​​​A​shleigh Brennan

Dual Olympian, Dual Commonwealth Games Gold Medalist, 3 Times World Championship Team Member, National Champion and Victorian Female Athlete of the Year


''My passion for sport and specifically gymnastics came when I joined my local gymnastics club as a 7 year old for fun. As the sport quickly progressed for me I experienced 3 different primary schools to accommodate my gymnastics needs as I moved closer to where I trained. Beginning at St Michael’s Primary School in Berwick, moving to Mentone Park Primary School and then Stonnington Primary School when the gym relocated to Prahran.

I made my first National team as a 13 year old and was a National Team member from 2004 to 2012 whilst completing high school at Melbourne Girls’ College in Richmond. ​As gymnastics is generally a young sport for girls, I was experiencing the demands of elite sport that most athletes would go through in their mid to late 20s. Melbourne Girls’ College provided me with the assistance to achieve my sporting and academic goals such as going to the Beijing Olympics during year 12.

I was fortunate enough to finish my gymnastics career as a two time Olympian, dual Commonwealth Games gold medallist and a three-time world championship team member. Since retiring after the London Olympics, I am now completing a Master in Clinical Exercise Physiology (Rehabilitation). I remain involved in the sport, speaking publically where opportunities present and by introducing primary school children to gymnastics, showing them the benefits of building strong foundations through these skills.''

Video interviews with Ashleigh:

Coping with pressure from a young age (4:21)


​Try as many sports as you can (1:47)




Belinda​ ​Hoc​king

Three-Time Olympic Swimmer


Belinda Hocking is a highly renowned and talented swimming star.  She competed in the 100m and 200m Backstroke at the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games. SSV are proud to embrace Belinda as an SSV Ambassador.  It was an asthma diagnosis when Belinda was aged four, that kicked off Belinda’s love for swimming.  Once Belinda hit the pool it became very evident that she showed a talent for swimming.  St. Bernard’s Primary School Wangaratta were keen to enter Belinda in as many Swimming Championships as they could.  They had a star among them and everyone could see it. 
Although there was no club in her own hometown of Wangaratta, this was not going to get in the way for the Hocking family, who were committed to driving 45 minutes, nine times per week to get Belinda to swimming training over the next four years. Galen Catholic College Wangaratta worked with Belinda in her secondary schooling to balance her sport and education.
Belinda received a scholarship to the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) at the age of 15, which she held for 7 years (2006-2012).  Belinda’s childhood dream of making the Olympic team became a reality at the age of 17, when she was selected to compete in Beijing, China.  After the 2012 Olympics she relocated to Melbourne, Victoria and trained at Nunawading swimming club under Coach Rohan Taylor.
Belinda’s career best performance followed in 2014 when she won two gold medals and one bronze at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, and she also finished the year ranked number one in the world for 200m Backstroke.  After a series of mishaps including a dislocated knee, two shoulder procedures, second degree burns to her hand and crashing her car, Belinda stepped away from the spotlight for nine months to have a break and refresh.  Belinda underwent shoulder surgery and got back in the pool in mid-2015 to train for the 2016 Olympic Trials.  In 2016 Belinda achieved her life time goal of making it to three Olympic Games, and is now a triple Olympian.
After 13 years on the international circuit and nine years on the Australian swim team, Belinda has decided to retire and focus on life outside of the pool, which include finish her studies in primary school teaching. 

Career Highlights:Victorian Female Athlete of the Year 2014

Victorian Swimmer of the Year 2014
Ranked World No. 1 for 200m Backstroke in 2014
Triple Olympian (2008,2012, 2016)
7-time winner and 6-time consecutive winner of the 200m Backstroke at the Australian Swimming Championships (2009-2016 inclusively)
2016 Rio Olympic Games: 200m Backstroke 5th
2014 Commonwealth Games: 200m Backstroke Gold, 100m Backstroke Bronze
2014 Pan Pacific Championships: 200m Backstroke Gold, 100m Backstroke Silver
2013 World Championships: 200m Backstroke Silver
2012 London Olympic Games: 200m Backstroke 10th, 100m Backstroke 6th
2011 World Championships: 200m Backstroke Silver, 4x100 Medley Relay Bronze
2010 Commonwealth Games: 200m Backstroke, 100m Backstroke 4th
2009 World Championships


Brooke Stratton ​

Olympic Long Jumper, Commonwealth Games Silver Medalist and Current Australian Record Holder

Brooke is a 24 year old Long Jumper based in Melbourne, Australia, training under the guidance of her coach Russell Stratton.

Brooke began the sport of athletics at a young age of 5, at the Nunawading Little Athletics Centre, where she found her passion for long jump after winning her first state gold medal in U9. Brooke won many State and National titles through her younger years, and has also represented Australia at both a World Youth and junior level. Beyond these achievements, Brooke has progressed to be the current Australian Open Long Jump Champion, a Rio Olympic Finalist, a World Indoor finalist and a World Championships finalist . 

Brooke attended Caulfield Grammar School and graduated year 12 in 2011. Brooke is currently studying a bachelor of health Sciences - Majoring in exercise science and sports coaching at Deakin University. ​


2009 World Youth Championships Long Jump Finalist - 10th Place
2010 World Junior Championships Long Jump Finalist - 6th Place
2011 Mannheim International Gala, Germany - Gold Medal
2012 World Junior Championships Long Jump Finalist - 7th Place
2013 Taiwan Open Championships Long jump Finalist - Silver Medal
Under 20 Australian Record Holder - 6.60m 
2014 Australian Long Jump Champion - 6.70m (Commonwealth Games A Qualifying Standard) 
2015 IAAF Seiko Golden Grand Prix, Kawasaki Japan - 3rd, 6.46m
2015 IAAF World Athletics Championships - 14th, 6.64m
2016 Canberra Track Classic - 6.94m  - Gold Medal

2016 Perth Track Classic - 7.05m -> AUSTRALIAN/ OCEANIA/ VICTORIAN Open Record - Gold Medal

2016 IAAF World Indoor Championships - 6.75m - 5th place

2016 Australian Athletics Championships and Olympic Selection Trials - Gold Medal
2016 Stockholm Diamond League - 4th place
2016 Finalist at the RIO Olympic Games - 7th Place 
2017 London Diamond League - 6.79m - Bronze Medal
2017  IAAF World Athletics Championships - 6.67m ​- 6th Place 

2018 Commonwealth Games (Gold Coast) 6.77m - Silver Medal



​​​​Professor Richard (Dick) Telford AM

Former Australian Rules Football Player, Australian Sport Scientist and distance running coach


''Physical activity is important to the health, physical and psychological development of all children, particularly in the 21st century and beyond. Cultural and social changes are resulting in a more sedentary lifestyle for many young people. Schools play a significant role in developing attitudes towards physical activity and sport that may last a lifetime.''

Professor Richard (Dick) Telford was appointed as an SSV ambassador for his ground breaking Australian research in the LOOK study (Lifestyle of Our Kids) which highlights the benefits of high quality school sport and physical education for Australian students. This research is invaluable for sports coordinators, teachers, principals and schools. Professor Telford also has an elite level coaching background and is a fantastic advocate of school sport.

As an untiring contributor to Australian sports science, education, athletics and sports coaching, for the last four decades Professor Telford has combined his research work in metabolic physiology with hands-on sports science and coaching. Initially involved in Australian Rules football and cricket as a player and coach, in 1981 he took up an inaugural position in sports science at the Australian Institute of Sport. His sports science work then switched to our Olympic and Commonwealth Games athletes, where he coached Australia’s only Olympic marathon medallist and several Commonwealth games gold medallists.

Currently, Professor Telford is Research Director and architect of the LOOK project with the Clinical Investigations Unit at the Canberra Hospital, University of Canberra and the Australian National University. This multidisciplinary, collaborative, long-term study concentrates on the effect of lifestyle, particularly physical activity, sport and physical education, on the development and wellbeing of our children, with the ultimate vision being to determine how early lifestyle affects quality of life in old age.

Professor Telford has published widely, including about 100 peer reviewed research articles and several book chapters on preventive medicine and sports science, and was awarded an Order of Australia in 1992 for his contribution to sport and sports science.

Listen to Professor Dick Telford speak about the LOOK project. 

Radio Interview


The irrefutable evidence behind the benefits of quality Sport





​Jared Tallent OAM

​​20k and 50k Walks Olympic Gold Medalist

Jared Tallent was one of six children raised on a potato farm near Ballarat, Victoria. He lost his right index finger in a potato grading machine as a toddler.  Tallent attended Ballarat High School from 1997 – 2002.  Tallent was selected in the Team Vic Triathlon team in 1999.  This was a great achievement, and he continued to excel in sport, in 2000 Jared was selected to the Team Vic Track & Field team to compete in Pacific School Games held in Sydney, little did he know that this was the start of a very long and illustrious sporting career.  Jared was awarded a Victorian School Sport Award, for his outstanding sporting achievements in 2002.  He was accompanied to the Beijing and London Games by wife, fellow walker Claire Tallent (Woods), who finished 28th in the women's 20km event in Beijing before being disqualified at the London Games after being placed 10th at the halfway mark of the race. The pair married after the Beijing Games in Woods' Adelaide home suburb, a place called, appropriately enough, Walkerville.

Jared Tallent strode into history at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games - completing a rare double by winning medals in both walking events. Six days after he won bronze in the 20-kilometre race, he collected silver in the 50km event.  It was the first time a male Australian track and field athlete had won two medals at a single Games in more than a century. Having won gold at the 2010 Commonwealth Games he returned to Olympic competition in London in 2012 where he again lined up in the 20km and 50km events. He matched his 2008 performance in the 50km walk, setting a new personal best time as he came in second behind Russia's Sergey Kirdyapkin. 1405 days later in Melbourne he was presented with the gold medal after the Russian was disqualified for doping. He became only the seventh Australian man to win Olympic gold in athletics. Earlier in the Games, Tallent finished 7th in the 20km event 1:16 behind China's Ding Chen.

Joshua Dunkley-Smith

Dual Olympic silver medallist and five-time world championship medallist

School Sport Victoria is excited to welcome Joshua Dunkley-Smith as an SSV Ambassador.

Growing up in the outskirts of Geelong, Joshua Dunkley-Smith was introduced to rowing through school sport. It was during this time that he learned his craft, as he continued to improve his speed, fitness and technique. To his friends and family it was clear that he not only had a passion for the sport, he also had a talent that would one day have Dunkley-Smith representing Australia in the green and gold.

Dunkley-Smith's decorated achievements speak for themselves. A dual Olympic silver medallist, and five-time world championship medallist is enough to impress anyone, but it doesn't end there. In 2018 Dunkley-Smith was arguably in the best form of his life. The 28-year-old powerhouse rower posted the fastest ever 2000m time on an ergo, breaking a 10-year-old record held by Kiwi Rob Waddell.

This amazing record breaking performance was the cherry on top of an already stela career. Dunkley-Smith won silver medals at the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympic Games in the men's four and also has five world rowing championship medals to his name.

Dunkley-Smith is passionate about introducing as many students as possible to the sport of rowing, whether indoor or outdoor. Dunkley-Smith believes that rowing is a great entry level sport for any student, regardless of fitness levels, or ability. He believes that the team aspect of the sport, as well as individual events, are a great drawcard for anyone wishing to keep fit and enjoy rowing. ​


​Kelly Hetherington

Australian 800m Athlete

Kelly Hetherington Moscow .jpeg 

''The lessons you learn on the sporting field such as teamwork, communication and determination are skills I use daily in my life.''

As a sport obsessed child, Kelly participated in many sports, where she found she had a knack for running fast. Kelly was successful as a junior athlete winning several State and National track and cross country championships.  Throughout her childhood Kelly continued to run, proudly representing her school and local club, Glenhuntly, where she achieved a high level of success.

Kelly says: ''I am passionate about being a SSV ambassador as I believe sport is such a crucial physical, mental, emotional and social part of children's and adult development. Sport was a huge part of my life growing up and still is a huge part today. The lessons you learn on the sporting field such as teamwork, communication and determination are skills I use daily in my life.''

After achieving 2nd place in the 800m at the National Championships, Kelly represented Australia on the senior team at the 2011 World University Games where she made the semi-finals. She continued to progress through senior ranks with her breakthrough year in 2013 when she was undefeated in the Australian season, went on to win the National Open 800m title and qualified for the 2013 World Championships. She was selected in the 2014 Commonwealth Games team but sadly withdraw due to injury. In 2015 Kelly was a member of the 4x800m World Relay team which successfully took the bronze medal.

After not getting the results she was striving for in 2014 and 2015, Kelly’s sights are firmly set on the 2016 Rio Olympics and beyond that a home Commonwealth Games in 2018. 

Kelly feels very lucky that she is able to travel the world, meet amazing people, and compete at the highest level of the sport.  She hopes that through her running and interaction with the public she can inspire some of Australia’s next generation to compete in the sport that she loves.

Proud Achievements:
2013  Australian Open Championship-   800m 1st
2011 Australian Open Championship-   800m 2nd

2015 Victorian State Championships  800m 2nd
2014 Victorian State Championships  800m 3rd
2013 Victorian State Championships  800m 1st

2015  World Relays Championship  4x800m 3rd
2014  Selected for the Comm Games (withdrew due to injury)
2013  World Championship representative 800m
2011  World University Games   800m Semi Finalist

Watch this short video (2:11) interview with Kelly.






Libby Birch

Dual Athlete

Libby Birch is best known for her successful netball career, having represented Victoria and Australia in many competitions over the past 10 years. But she has also had great success on the hockey pitch, and then she nabbed one of a small number of coveted positions in the first Women’s AFL League, representing the Western Bulldogs. 

With all this success, it may be difficult to believe that Birch has had some tough breaks along the way, but this is indeed her experience. As she notes, “sport is a very special thing. It can be full of thrills and happiness but equally it is full of challenges, obstacles and often setbacks. But as one door closes you can search and find another that you can push open to another whole new world’.

At age 12, Libby was chosen to represent Victoria in hockey after less than a year in the sport. Two years later she was selected for the under 15s School Sport Victoria Netball Team, much to her delight. Success followed success, both in hockey and netball, but by age 15 Birch had to make the tough decision to drop one. She chose netball, and continued to represent her state in titles every year, including a memorable trip to New Zealand where she was U16 Captain for the School Sport Australian Team. “It was a moment I’ll never forget. The honour only made me more determined to want to keep striving for my dreams…”

Birch went on to captain the Victorian U17 State Netball Team to two gold medal victories and was then given the opportunity to become a part of Netball Australia’s National Underage Squad. But after losing the gold medal game in double extra time at the under 19s competition in Sydney it was revealed that she was not selected for the Australian Squad, which was a massive disappointment for the dedicated athlete. “I was doing Year 12 and was School Captain of Maribyrnong College at the time and I can remember coming home as the captain of that side  feeling lost, shattered and utterly exhausted…”

These moments of disappointment test the true determination and grit of any athlete, and Birch rose to the challenge working harder than she had ever done before and was chosen for the 21 and under Victorian side. Incredibly she somehow missed selection to the Australian Squad again in 2016, but  this allowed her to spread her wings and explore football, which has proven to be another sport she excels at. She began her new career in AFL in February 2017 after only a few short months and a VFL premership with Darebin . While continuing to pursue Netball, Libby was chosen for the Victorian Fury side. But with the sports being so different and so many new opportunites on the horizon Birch chose to throw everything she had into AFLW. In 2017 she played every game for the Western Bulldogs and then went onto win another VFLW premiership with her team mates at Darebin.

Libby’s skill development in 2018 saw incredible improvement and was credit to the sheer hard work and preparation shown during her first full preseason without Netball. Playing every game again in 2018 Libby was nominated for the Nab rising star award and the All Australian Squad .The bulldogs went on to win the 2018  Premiership and Libby rounded out the year by coming in 5th in the clubs Best and Fairest count while winning the prestigious AFLW Rebel Sport Young Leader Award 2018. At 20 and with less than 2 years behind her in the sport, who knows where this journey might lead her. Birch is a driven person that is highly competitive and already has her mindset on having a bigger and better season in 2019. Known for her athleticism , elite preparation and ability to break the lines, Libby is focussed on developing all aspects of her game during the forthcoming VFlw season where she will now play for the Western Bulldogs new VFL team.  Libby also loves helping the next generation of kids enjoy all sorts of sport and life. Make sure you introduce yourself and say hi if you see her around while your training one day soon .​

Libby Birch Life Lessons​​​

In an effort to provide some great resources for you to use in class.  One of the many resources that we have available on our youtube channel is a series of videos we have called "Libby Birch Life Lessons".​ We have taken the liberty of packaging these videos along with relevant discussion questions for your use. You can access the videos and questions on the SSV website page "Libby Birch Life Lessons"​

Playing Honours:​​

AFLW Premiership 2018

NAB Rising Star Nomination 2018

Rebel Sport Young Leader Award 2018

AFLW Western bulldogs player 2017 and 2018 

VFLW Premiership 2016 and 17

Australian Netball Squad 2016 and 17

Most Valued Player Victorian Netball League 2016

School Captain Maribyrnong College 2015

VIS 2013, 14 and 15

Victorian Netball Captain 2011, 12, 13 and 14

Victorian State Hockey Team 2011 and 12​



​Mack Horton OAM

Olympic and Commonwealth Gold medalist

School Sport Victoria is proud to welcome Mack Horton OAM to our exclusive group of ambassadors. Horton is a perfect fit for many reasons. Nick Mooney Interim CEO of School Sport Victoria, says "Mack is an inspirational athlete and a passionate advocate for school sport and students in schools across our nation." Horton cherishes his school sport memories. "Team Vic and School Sport Victoria has been a major part of my swimming journey. Going away with the Team Vic team was the start of my swimming pathway and gave me the understanding that I could take my sport further."

Mack Horton is one of Australia's most successful elite athletes. The Olympic and Commonwealth Gold medalist started his illustrious swimming career while in school, making his first international debut as a 13 year old, breaking the first of many Australian records as a school boy. From this it was clear that Mack was destined for greatness, but he has always had a grounded perspective when it comes to his international success, stating that he felt a similar sense of achievement from winning his school championships as he did an Olympic Gold.  

Horton overcame a fear of water at age 11, and less than two years later he broke his first of many Swimming World Records. These aspects of his story will inspire the next generation of emerging athletes. "Meeting my swimming hero Grant Hacket at the 2006 Commonwealth Games provoked me into wanting to be just like him. Now I want to inspire other athletes to not only be their best, but to be the best." Most elite athletes begin their journey in school and Horton is no different. School Sport Victoria is proud to have played a part in Mack's sporting journey. 


Mark Bresciano

Former Professional Football Player and Socceroo

The Melbourne born mid-fielder is most famous for his time as a Socceroo.  Mark more commonly known as 'Marco', kicked off his career playing football at Marcelin College, using his lunch times to sharpen his skills and develop his passion for the great game.  In 1995 Marco made his first Victorian Premier League appearance playing for the Bulleen Lions.    During his high school years he made the selection for the 19 years and under Team Vic Football State team, competing at the School Sport Australia Football Championships.  That paved the way for Marco's selection into the All Australian team, which became Marco's first time to travel overseas for this sport that had gripped him.  The All Australian School Boys Team travelled to the United Kingdom in 1996.  It was during this trip that he was discovered by the Australian Institute of Sport.  Marco's AIS opportunity put Marco in touch with arguably Australia's most decorated coach, Steve O'Connor.  Although Marco was 19 years old, he clearly showed football skills beyond his years. 

Marco played for the newly formed National League under Carlton Football Club.  In 1999 he moved to Italy for what became a 12 year stay.  His greatest achievement was his 84 caps competing for the Socceroos in which he scored 12 goals in the green and gold.  Marco played a major part in the team not only qualifying for the first time in 32 years, but consequently qualifying for the next three World Cup's. ​



Matthew Haanappel OAM

2012 Paralympic Swimming Gold Medalist, 3 Time Australian Representative, World Championship Medalist

Matthew Haanappel.png 

''School Sport is one of the most amazing things that a school kid can experience in their educational career.''

Matthew Haanappel was born in 1994 with Cerebral Palsy. His sporting career was supported from the beginning as he was born into a strong sporting family, which includes retired Tour de France winner Cadel Evans AM. 

As a young boy Matthew competed in a wide range of sport and recreational activities. Many of these were within the school sport system where he competed for his school in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne. His sports included Aussie Rules Football, Basketball, Tee-Ball, Cricket and Tennis.  

Matthew first competed in his chosen sport of swimming at the 2005 VPSSA State Swimming Championships at age 11, where he won a gold medal in the 50m Freestyle for Students with a Disability - a medal that he treasures dearly to this day. He was selected for his first Team Vic Swimming Team in 2008, competing in the Pacific School Games in Canberra. Matthew was again selected for Team Vic in 2009, 2011 and 2013, as well as 2012 where he was Team Captain. He regards the Team Vic Swim Team as his “family” because of all the wonderful experiences he has had with them.

Matthew represented Australia at the 2012 London Paralympic Games, winning a Gold and Bronze medal for the Freestyle and Medley Relay respectively. In 2013 he won his first international individual medal, a Bronze in the 100m Freestyle S6 at the IPC Swimming World Championships. 2014 took him to the Pan Pacific Championships in Los Angeles, returning home with 3 Gold, 2 Silver and a Bronze Medal, as well as joining Swimming Australia’s Paralympic Squad at the Australian Institute of Sport. 

On Australian Day 2014 Matthew was awarded a Medal in the Order of Australia (OAM) for his services to sport and the community as a Gold Medallist and supporter of many community programs.

Matthew took most of the 2015 swimming season off to recover from shoulder surgery in preparation to be selected for the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games team. 

Outside of swimming, Matthew is studying a Sports Management degree at the University of Canberra, supports many disability organisations throughout Victoria and enjoys spending time with family and friends. 

Speaking on School Sport, Matthew says: “I have always said that School Sport is one of the most amazing things that a school kid can experience in their educational career. The benefits of school sport and physical education go beyond the field of play. The physical, emotional and mental benefits will take them beyond their school careers and into their working and further life. What really excites me about becoming an ambassador with School Sport Victoria is being able to assist in the development of the key skills that school kids can get out of playing or being involved in school sport.''

Watch this short video (3:43) of Matthew's journey from Team Vic to Olympic Gold.




Molly Strano

Australian Cricketer


Molly Strano was an avid sports lover all throughout her schooling years. Molly attended Corpus Christi Primary School in Werribee and then completed her secondary schooling & VCE at Kardinia International College in Geelong. Molly represented both her primary and secondary school at a number of different sports being soccer, basketball, football, tennis, athletics, cross country running and of course, cricket. Molly is a member of Team Vic Alumni having represent Victoria in 2004 at the 12 Years and Under School Sport Australia Cricket Championships in Bundaberg, QLD.

Nowadays Molly is known as one of the top specialist T20 spinners in Australia, where in 2014/2015, she topped the wicket-taking in the women's domestic T20 competition with 22 wickets at 12.59. 

Although Molly missed the 2015/2016 Women's National Cricket League (WNCL) season through injury, she bounced back during the inaugural season of the Women's Big Bash League (WBBL) for the Renegades, taking 18 wickets for the tournament to be named the Renegades' most valuable player for WBBL|01. 

In 2017 Molly made her Australian debut against New Zealand at the MCG. In her second game in the green in gold, Molly took 5-15 which is the best bowling performance by an Australian bowler in a T20 international match.  

It's a logical fit that Molly has since agreed to become as a School Sport Victoria Ambassador. "I was extremely honoured when I was asked to become a SSV Ambassador. The SSV program gave me my first opportunity to travel away from home in a team environment and most importantly, allowed me the privilege to represent my state for the first time. I have such fond memories of this experience and I still call a lot of the girls I played with in 2004 friends today. I love seeing kids today being fit, healthy and active and the SSV program provides children with wonderful opportunities to grow and learn a lot about themselves as not only athletes, but as young people."


Richard Colman

Paralympian and former SSV Team Vic representative

Richard Colman Landy Field Training pic.jpeg 

''Being part of SSV team is one way I can help as many athletes as possible, on and off the track, to be successful in life.''

Richard was born in 1984 with Spina Bifida. He took to sport at a young age and was involved in many sports before the love of athletics took his full attention. 
Richard first competed at the SSV Primary Schools State Championships in 1995, while in Year 4, and then made his first SSV team in 1996 for the Pacific School Games in Perth. Since then he has competed in many national and international competitions.
Richard says: ''I am very passionate about School Sport Victoria because this is where my sporting life began 20 years ago. And without that opportunity, I would never have achieved what I have in that time or been able to be an athlete and had the experiences I have around the world. I am now coaching and helping the next generation of athletes and hopefully future Australian stars. Being part of SSV team is one way I can help as many athletes as possible, on and off the track, to be successful in life.''
Richard first competed for Australia at the 2002 IPC World Athletics Championships in Lyon, France, where he came away with a Bronze medal in the T53 400m. Two years later, at his first Paralympic Games in Athens, Richard won Gold in the T53 800m and Silver in the 4x100m.
In 2006 Richard won a Bronze medal in the T53 800m at the IPC World Athletics Championships in Assen, The Netherlands, followed in 2008 by Silver in the T53 200m and Bronze in the T53 400m at the Beijing Paralympic Games. 
In 2010 Richard competed at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India, in the T54 1500m, winning a silver medal. Then in 2011 he won his first IPC World Athletics Championship gold medal, in the T53 800m, and silver in the T53 400m. In the same year Richard also won the T53 400m Gold medal at the IAAF World Championships in Deagu, South Korea. 

You can view highlights of Richard’s career achievements on this short video (0:55).

Richard is a keen traveller and has now visited 60 countries with the aim of competing in 100. He continues to play wheelchair basketball in the local Geelong league and regularly swims as part of his cross training.

We are pleased to have Richard on the on the SSV coaching team and as a School Sport Victoria Ambassador.



Sophie Taylor

Australian Hockeyroo

School Sport Victoria is excited to announce Sophie Taylor as an SSV Ambassador. Sophie is an Australian Hockey player, whose unconventional pathway to success is an inspiration. 

Born in Camberwell Victoria, Sophie attended Camberwell Primary School from Prep to Year 4 before finishing her education at Carey Baptist Grammar School. Growing up with triplet older brothers who loved sport, the foundation was set for her to be an active sports person both on and off the field. As a youngster Sophie loved playing Cricket and she tried out for the Team Vic 12 Years and Under Cricket Team, and while she was not selected for the Team Vic team, to her surprise she was selected to play for the SSV Australian team. Sophie still has the baggy blue Team Vic uniform and speaks very fondly about the experience she had in the team. Sophie believes it gave her the confidence to tackle any sport with passion. Cricket was one of the many sports that Sophie was passionate about, and after much encouragement from family and friends, Sophie decided that she would try her hand at the Team Vic 12 Years and Under Hockey trials. Sophie still remembers the day clearly, as they read through the names Sophie knew that because her surname started with "T" she would be further down the list. It soon became clear that the T's were skipped and Sophie had not made the team. Sophie didn't let this come between her and her love for Hockey and used this opportunity to push her onto bigger and better things. Sophie trained hard and looked for any opportunity she could to play Hockey at the highest level, being selected for every Hockey Victoria team she was age eligible for. Sophie is passionate and lives by the saying 'hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.'

It hasn't been smooth sailing for the youngster, with setbacks getting in the way of her progress at times. "I have faced a fair number of health set- backs throughout my career to date. I was diagnosed with chronic fatigue in 2013 and suffered very badly for 3-4 years. Currently I am able to manage it very well.  In 2015 I was diagnosed with glandular fever, and was also diagnosed with eating intolerances (gluten, lactose and fructose intolerance). Some days while in year 12 I was unable to get out of bed. This impacted every area of my life. The biggest lesson that I have learned is that listening to my body is very important." 

Sophie refused to allow these barriers to block her dreams and goals, and found ways to navigate a way forward. Sophie has relocated to Perth, Western Australia because she has been selected for the Hockey Australia Senior Squad – The Hockeyroos. She is in her final year of her Physiotherapy degree at La Trobe University and understands how important recovery and taking care of your body is. 

Sophie is keen to share her message with students nationally, that setting goals and following your dreams is important, and not letting setbacks take your eyes off your goals.

Her mantra is clear: "hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard."


Steph Kelly

Touch Football Elite Athlete

Steph Kelly is a trailblazer and young gun on the Victorian and Australian Touch Football scene.

Steph’s first taste of representative football was under the Team Vic banner, representing her state three times, including at the 2015 Pacific School Games in Adelaide.

She has the honour of being the first Victorian Girl to represent Australia at under 18’s Girls level. This is a position she excelled in, with the team winning the youth World Cup in 2018 in Malaysia. Most recently she has been a member of the inaugural Sydney Roosters NRL Touch Premiership Team.

An alumni of Beaumaris Primary School and Mentone Grammar, Steph is now studying a Bachelor of Arts at Melbourne University, majoring in Criminology.

Steph is looking forward to promoting the sport of Touch in Victoria and mentoring the next generation of emerging talent to achieve their best.

Touch Football Playing Honours

Team Vic Touch 15s Girls Team - 2014; Morwell, Victoria

Team Vic Touch 15 Girls Team, Vice-Captain - 2015; Pacific School Games, Adelaide

Team Vic Touch 15 Girls Team Captain and MVP 15s Girls - 2016; Mandurah, Western Australia

Captain and MVP of Victorian Touch 18s Girls - 2017, 2018, 2019; 

Member of Victorian Open Women’s T League Team - 2016, 2017, 2018; 

Player of the Final in National winning Victorian Women’s T League Team - 2018; 

Member of Victorian Open Women’s Team - 2019; 

Victorian Touch Junior Female Player of the Year - 2018; 

Victorian Touch League Player of the Season - 2018;

Melbourne University Blacks MVP - 2018; 

NSW Canterbury Bulldogs Division 1 Players Player at NSW State Cup - 2018; 

Australian Girls 18’s Touch Team Youth World Cup, Malaysia, Gold Medal - 2018; 

Inaugural Sydney Roosters NRL Touch Premiership Team - 2019; 

Current NSW Canterbury Bulldogs Premier League Player - 2019.

Selected to compete in the Under 20 Australian Women's Team competing at the Youth Trans Tasman Championships.


Steph Moorhouse

Olympic Gymnast


Steph is one of Australia’s most successful elite artistic gymnasts having represented Australia at the 2004 Olympic Games and the 2003 World Championships. In the 2003 World Championships Steph came home with a Bronze medal. This is the only World Championships team medal won by Australia to date. Steph’s greatest achievement came in 2002, when she competed in the Commonwealth Games, and came home with a Gold medal, this was a Team Medal won that became a career highlight.

Her commitment and dedication has not only been seen in the sport of gymnastics but also in her education and professional development. Stephanie holds many qualifications, including a Bachelor of Business: Sport Management and Bachelor of Sport and Exercise Science. Steph is a qualified gymnastics coach, CrossFit Trainer and Personal Trainer.

She continues to stay involved in the Olympic movement at the state level, as a Director on the board of the Victorian Olympic Council and Committee Member of the Olympians Club of Victoria. ​

Steph now wants to share her experiences as an elite athlete, as well as spreading the message of the importance of juggling sport and education. It’s this important balance that Steph believes will assist students in achieving their goals, not only in sport but also in life. ​

Steve Hooker OAM

Olympic Gold Medalist

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Aussie pole vault sensation and Olympic Gold Medallist Steve Hooker shares SSV’s passion and commitment to providing inspiring sporting and educational opportunities for all school-aged students in Victoria. Steve is the first Australian man to ever hold both the Olympic and World Titles concurrently. As one of the stars of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Steve became the first Australian field athlete to win Olympic gold in 60 years, the first Australian male track or field gold medallist since 1968 and the first Australian athletics Olympic champion since Cathy Freeman in 2000.

Steve brings a wealth of experience to the SSV team, not only through his career as an Olympian, but also through his own school sport journey. As a former Team Vic member himself, Steve is passionate about his role as an SSV ambassador, speaking at key functions and forums and presenting medals at annual state track and field events. His inspirational messages to schools, teachers and students centre on the benefits that school sport brings to an individual.

Steve Hooker addresses the delegates at the School Sport Australia Conference Thursday 2 June 2016. 



Steve Moneghetti AM​​

Four-time Commonwealth Games Athlete and Gold Medalist

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Born September 26, 1962 at Ballarat, Victoria​​

Married to Tanya and we have four children, Emma, Laura, Matthew and Olivia

I am 176 centimetres tall and weigh 60 kilograms

Degree in Civil Engineering, Graduate Diploma in Education (Maths \ Science)

Honorary Doctorate from University if Ballarat (2001)

Chair of the State Review into Physical and Sport Education in Victorian Schools (1993 – 1996)

Chair of the Board of Victorian Institute of Sport (2001 - 2010)

National selector for Athletics Australia (2009 - 2012)

Athlete Liaison Officer – 2002 Commonwealth Games

Mayor of Athlete's Village for the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne

Race Director Run for the Kids Fun Run (2006 -)

Ambassador for Nike Australia (1986 - )

Chef de Mission 2010, 2014 and 2018 Australian Commonwealth Games Team

Awarded an AM for significant service to athletics as a marathon runner, administrator and mentor to young athletes in 2014 Queen's Birthday Honours  

Australian Sports Commission Board Member (2015 - )

Director - Moneghetti Consulting Group Pty Ltd.

Life Member of Athletics Victoria & Ballarat YCW

Began athletics in 1976 at age 14.​

Career Highlights:

-1986 Commonwealth Games Marathon – Bronze medal

-1990 Commonwealth Games Marathon - Silver medal

-1994 Commonwealth Games Marathon - Gold medal

-1998 Commonwealth Games 10 km track - Bronze medal

Attended 1987, '91,'93,'95,'97,'99 World Athletic Championships winning the Bronze Medal in the Marathon in Athens in 1997.

Attended 1988, '92 '96 and 2000 Olympic Games finishing in the top ten on 3 occasions

Winner of 1990 Berlin Marathon and 1994 Tokyo International Marathon

Previous holder of 3 World Bests for the Half Marathon (1990, 92, 93)

Winner of 4 City to Surf races (1989 – 1992) and current race record holder.

Winner of 4 Zatopek 10km Track races (1989 – 1992) only person ever to win 4 in a row.

I have run 22 international marathons and finished in 11th place or higher in 20 of them. Retired after Sydney 2000 Olympic Games but still heavily involved in running within Australia.

I trained twice a day, covering 180 – 200 per week and roughly 8500km a year under the guidance of dual Olympian and Sydney 2000 Athletics Head Coach Chris Wardlaw.

Still running everyday covering over 100km a week. Recently won the Oceania Masters Athletics 50+ Cross Country title and in 2009 ran a world age record for a forty six year old of 29.59mins for 10km on the road making me the oldest person to run under the 30minute barrier.

Su Oh

Pro Golfer and former Team Vic Representative

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“I am proud to be an SSV ambassador after my really positive school sport experiences and I look forward to inspiring the next generation of young golfers!

So Oh is a true product of the School Sport Victoria inter-school program and “Team Vic” representative pathway.

“I really first started getting inspired by golf when I played in the Victorian Primary School Golf Championships.”

“I really enjoyed being part of “Team Vic”, going to the School Sport Australia National Golf Championships in grades 4, 5 and 6.

Other career highlights have included “Going to the US for the first time to play… and winning the Espiritio Santo Trophy as a team. Oh, and probably the day I found out I was ranked world number one as an amateur too.

Oh, who attended McKinnon Primary and McKinnon Secondary Schools, had an impressive collection of achievements even from an early age. Su won the Primary School Golf Championships, and also received a coveted Victorian Sporting Blue Award, in 2009. 

These National Championships and achievements elevated her to even greater heights with Su’s latest and greatest achievement being selected to represent Australia at the Rio Olympics.

Further Reading:

Mike Clayton recently interviewed Su Oh, read the article.



Tim “Disko” Disken OAM

Paralympian Swimmer


Tim Disken has no shortage of medals.  Competing in Swimming for his Glenallen School, Glen Waverley, bought joy to Tim and everyone who was there to witness it. Tim not only loved swimming, his results were clearly something that his school and swimming club had rarely seen.  Tim represented Victoria in the Team Vic Swimming Team, at the School Sport Australia Swimming Championships, 2012 – 2015.  Tim continued to reach higher levels within Swimming, although it was a childhood dream to represent Australia at the Paralympics, he knew there was hard work ahead of him.  Tim’s discipline is as a Paralympic Swimmer if you know anything about Multiple Classification (Multi Class) Tim’s classification is S9, SB8, SM9. 
This all began at birth. Tim was born at 24 weeks gestation and has to contend with a number of ongoing health issues. In his early years, he was hospitalised regularly and has undergone many surgeries. He was fed via a gastrostomy tube until the age of 17 and has issues with cerebral palsy, shunted hydrocephalus, vision impairment, asthma and processing. The hydrocephalus and cerebral palsy both affect Tim’s brain and his body movements. He has increased fatigue and stiffness as well as issues with brain / body communication. Remarkable that this young man is influential both in the pool and outside the pool.
"Don't let anyone tell you that you can't do something. You never know what you can achieve until you try." – Tim “Disko” Disken

Tim’s Career Achievements Say It All

2018 Commonwealth Games (Gold Coast)

S9 100m freestyle     Gold medallist 

SB8 100m breaststroke     Gold medallist ​

2016 Rio Paralympics

S9 100m freestyle     Gold medallist
S9 50m freestyle        Silver medallist
SM9 200m IM            Bronze medallist
Men’s 4 x 100m free relay    Fifth

Tim is currently full time at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra, and has been full time since 2015. He is in the Australia NTC squad, being coached by Yuriy Vdovychenko.

2015 IPC World Championships (Glasgow, Scotland)

Bronze Medal Australian Men's 4 by 100 metres freestyle relay team
4th Australian Men's 4 x 100m metres medley relay team
4th S9 50m freestyle
5th SB8 100m breaststroke
6th S9 400m freestyle
7th SM9 200m Individual Medley
9th S9 100m backstroke

2014 Para Pan Pacific Championships (Pasadena, USA)

Gold Medallist SB8 100m breaststroke
Bronze Medallist S9 400m freestyle​

2012 – 2015 Pacific School Games (School Sport Australia Swimming Championships)

Team Vic Flagbearer
Male Multi Class Swimmer of the Meet

Gold 16-19 years:
50m Backstroke
50m Breaststroke
100m Freestyle
100m Backstroke
100m Breaststroke
100m Butterfly
200m Individual Medley
200m Freestyle
200m Breaststroke

Silver 16-19 years:
400m Freestyle
50m Butterfly
50m Freestyle
Mixed 200m Freestyle Relay

Bronze 16-19 years:
200m Backstroke

Tim’s Other Achievements:

Current world record holder SB8 50 m breaststroke short course
2014 and 2015 Australian Men’s Multi Class champion 50 m backstroke
Swimming Victoria Inclusion Ambassador
Awarded Swimming Victoria President’s Trophy 2015 as most outstanding Victorian competitor
Awarded Swimming Victoria Multi Class Swimmer of the Year 2016
Swimming Australia scholarship holder to train full time at Australian Institute of Sport towards Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020 (September 2015 ongoing)
October 2016 Glenallen Special School in Glen Waverley named their swimming pool the Tim Disken Pool in honour of Tim’s achievements in Rio and while he was a student at the school
Finalist for Victorian Institute of Sport  Elite Athlete with a Disability Award for 2016
Finalist Vicsport Victorian Male Athlete of the Year 2016
January 2017 awarded Order of Australia Medal for service to sport in Rio
Qualified for World Championships team for IPC World championships in Mexico (September 30th to October 7th)​