Congratulations to Katie Kelly having returned from the Tokyo Paralympics in August, 2021, coming in at an impressive 6th place!
Katie is a client of R&M, Paralympic Gold Medallist (Rio de Jeneiro 2016), 2 x times World Champion, and Founder of Sport Access Foundation, which helps young Aussies with a disability to access sport!
Keep reading to find out more about her work!
The Power of Believing in Yourself
Katie Kelly OAM is widely known as a champion paraathlete and advocate for inclusion in sports.
The two-time Paralympian has a Gold medal, and she continues to compete in triathlons around the country, including Armidale’s Fun Run. She also has a 15-year career in sports marketing and has completed a Bachelor of Arts degree at Griffith University. Those
accomplishments are particularly remarkable given her unique set of circumstances.
At age 22, she was diagnosed with Usher’s Syndrome resulting in hearing and eyesight loss. But the obstacles didn’t end there.
As a teenager, she also found a lack of opportunity in regional areas for women and persons with disabilities in sports. She attributes her dedication to her sporting career and advocacy for more inclusion in sports to the same drive and commitment that pushed her to win Gold in Rio de Janeiro.
Getting into competition
“I have always been passionate about the role of sport for our health and well-being and the right for everyone to have access to sport. This passion started in my teenage years, which led me to work with local councils on accessibilty, and begin a sports marketing career. I have also been active in triathlons and contacted Triathlon Australia in 2015 to ask how I could still be involved in the sport despite being vision impaired. They said we are looking for an athlete to compete in the Rio Paralympics in 18 months’ time – would you be interested? I quickly moved to Canberra to train at the AIS and then found myself on the podium with a gold medal months later. After Rio, I thought I would like to keep going, so I trained for the following games in Tokyo 2021.”
Training & Commitment
“Being a professional athlete is a full-time job. For the Paratriathlon, I trained seven days a week, with Sundays being about recovery. Every day, I would do 4 hours of actual training time with about 2-3 sessions. I would start at 5 am for a 2-3 hour bike ride and swim in the afternoon. I would then spend the rest of the time doing physio and remedial treatments. Every decision you make revolves around training, which meant I missed out on many family events and trips home.”
Joy & gratitude in Tokyo
“Tokyo was five years of training compared to the four. Yet when we arrived, there was so much joy and support amongst the sporting community. It was just as good as any Olympic games. We were so grateful to be vaccinated and represent Australia during these challenging times. I think it was good that the games went ahead because we always need to move forward. There were also minor Covid-19 cases that didn’t impact the Japanese health system, and we had a sense that the locals seemed happy for the games to go ahead.”
Tips for the next generation
“Whatever the age, I would say that we all have our passions and thoughts of where we would like to go in life. Whether it be sport or the arts or whatever craving you may have. It is all about trying different things.”
Managing mental health
“The mental health side of things in sport is enormous. There is a lot of pressure and it takes work to remain strong. I think that we all have to invest in ourselves to be better people to those around us. How we wake up each day is essential – with good thoughts and a routine to make better decisions. I like to have a glass of water first up, then I exercise. I am a big believer in making a conscious decision to use your mind well. I like to meditate 5-10 minutes a day and try not to get distracted by social media. I also like to read and talk with others, whether it be over FaceTime or in person.”
Thank you Kelly!
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