Tokyo hopefuls continue to inspire students from their homes

The Victorian Institute of Sport (VIS) in partnership with School Sport Victoria are pleased to announce that the school speaker program BeFitBeWell is now being rolled out online to Government schools in Victoria.

VIS athletes have visited schools as part of the speaker program BeFitBeWell for almost a quarter of a century. Many of the VIS’ most prominent sports stars have been through the program, which continues to be extremely popular with schools. Around 40 VIS athletes undertake around 200 visits a year and is free of charge to Government schools. In 2019 the program engaged almost 8000 students across the state.

Teachers have been forced to think creatively around their online learning of students and this is a time that calls for resiliency and overcoming adversity. There is no better time for the VIS’ athletes to continue to motivate students in Victoria with their inspirational stories, which is now possible through the virtual program.

Tokyo selected sailor Tess Lloyd is one of the athletes involved in the program and she continues to inspire students with her remarkable story. (See Below)  

As a young junior sailor Lloyd was involved in a collision with a windsurfer, which resulted in a major brain injury that put her in an induced coma for weeks. Lloyd explains to students how she overcome that trauma and had to learn to walk and talk again. 

The VIS were not only instrumental in Lloyd’s physical strength improvements but also in her development outside of sport. Her involvement in the VIS’ speaker programs has turned her into a confident speaker giving regular talks in schools. 

“The VIS were really helpful in setting me up with public speaking training and interviews to help with my speech and communication and I believe it’s now become one of my strengths,” she said.

Hockeyroo star Sophie Taylor is also involved in the program’s online solution. Taylor was very excited to still be able to deliver the BeFitBeWell program. 

"The messages, stories, journeys, hardships and life lessons that athletes share are incredibly honest and are fantastic for school students to hear and learn from," she said.

A perfect example of the VIS’ motto Success in Sport and Life, Taylor has completed a degree in Physiotherapy and works for Stoke Physio in Perth. Balancing a dual career is something she likes to focus on in her talks.

"It can be really challenging at times, especially if you have conflicting commitments. Having good communication and organisation skills are essential," she said.
"These are skills that can be learnt and even if they are your strengths you can continue to develop them and they will go a long way to help you further succeed in balancing a dual career".

A snippet of Sophie Taylor presenting to a school online via Microsoft Teams

Taylor likes to encourage the students to do what they love and what makes them happy. 

The Camberwell native has been through the Victorian hockey pathway program and first came on scholarship seven years ago. She was selected to the Hockeyroos in 2018 and relocated to Perth where the squad is based. Taylor was part of the team that qualified for the Tokyo Games and will be vying for a spot on the team selected to compete next year. 

The pre-recorded videos available to Government schools feature athletes from a range of sports and both Olympians and Paralympians. The videos are targeted different year levels and covers different topics from primary school students to Year 11-12 students preparing for exams.

The key message of the program is how physical activity is linked to mental wellbeing, hence the name. This is a message that the athletes always relay to the students no matter what other topics they might cover.

If your school is interested in the program, please contact the VIS reception on +61 3 9425 0000 or email 

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