In a bid to inspire and motivate the next generation, Emma Jeffcoat has been sharing her story with schools across regional New South Wales as part of the Olympics Unleashed program.
The 29-year-old’s involvement with the program began in 2021, following the Tokyo Olympics. Invited by the Australian Olympic Committee, Jeffcoat seized the opportunity.
The Olympics Unleashed program takes Olympians and aspiring athletes into Australian schools to inspire, motivate and encourage students to be their personal best and unleash their potential.
Fellow Tokyo 2020 Olympian Jaz Hedgeland and Kira Hedgeland are also actively participating in the program, bringing their inspirational journeys to schools in Toowoomba, Queensland.
“I really enjoy public speaking & working with kids it was a no brainer.” Jeffcoat said.
“I find it very powerful & humbling to be able to tell my story, make a kids day & hopefully pass on a few lessons to keep more kids engaged in sport & following their own dreams.
“I’ve certainly learnt a lot through sport and if I can help share some of those bigger life lessons so kids walk out more empowered & encouraged then I’m very proud of that.”
In her presentations, Jeffcoat sought to share her personal journey, highlighting the role of sport played in moulding her character.
“For me I wanted to convey my journey to where I am today & how sport has been such a positive influence in helping shape me as the person I am.” Jeffcoat said.
“I speak of the habits I developed growing up that helped shape my attitudes today along with the physical & mental skills needed to perform at their best, in whatever pursuit that may be.
“I also can’t help but share my favourite quote of Dare to Dream.”
Amidst a challenging year with a bone stress injury and ankle reconstruction, Jeffcoat found revitalised enthusiasm in her participation in the program.
Despite taking the majority of 2023 off from racing, she says her involvement in the program has provided her with renewed energy and a fresh perspective.
“Last year was tough for me personally with injury.” Jeffcoat said.
“By being able to lean into the Olympics Unleashed program over this period it’s meant I’ve still felt connected to my sport, with a sense of pride in being able to be vulnerable & share my story.
“There’s perspective just in that. Travelling out to very different socioeconomic areas where kids don’t see the same opportunities in their future.
“I speak of hard work when no one is watching, always trying your best, making your own choices, having a go, & the importance of asking for help when we need it. Lessons that I’m trying to empower the kids with but equally reminding myself of.“