What do tyres, school students and an Olympic superstar have in common?
If you said Tasmania, you'd be partially correct. Likewise, if your answer was inspiration, that would be on the money too.
Fresh from winning two gold, a silver and a bronze medal at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, Ariarne Titmus has returned to her home-city of Launceston to surprise students at her former school, share her success and provide encouragement through an inspirational question and answer session at a special assembly.
Ariarne, who was a Team Bridgestone Australia ambassador for the Games, was keen to return to Launceston, where her Olympic dreams were formed, and share her story with Year 7-10 students at St Patrick's College, before spending time with the school's swimming team.
"Giving back to the community is something I am so passionate about, and being able to return to St Patrick's and celebrate my Olympic Games success with them is important to help others realise that dreams are possible," Ariarne said.
"I wouldn't be an Olympic Gold medallist without the inspiration from some of my heroes and the motivation of those around me, and I'm proud to be able to help inspire the next generation through activities like this."
This is the second community focussed activity that Ariarne has carried out in collaboration with Worldwide Olympic and Paralympic Partner, Bridgestone, in line with the ethos of its 'Chase Your Dream' campaign.
Prior to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, Ariarne conducted a motivational session with her other former school, St Peters Lutheran College in Brisbane, to inspire the rising swimming stars ahead of local competitions, and conduct a workshop with two students – both of whom went on to win their events.
Ariarne Titmus talks to students at St Patrick's College in Launceston
"It's incredibly rewarding and humbling knowing that sharing my own story can make such a difference to others, and shape how they approach going about fulfilling their dreams in the same way I did. That's why I enjoy being part of Bridgestone's Chase Your Dream initiative," Ariarne added.
"It's great to have the support from and be able to collaborate with a company like Bridgestone that shares my passion for giving something back and wants to encourage others to chase their dreams."
St Patrick's College boasts a swim team of 45 students who compete in the competitive state-based schools competitions. According to principal, Tony Daley, the benefit of having Ariarne returning to the school goes beyond sporting achievements.
"Ariarne's visit means the world to our students and staff. It shows our current students who are passionate about sport that if they work hard and follow their dreams they too can succeed at the highest levels, Mr Daley said.
"I think it's always inspiring, but particularly in regional areas, for students to see someone from their own community succeeding on the world stage. Ariarne is an outstanding role model and represents the importance of youth engaging in sport and physical activity," he added.
Through investing in facilities and by partnering with Team Bridgestone Australia athlete ambassadors such as Ariarne, Bridgestone aims to encourage and inspire emerging athletes to 'Chase Your Dream' through a series of community-led projects that commenced in the lead up to Tokyo 2020, right through to the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 and beyond.
"To bring Bridgestone's Worldwide Olympic and Paralympic partnership to life in Australia, our hope was to take the 'Chase Your Dream' message to as many parts of the country as possible, and encourage and inspire Australians through meaningful activities just like this," said Bridgestone Australia & New Zealand Managing Director, Stephen Roche.
Throughout Bridgestone Australia's Tokyo 2020 activity, the tyre company has shown its commitment to making contributions to society though the refurbishment of a basketball court in Sydney's west with Tokyo 2020 Medallist Joe Ingles.
It also introduced a group of children in Perth to surfing through a surfing school with professional surfer Connor O'Leary, contributed to a state-of-the-art Athletics facility in Adelaide and hosted an intimate training session with Sydney 2000 Olympic Gold Medallist Cathy Freeman.
In addition, it conducted a wheelchair tennis workshop in Melbourne with Rio 2016 Paralympic Gold Medallist Heath Davidson, and the two inspiration school appearances with Ariarne.
The tyre company will continue to work locally towards this objective as part of its ongoing Worldwide Olympic and Paralympic partnership, with initiatives for the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 to be announced in the coming weeks.