The Pierre de Coubertin Awards, held on Friday 22 June, saw 185 Victorian Senior Secondary School Students and State Sporting Association athletes acknowledged with the prestigious award by Mack Horton OAM (Olympic swimming gold medallist) and Jude Maguire (School Sport Victoria CEO). It is a truly honourable award and exceptional evening including parents, learning about new initiatives, athletes and recognising outstanding student pieces.
The annual Awards Ceremony returned to the Melbourne Cricket Ground, a fitting venue with much Olympic history as the home of the Melbourne 1956 Olympic Games. Named after the founder of the Modern Olympic Games, the Pierre de Coubertin Award recognises students who demonstrate academic excellence and sporting prowess whilst exemplifying the Olympic values. Each award recipient must participate in sport and display the Olympic values, in particular, good sportsmanship.
This year, Staughton College nominated VCAL student Justin Aiulu for this award. Justin has been a keen participant in all aspects of the Sport program at Staughton College representing the school in athletics, volleyball, AFL, and rugby. Leading with a positive attitude and exemplary sportsmanship, Justin has been an exceptional role model for junior students. As part of the nomination process, Justin was required to submit a written response to the question “Which Olympic athlete has been a role model to you and how?”
Below is his response.
Wilma Rudolph’s words speak to me because for someone to be surrounded by a variety of people who look up to me when they are in need, her words comfort me to believe I can be just as good – not only as an athlete, but the type of person she was. I don’t set out to win the gold. I just do what I think is right, and try to be the best me I can be.
Although I’ve never been seriously ill, I grew up surrounded by it my entire life. Learning that Ms. Rudolph suffered from pneumonia, scarlet fever, and had her left leg paralysed at the age of 4 because of polio, amazed me. There is only a certain amount of obstacles someone can overcome, and to go through life the way she did and still end her career not only acknowledged in the Black Sports Hall of Fame in 1980, but also in the US Hall of Fame in 1983 is inspiring. She became a remarkable role model to females and became the first American female to win three gold medals in 1960’s. To be like her is impossible, but I hope and dream to someday hold a gold medal in my hand and tell myself, “I did it”.