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Sailor Amelia Catt among 16 Thrive with Pride athlete ambassadors

Published Fri 17 Feb 2023

Sixteen athletes based in all corners of the country have made a commitment to help make sport a more inclusive place after being appointed as 2023 AIS Thrive with Pride ambassadors.

The program will see the rainbow athletes and allies, including former Australian Sailing Squad athlete Amelia Catt, drive LGBTIQ+ inclusion initiatives within their sporting communities over the next six months.

Now in its second year the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) has once again engaged the expertise of Pride in Sport and Proud 2 Play to work alongside the athletes to ensure they feel equipped and empowered to be role models in this space.

Catt is excited to be a part of the program, stating it’s important for people within the LGBTQI+ community to feel seen and supported.

“It’s great to have the support of the Australian Institute of Sport in backing high performance athletes as it is so important to have LGBTQI+ visibility within sailing and sport in general,” Catt began.

“Just to know that you don’t have to hide your authentic self in order to perform at a high level, that in fact, it’s the opposite.

“This program is important because there are lots of people who are gender diverse and queer in our community and to see themselves represented in their sport is such a powerful thing.”

Australian Diamonds player Ruby Bakewell-Doran is one of four Queensland-based athletes to be selected into the program and is passionate about creating safe sporting environments for all ages.

“For me being part of the Thrive with Pride Program is a step towards creating spaces where people really feel like they belong and are free to express themselves as they truly are.”

“Authenticity should never be hindered - it’s what makes us go from good to great. And as an ally, I want to help empower people in the LGBTQI+ community to bring their whole selves, in spaces that will always have their backs.”

Sprint Cyclist Kalinda Robinson echoed this and is determined to improve the experience for the next generation of athletes.

“As a young athlete growing up in a rural area with discrimination highly prevalent, LGBTQ+ representation in sport gave me hope that I might one day have the courage to live my truth.”

“My aspiration in putting myself forward for the Thrive with Pride Program was to provide younger athletes with more representation so that they might be brave enough to live true to their identity, and to educate others in the creation of a safe and supportive community.”

More information about the program can be found here.

2023 AIS Thrive with Pride ambassadors:

  • Alyssa West, Water polo Australia, South Australian Sport Institute
  • Amelia Catt, Sailing, West Australian Institute of Sport
  • Charlotte McShane, Triathlon, NSW Institute of Sport
  • Greta Hayes, Hockey, NSW Institute of Sport
  • Heath Thorpe, Gymnastics, NSW Institute of Sport
  • Kalinda Robinson, Cycling, South Australian Sport Institute
  • Katerina Paul, Snow, Victorian Institute of Sport
  • Kaylia Stanton, Netball, Victorian Institute of Sport
  • Maria Strong, Athletics, Victorian Institute of Sport
  • Matthew Mitcham, Diving, NSW Institute of Sport
  • Natalya Diehm, BMX, Queensland Academy of Sport
  • Nikki Ayers, Rowing, ACT Academy of Sport
  • Poppy Starr Olsen, Skateboarding, NSW Institute of Sport
  • Rowie Webster, Water polo, Victorian Institute of Sport
  • Ruby Bakewell-Doran, Netball, Queensland Academy of Sport
  • Serena Bonnell, Bowls, Queensland Academy of Sport