Former Hockeyroo Rachael Lynch comes full circle as she brings her 2015 Performance Lifestyle award to life and joins the Victorian Institute of Sport as a member of staff.
As an elite athlete, Lynch developed an outstanding array of skills and a huge depth of experience and knowledge that she will now apply in her new role as a Performance Lifestyle Adviser at the VIS.
The dual Olympian, dual Commonwealth Games Gold medalist and World Cup Silver medalist played over 230 games for Australia and in 2019 was awarded the prestigious FIH World Goalkeeper of the year.
After playing for the Hockeyroos for 16 years, Lynch called time on her decorated international career in 2022.
The VIS stalwart has fondly been a part of the VIS family for almost 20 years, and whilst much of her recent time has been spent with the National Program in Perth, she has always been a very proactive VIS athlete.
A proud Victorian, Lynch moved back home to Melbourne in January 2023, and is excited to return to her home state.
“Despite being in Perth for almost 15 years, Melbourne has always been ‘home’ for me so it’s nice to be back here permanently. I’ve loved seeing my family more, my friends and re-joining the Victorian hockey community as both a player and a coach,” she said.
Lynch epitomises the VIS motto of “Success in Sport and Life”, working for over 10 years as a registered nurse, establishing her own business (STOMP Goalkeeping), she is also very active in the mental health space as an ambassador for RUOK? Day.
On and off the field, Lynch leads by example and inspires those around her to work to their best.
Now that she has hung up her pads, she is thrilled that she has managed to find a way to work in sport and share her knowledge and expertise with the next generation of athletes.
“I absolutely love sport and always have, so being able to work with Victoria’s best athletes and the VIS staff is amazing,” she said.
"I am passionate about mental health and finding balance with sport and life so I hope that I can share some of my experience through the PLA role. We have such a wide variety of sports at the VIS so it's very exciting to be a part of the growth that is happening here.”
“I also love that I now get to wear runners and activewear to work!” she added with a smile.
In 2021, Lynch was one of only 5 past and present Olympic athletes awarded Olympians for Life status via the World Olympians Association.
The Award honours those who have drawn on their experiences to make the world a better place by promoting the Olympic Values at every stage of their lives. Lynch was inducted for her selfless work as a nurse on the frontline of the fight against COVID-19 in Australia and her role as a mental health ambassador.
Lynch was also elected as member of the Australian Olympic Committee's Athlete's Commission in 2021 and will serve a minimum 4 years with the objective of advising the AOC Executive on all matters relating to the Olympic Movement from an athlete’s perspective.
No stranger to receiving awards, Lynch stood alongside CEO Anne Marie Harrison to accept the inaugural Win Well Award at the 2022 ASPAs – the Award recognised the VIS for embodying the vision of Australia’s 2032+ High Performance Sport Strategy: Inspiring Australians through our united pursuit to win well.
Lynch was the perfect representative to accept the award on behalf of the VIS athlete cohort, VIS CEO Anne Marie Harrison said;
"Rachael espouses so many qualities that make us proud of her and perfectly lives by the VIS' motto of success in sport and life."
In 2015 Lynch received the VIS Performance Lifestyle Award which is awarded to an athlete who has achieved personal excellence in their studies, career ambitions, and/or work setting whilst pursuing their dual sporting career.
She has now officially come full circle at the VIS and is part of the VIS Performance Lifestyle Team and will support the next generation of world class athletes to pursue success in sport and life.
“As a world-class hockey athlete, Rachael approached her preparation for life after sport with a similar determination. She developed her dual career identity as a nurse while she was competing at the highest level in sport,” said Performance Lifestyle Manager Leesa Gallard.
“Since retiring she has continued to tap into VIS Performance Lifestyle support to explore her options, to seek conversations in a variety of industries and to take up learning and engagement opportunities across the VIS, AIS, and the AOC. These have all enabled Rachael to build her sense of self and her desired future path,” Gallard added.
Rachael’s on and off field experiences make her a natural fit to understand the many facets of being an athlete. The adviser role also supports athletes along transition points in their sporting journey. Rachael’s creation of STOMP Goalkeeping, an online hockey coaching business in 2018 is a perfect example of a successful athlete career transition.
“As a specialised position and minority in a team of 16, training is often focused on field players. My dream is for all goalkeepers to feel empowered, supported and to get the targeted training they need and deserve,” said Lynch. “That's why I started STOMP Goalkeeping, a guided goalkeeper training program covering all skills, techniques, mental approach and more."
We are thrilled that Rachael is now part of the VIS in a professional capacity in the Performance Lifestyle team.