When you see an Olympic sportsperson standing proudly on the medal dais, you assume they have spent their entire lives training in that one sport to get to that point. But not Alisa Camplin.
When I saw Alisa speak at the Business Chicks Breakfast event, I was amazed at the drive and determination this multi-sport athlete exhibited. She set her sights on becoming an Olympian as a young girl and kept working at it until she got there. That takes guts!
If you look at her Wikipedia entry, you can see Alisa had been a successful gymnast and sailor before becoming an aerial skier. There was just eight years between Alisa approaching the Olympic Winter Institute of Australia about the possibility of becoming an aerial skier and winning gold for Australia in that event at the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics.
I was amazed by her commitment to her goal and mesmerised by the story she told about finding the right sport for her. Alisa’s story was both uplifting and motivating, but also sad as we watched video footage of her horrendous injuries (she won gold with two fractured ankles) and saw how she was bullied by other competitors. After being told more than a few times she wouldn’t succeed, Alisa’s resolve to succeed was evident.
Alisa retired from professional sport in 2006 and took up a corporate and motivational speaking career, as well as running a ski tour business. I almost thought nothing could get in this woman’s way, until she told us she lost her first child, Finnan, when he was just ten days old due to a congenital heart condition. True to form, Alisa and her husband, Oliver Warner, turned the tragic event around and started a charity, Finnans Gift, in his name to raise money to buy an echo-cardiology machine to scan children’s hearts http://www.bodyandsoul.com.au/health/health+news/alisa+camplin+on+the+loss+of+her+baby,13429.
I totally underestimated the type of person Alisa was, and the lengths she would go to reach her goal. It proves that you can’t judge a book by its cover.
And just to show us that this fabulous all-rounder woman had a wicked sense of humour, she got the entire room (suits and all) to stand up whilst she walked us through the mechanics of an aerial ski jump. I think it’s safe to say nobody else was going to be winning a medal in the sport.