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Olympians empower mental health with Wellbeing Week

by Australian Sailing Team 26 Aug 23:16 PDT
Australian Sailing Team © Australian Sailing Team

Olympic champions, Tokyo 2020 hopefuls and a global music star will help empower athletes' mental health this September, as the AOC released the official lineup of 12 athletes and experts for Wellbeing Week, presented by Allianz.

With daily live streamed shows from 7-11 September, Wellbeing Week will showcase how Australians can improve their mental health and wellbeing.

Different daily themes will spotlight the various ways you can improve your wellbeing: from Olympic champion Cate Campbell and surfer Owen Wright discussing the importance of mental health, to Rio 2016 silver medallist sailor Lisa Darmanin and musician and World Wildlife Fund Ocean Ambassador Cody Simpson sharing their mutual passion for environmental protection, Indigenous hurdler Kyle Vander-Kuyp, tennis champion Sam Stosur and Algerian-born runner Youcef Abdi revealing the importance of identity to their wellbeing and landscaper Charlie Albone discussing finding career contentment through unplanned pathways.

Date Theme Guests
7 September Empower Your Passion Lisa Darmanin & Cody Simpson
8 September Empower Your Future Jane Flemming & Charlie Albone
9 September Empower Your Friendships Belle Brockhoff & Holly Crawford
10 September Empower Your Mental Health Cate Campbell, Owen Wright & Dr Simon Rosenbaum
11 September Empower Your Identity Kyle Vander-Kuyp, Sam Stosur & Youcef Abdi

AOC CEO Matt Carroll embraced the initiative to support mental health and wellbeing.

"This is a crucial time to shine a spotlight on the importance of mental health," Mr Carroll said. "Like people right around the world, athletes are doing their best to adapt to the unprecedented challenges and disruption to daily life caused by this pandemic.

"Wellbeing Week will provide an opportunity for Olympians and experts to share their own journeys and passions away from sport to help inspire Australians to take steps to improve their own wellbeing."

The daily shows, from 1.00-1.30pm AEST from 7-11 September and hosted by Water Polo Olympian Amy Jones, can be streamed on the Australian Olympic Team's website, Facebook and YouTube.

"Thank you to Allianz for your support of Australian athletes and recognising the importance of taking care of mental health through initiatives like Wellbeing Week."

Olympic sprinter and member of the AOC Indigenous Advisory Committee Kyle Vander-Kuyp will share his story as part of the "Empower your Identity" themed day.

"My Identity is so important to me as it lays the foundation of who I am," Mr Vander-Kuyp said. "I draw strength in the knowledge that my ancestry goes back to over 50 000 years and I am excited to share this as a part of the AOC's 2020 Wellbeing Week.

"I have come to realise wellbeing comes in different ways and forms and I am excited to gain insights from fellow Olympians talk about the importance of empowering your identity. No matter what life brings you and how it shapes you, you need to be true to yourself."

Surfer and recently announced Allianz Ambassador Owen Wright knows all too well what it takes to overcome mental battles. After a wipeout in 2015 at Hawaii's Pipeline left Owen with a brain injury, Owen had to relearn how to walk and surf again.

"Recovering from my accident gave me a new perspective on mental strength," Owen said. "Fear is always present, but for me it's about embracing and acknowledging it, rather than wishing it away.

"From the trauma, I have way more respect for the mental strength side of my training. For me, having mental strength means I can see these huge waves coming and think: I'm going, I can do this."

Owen, who has provisionally secured a quota for surfing's Olympic debut in Tokyo, will share his wellbeing journey to "Empower your Mental Health", coinciding with RUOK Day on 10 September.

Nick Adams, Allianz Australia's Chief Marketing Manager, said Allianz is proud to announce a three-year partnership with the AOC to help support a range of mental health initiatives for our Olympic athletes through their Wellbeing Week & Wellness Engagement Series.

"In working with the AOC we want to encourage athletes to speak openly about their fears and vulnerabilities to show that even the strongest among us are vulnerable; it's ok to have fears, but we can't let them stop us from progressing. It is about reframing and conquering what frightens us, because only then can we grow and achieve greatness," Mr Adams said.

"Through our partnership, we also want to show true support isn't just to be there for the highs, it's to be there through the lows, the recovery and even through the postponement of the Olympic Games."

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