15 July 2021
A year ago, Australian Rugby Sevens Co-Captain Shannon Parry didn’t know if she would make a second Olympics but she has revealed how she got back on track for Tokyo in the latest episode of the Australian Institute of Sport’s (AIS) IGTV series, AIS Reset.
A long run of injuries and the 12-month postponement of the Olympics had Parry wondering whether she would get the chance to chase a second gold medal.
“There are definitely days where I thought, what am I doing?,” said Parry. “I'm a full time qualified teacher, should I just go back to that? Should I hang up the boots?”
Parry’s experience of overcoming those obstacles is the subject of Episode 2 of AIS Reset, an Instagram series where high performance athletes share a defining moment that forced them to ‘reset’ goals and how it changed them professionally and personally.
For Parry, her ‘reset’ moment occurred in the aftermath of her greatest triumph to date – gold at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
“Our dream came true. Everything day-in, day-out was about becoming that Olympic gold medallist and we were able to achieve it,” Parry said.
“And then towards the back end of that season, that's where my reset moment really happened and where I guess my career sort of came to a point when I had three back-to-back injuries. I knew that my body wasn't in good nick … I just hadn't been able to get any consistent training on board. The team was going faster than I could keep up.”
“I wanted to be in contention for the 2020 Olympics, I had to make a change.”
Parry’s reset moment continues to motivate her, with the Australian Rugby Seven’s Co-Captain using it to help deal with the postponement of the Tokyo Games
“I've been working really hard for about the past 18 months through covid and, to be honest, I'm probably in the best nick of my life. I’m hitting [Personal Bests] at 32 and not many people can say they'll be able to do that and keep up with the young ones.”
Parry and her teammates will begin their Olympic gold medal defence on July 29 with a pool match against host nation Japan.
AIS Reset was launched in June, with the first episode featuring champion surfer Sally Fitzgibbons. AIS Reset was born out of the challenges that athletes and the rest of the world are now facing. It aims to share ways to ‘reset’ when faced with adversity.
The series is presented by the AIS People Development and Wellbeing team, which focuses on areas such as athlete mental health, wellbeing and community engagement.
To view both Shannon Parry and Sally Fitzgibbons Reset moments, visit the AIS Instagram channel here.