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AIS Accelerate cohort eager to ‘make a difference’

27 June 2024

From record-breaking results to Olympic and Paralympic performances, the 2024 Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) Accelerate cohort has achieved incredible success over the course of their careers — and they're not finished yet.

The AIS Accelerate Program 2024 cohort
The AIS Accelerate Program 2024 cohort.

The 15 retired female athletes who took part in this year’s edition of AIS Accelerate are considering their next career moves with a new-found sense of ‘inspiration’ and ‘confidence’, after the course wrapped up earlier this month.

The 2024 cohort met for a final in-person workshop at the AIS in Canberra which offered networking opportunities, presentations from Accelerate Alumni, and career advice to help the group transition into a professional role within sport.

For Olympic pole vaulter Emma George, the goal now is to put what she learned into practice.

“I now have the confidence and the tools to say, ‘yes, I am valuable,’ and now I really want to make a change and make a difference,” George said.

Former Australian softball player Chelsea Forkin echoed this, adding: “The biggest thing I've got out of the AIS Accelerate program is the opportunity to believe in myself.

“It’s given me the confidence to go out and start applying for jobs to actually forge a career in the high performance sport space.”

The professional development program, supported through the Office for Women, is designed to leverage the talent and experience of former elite female athletes in the wider sports sector.

In addition to the learnings, the biggest takeaway is often the connections forged between the group.

“As fellow athletes, even though we're from all different sports, it feels like we've known each other for years,” George said.

“I feel that we've got a really cohesive group, and we'll keep in touch for years to come.”

Rose Stackpole, who represented Australia in artistic swimming at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, felt a similar sense of connection and is now inspired to seek out new opportunities.

“I've realised we all have a powerful story to tell, and that people want to hear our stories,” Stackpole said.

“It's been the most amazing way to connect with people. I feel like I now have the connections and the resources to step into the sport psychology space and pursue that dream that I've always had.”

We can’t wait to see what’s in store for these impressive ladies.

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