Premier’s be active Challenge ambassadors in action at the Tokyo Games

The 2020 Olympics was one for the history books, with athletes overcoming many challenges on the road to Tokyo including a postponed Games date, training in lockdown, quarantine periods and not being able to compete against their international rivals in the 12+ months prior.

Kiana Elliott at the Olympics

Watching our athletes triumph when faced with such difficult circumstances was moving for all of us and no doubt gave younger generations some additional motivation to get moving so they too might end up on the world’s biggest stage one day.

Some of the South Australians who donned the green and gold would have been recognisable to thousands of students around the state who are taking part in the Premier’s be active Challenge (PbaC).

The PbaC requires participants to do 60 minutes of physical activity, for five days of the week, for at least four weeks.

Olympians Kiana Elliott, Dane Sampson, Christopher McHugh and Bernadette Wallace are all ambassadors for this initiative, inspiring children to incorporate more physical activity in their everyday lives.

Weightlifter Kiana Elliott is living proof that finding ways to be active in your younger years, can turn into something much bigger later in life.

“So I first got into weightlifting by accident really – I was about 15 and I’d just come out of retiring from gymnastics,” Kiana said.

“It had been about a year and half out of that sport and I was just trying to find something to do that would keep me fit and healthy - mentally healthy as well – so I ended up in the local gym and that was my first exposure to weightlifting.”

This marked the start of Kiana’s road to Tokyo, where she went on to make her Olympic debut in the Women’s 64kg Weightlifting event.

Kiana was thrilled with her performance at the Games, ranking first in Group B and setting a new Oceania and Australian Record with a 101kg PB Snatch.

Shooting athlete Dane Sampson competed in his third Games in Tokyo and for him it was all about performing to the best of his abilities.

“My goal for Tokyo is to give the best performance I can,” Dane said.

After qualifying for the Olympics at the very last minute, Beach Volleyballer Christopher McHugh partnered with Damien Schumann in their very first Olympic Games.

“Excited and overwhelmed to be selected to the Australian Olympic Team for the Tokyo Olympics!” Christopher said.

Years of hard work and dedication got Christopher to this point where he started playing mini volleyball in year 4 and from there his passion for the sport continued to grow.

For canoe sprint athlete Bernadette Wallace, the Olympics had been a long time coming as she missed selection in the 2016 Rio Olympics due to a melanoma skin cancer scare.

“Long story short, I took some time off and I wasn’t sure if I was retired or not,” Bernadette said.

“Once I knew that my scans were clear and I was good to go, that grew a lot of love for the sport again inside me.”

Originally competing as a kayaker, Bernadette made the switch to canoe sprint so she could make history in the first ever Women’s Canoe Sprint event to take place at the Olympics.

“Josie (my canoe sprint partner) was also a kayaker before this, and we’ve both changed to be able to take this opportunity because it is such a huge opportunity, to be the first female Australian sprint canoers.”

With the 2020 Olympics wrapped up, we now turn our attention to the Paralympics which will be another outstanding showcase of athletes blowing us away with amazing performances.

We can’t wait to watch PbaC Ambassador and para-cyclist Meg Lemon in action at the Games, inspiring the next generation to get on the bike and see where it may take them.