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Paralympian chasing career goals on and off the bike

14 May 2024

After an accident left her with a permanent brain injury, Meg Lemon became more determined than ever to succeed as a para-athlete and sports dietitian.

Meg Lemon competing at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
Meg Lemon competing at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

Growing up, Lemon was always interested in sports and healthy living and went on to attain a degree in nutrition and dietetics before working as a Clinical Dietitian in rural communities.

However, her life took a turn at age 25 when she was hit by a car while riding her bike to work, with the accident significantly weakening the right side of her body.

During rehabilitation, Lemon was encouraged to get back on the bike and in doing so, found a new sense of purpose- para-cycling.

That purpose led her to a bronze medal at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics, with Lemon now gearing up for the Games in Paris.

While competing, Lemon became particularly passionate about the role of nutrition in sports but the process of returning to work wasn’t straightforward.

“I’ve had a long re-introduction into work after my accident. I had to re-learn a lot and things take a lot longer for me to do than previously,” Lemon said.

“Being within the para-cycling team, I was fascinated by the different factors affecting nutrition and performance and empowered by the ability of many para-athletes to overcome obstacles and think outside the square.”

After participating in the 2021 AIS Accelerate program, Lemon received an Accelerate Immersion Grant, designed to provide employment experience and connections with leaders and mentors in the sports system.

Thanks to the Accelerate Immersion Grant, Lemon is now balancing her preparation for Paris 2024 with gaining hands-on experience working as a sports dietitian at the South Australian Sports Institute (SASI).

Meg Lemon working as a Sports Dietician at SASI
Meg Lemon in her role as a Sports Dietician at South Australian Sports Institute (SASI).

“The immersion experience provides a stepping stone for me to expand the skills I have developed in private practice and implement these in a high performance environment,” Lemon said.

“SASI has been very supportive of ensuring I don’t jeopardise upcoming competitions and in the lead-up to Paris, they have allowed me to draw out the projects over the next 9-12 months.”

Following the Games, Lemon is excited to pick up where she left off and hopes to find more opportunities to continue working within sport.

“I would eventually love to consider a role that supports athletes to realise their potential, overcome obstacles and create change in this sector, ideally progressing to an advanced sports dietitian role or eventually a leadership or management position.”

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