Paralympians an inspiration to us all!

Before Kieran Ault-Connell and Russell Short went to Paralympic Games in Athens 2004, a Grade 6 student from Moorabbin Primary School wrote a letter to the Victorian Institute of Sport.

Here is what she wrote:

Most people think a hero is someone like Superman or Batman, but I think a hero is a person who puts their heart into it, no matter how hard it gets, like these two people I'm talking about. 

Russell Short and Kieran Ault-Connell are two men in the Paralympics because of their disabilities, however this has not stopped them from showing us what courage is all about. 

On the 30th of August, on Monday afternoon, Russell Short (whose friends call him Russ) came to our school. He showed us his gold medals he won at the Sydney 2000 Paralympics, in discus (setting the World Record) and in shot put. Russell explained, to be a good athlete you must put in lots of hard work. Russ trained 3 times a day 7 days a week. The amazing thing is that Russell has only got 2% vision! 

On the day of our school's Mini-Olympic Games, Kieran Ault-Connell came to speak to us in the school hall. Kieran told us about his life as a boy and as a Paralympian. I was enormously intrigued with his story. He told us that when he was little, he thought everybody had a "dodgy" right hand, just like him. But, as he became older, he became aware that this was not so. His mum told him that everybody is good at something. Kieran discovered he loved to throw things. So he took up javelin and running and joined a club. Years later, he joined the Victorian Institute of Sport, training as hard as he could. This resulted in him being selected for the Sydney Paralympics, his first Paralympic Games. He came back with two gold medals in relays (4x100 and 4x400) setting two World Records. He also won bronze in javelin. Not bad for a first Paralympic result!

Russell and Kieran were inspiring to our school students and have boosted my confidence for the future. Look at life as a challenge and hold back nothing. 

I can't wait to watch them both at the Paralympics in Athens next week. 

Stay up to date with our 'Remembering VIS at the Games' campaign here.

Are you interested in booking an inspirational VIS athlete speaker?

The Victorian Institute of Sport schools program was introduced on the back of the famous Moneghetti review of Physical and Sport Education in Victoria in the mid 1990s and has been running successfully for over two decades.

The athletes' message to the students emphasises the link between physical activity and wellness. Key topics include motivation, resilience, goal setting, coping with pressure and health/nutrition. The program is free of charge to Government schools.

To make a " Be Fit. Be Well" booking or enquire about the Virtual Program simply call VIS Reception on 03 9425 0000 or email ( OR click here for more information about our community programs. 

* COVID-19 Update: VIS Athletes are available for online appearances and please contact the VIS reception on +61 3 9425 0000 or email for further information. (Last updated on 16 June 2020)

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