Bowls Australia

Follow this link to find out more about the AIS Thrive with Pride program and the athlete ambassadors.

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