Kirsty Coventry with the Athletes Commission from Association of National Olympic Committees

Sport provides opportunity which gives hope

What do you want to be known for?

“Sport has the power to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela. The benefits sport brings to individuals, localized communities and our global village is more than just physical or mental. I was recently in Washington DC for the ANOC General Assembly when we had a surprise visit from United States Vice President, Joe Biden. He came to address the 200 countries that were being represented at the meeting. Vice President Biden acknowledged, “There are more countries represented in this room today than there are in the United Nations,” and added that the Olympics is, “the single unifying principle in the world.”

For most of my life I have never given much thought to what work goes into creating an Olympic Games. It has only been in the last few years that I started asking questions, researching, and dedicating a large portion of my time (outside of training of course) to educating myself. I realized that I would not be an athlete forever and I wanted to use my experience and passion to continue developing sport.

I am who I am because of sport so I know firsthand what it can do for an individual. On a physical level it has made me more energetic, healthier and stronger. On a mental level I am more focused, disciplined, decisive and goal oriented. These attributes allow me to adapt quickly, overcome challenges, work with a team when I need to and be confident on my own if I have to. This is not unique to me because many athletes have these same attributes, attributes that cannot be learnt in the few years at university but that take years to develop. For many of us, this development started when we joined our first sports clubs (I was 6 years old). It started because of our passion and the support from our parents.

Sport also gave me the opportunity to travel and further my education. I am the first in my family to graduate from university. I was blessed and never took this for granted so every opportunity has been an opportunity to learn. Sport provides these opportunities and where there is opportunity, there is hope. This is what I want to be known for. You?

Kirsty Coventry with the Athletes Commission from Association of National Olympic Committees

ANOC General Assembly (Washington DC)

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