Four-time Paralympian and six-time world record holder Ellie Cole has joined Sport Integrity Australia’s Athlete Advisory Group to provide an athlete voice on sport integrity issues.
The role of the Athlete Advisory Group, which includes 12 athletes from Olympic, Paralympic and professional sports, is to inform the Sport Integrity Australia policies and strategies which impact athletes, drawing on their insights into the pressures and influences that can threaten the integrity of sport.
With an incredible 17 Paralympic medals and an Order of Australia Medal, Cole is one of Australia’s most accomplished Paralympians. She says she chose to join the Group to help provide a safe, fair and inclusive environment for athletes from grassroots all the way to elite sport.
“As athletes we have a wealth of lived experience to provide to Sport Integrity Australia,” Cole says.
“The biggest challenge in this space is for athletes to have a comprehensive understanding of what currently threatens integrity,” she says. “Sport Integrity Australia do a fantastic job in educating its members on what these threats look like and how to mitigate these threats.”
When it comes to sport integrity Cole, who is also an Executive Member of the Australian Swimmers Association, is most passionate about member protection.
“I have a particular interest in protecting members of sporting organisations from bullying, intimidation, harassment and discrimination,” she says.
Sport Integrity Australia CEO David Sharpe says to truly understand the pressures within sports the agency needs to work closely in partnership with everyone who holds a piece to the puzzle – and that includes athletes.
“I couldn’t be happier to have Ellie on the Advisory Group,” Sharpe says. “She joins a team of athletes, all whom are leaders in their sport, to help us ensure that no one in sport is left behind.”
Sharpe says that the athletes’ voice has never been more important.
“Everything we do at Sport Integrity Australia is athlete-focused. Everything we do is about protecting athletes, and protecting the integrity of their sport – whether that’s on the national or international stage, or on a remote country ground or court.”
The Athlete Advisory Group
Ellie Cole, 4 x Paralympian, 6 x world record holder, Executive Member of the Australian Swimmers Association.
Bronwen Knox, 4 x Olympian (water polo), 2 x Olympic Bronze medallist, Sport Integrity Australia education presenter.
Damon Kelly, 2 x Olympian, 2 x National Champion, former Australian Weightlifting Federation board director.
Cassie Fien, Marathon runner. Won 2016 Oceania Half Marathon Championships. Sanctioned athlete.
Jenna O’Hea, Australian Opals Captain, Lifeline Mental Health Ambassador.
Jonathan Goerlach, Paralympic triathlete, 5 x Australian National Paratriathlon Champion, Member of World Triathlon Athlete Committee.
Katrina Fanning, most capped female rugby league player in the world when she retired. Board Member, Canberra Raiders & Australian Rugby League Indigenous Council.
Bronwen Downie, Olympic rower, 2 x World Rowing Championship Gold medallist. Former NSW State board member.
Blake Gaudry, 2 x Olympic trampolinist, 11x Australian National Champion, Athletes’ representative.
Tom Symonds, Rugby league player, Players Operations Manager at Rugby League Players Association.
Sam Poolman, Retired professional netball player, Board Member Australia Netball Players Association.
Eric Mackenzie, West Coast Eagles AFL player, AFL Players Association players’ delegate, International Testing Agency athlete ambassador.