Lizzie Simmonds is a former Team GB Olympic swimmer who is now Chair of her NOC’s AC.
With help from the NOC AC Activity Grant, Lizzie oversaw content projects that boosted the AC’s engagement with Team GB athletes.
Encourage your AC to learn more about the Activity Grant today and see how it can benefit you and your peers.
Ensuring that you, the athletes, are stakeholders within decision-making is really important, because decisions that are made in the sporting world ultimately impact you the most.
I competed in swimming at Beijing 2008 and London 2012 and retired in 2018. Around 2016, I began thinking about what I was going to do beyond my swimming career.
Athlete representation was something that stood out for me in terms of staying connected with the sporting world. Joining the Athletes’ Commission was something that I was very tentative about at first, but it’s become an amazing experience for me to be able to work with an incredibly diverse range of athletes across different sports.
Raising the AC’s profile
Ensuring that you, the athletes, are stakeholders within decision-making is really important, because decisions that are made in the sporting world ultimately impact you the most. We work closely with our NOC to ensure that your perspective is fed into every department within the organisation. As Chair of our AC, I also sit on our NOC’s Executive Board.
Our biggest challenge and opportunity as an AC is that we’re all very passionate as a group, but sometimes find it difficult to connect with the wider athlete community. Our objective over the next couple of years is to continue to raise our visibility and presence within Olympic sport in the United Kingdom, so that the athletes we represent know who we are, what we do, and how to get in touch if they want to share issues or concerns.
Find out more about the NOC Activity Grant and start your journey today!
I greatly benefitted from the opportunity to upskill through the Activity Grant and the athlete engagement initiatives.
Content is key
The idea to focus on content through our newsletter was two-pronged: to give the relevant information and updates to our athletes between Games cycles, and also to raise our visibility as a group.
We also worked in consultation with our NOC’s Athlete Services team on Games-related initiatives ahead of Tokyo and Beijing. In particular, we supported the “One Team GB” programme, which is our ethos and culture for when we come together across multiple sports at a Games. We brought our athlete perspective to those projects, created content and set up webinars and calls to bring athletes on the journey with Team GB.
Supporting these projects was a really valuable experience for me personally, and I greatly benefitted from the opportunity to upskill through the Activity Grant and the athlete engagement initiatives.
I was very proud to deliver on the One Team GB work, both in the newsletter but more so later on when we did the “Games Ready” sessions. There’s a lot of information for athletes ahead of a Games, and it’s an incredibly exciting time, especially for those athletes who are becoming Olympians for the first time. We ran these education sessions sport by sport to make it as bespoke as possible.
We also conducted an athlete survey after the Games, which was a great way to capture our team’s Games experience and helps inform us for the next cycle.
Take it to the next level
The feedback on our content has been really positive, but we’re still looking for more engagement opportunities. That’s part of why we’re applying for an Activity Grant again this year, to see how we can take it to the next level. We’re going through some ideas now; reviewing the newsletter and looking for even more opportunities to connect with our athletes.
An AC is a really important bridge between you and your NOC. We want to continue raising our visibility and presence as a representative group and are committed to finding positive and proactive ways to engage with athletes in the United Kingdom.
Want to benefit like Team GB’s AC? Learn more about the Activity Grant today.