Inside this edition you will be provided with unique insights into the experiences and performances of our athletes, coaches and staff at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games as well as the Beijing Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games. Take a moment to enjoy, reflect and relive their journey to represent their country and compete for the green and gold.
Reflecting on the Birmingham Commonwealth Games there are so many factors which are positive. Congratulations to the “Brummies” on the pride and enthusiasm with which they tackled the challenge of pulling a Games together in a short timeline and the pandemic. The volunteers and crowds were compelling contributors to a colourful and wonderful environment for athletes and spectators.
Commonwealth Games Australia and the Team management, including many VIS staff in a variety of roles, did a great job. Importantly athlete performance and wellbeing were at the forefront of their planning and delivery.
As always, the stars of the show quite rightfully were the athletes. Many achieved outstanding performances in their field of play, and all demonstrated qualities of which we can be enormously proud in upholding the mantra of ‘the friendly Games;” fierce competitors, great sports, and community role models.
VIS scholarship holders’ achievements and performances were plentiful with 43 of 67 athletes winning a medal. They are reflected through their stories in this magazine. For many the journey was as challenging as their competitors on the day and many people play a role in enabling them to perform. The great thing about a Commonwealth Games team is that so many, from their first club or coach, their family, or the enthusiastic supporter back home who got up early to see them compete; we all get to share the joy of seeing them represent Australia and strive to produce their very best performance.
Earlier this year we also celebrated the Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games held in Beijing. The Australian team’s performances were a testament to the programs of OWIA and Snow Australia along with the AOC and PA’s determination to enable athletes to participate in these Games after the challenges for the past couple of years. We particularly acknowledge the performance of Scotty James in winning the snowboard silver medal and Mitch Gourley who was selected as one of the flagbearers at the Opening Ceremony of the Paralympic Games.
So now we look forward with excitement to Victoria 2026, which will be held between 17-29 March in four regional hubs: Geelong, Bendigo, Ballarat, and Gippsland. The multi-city model where each of those hubs will have its own athletes’ village and host a range of sports that will create a legacy for Victoria that extends well beyond the competition period. Our role is to ensure that Victorian athletes have the opportunity to shine, and we use each day to prepare them for that opportunity.
The year has ended with the VIS being named the recipient of the inaugural Win Well Award at the AIS Australian Sports Performance Awards (ASPAs). This is a wonderful recognition and proud achievement for everyone who has been a part of the VIS for the last 32 years and serves as a further reminder to us all to focus on holistic development as captured in our motto “success in sport and life” whilst striving for the podium.
Anne Marie Harrison, VIS CEO