A remarkable comeback: Monash student Brodie Summers prepares for 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang

Brodie celebrating a return to the snow. Picture: Brodie Summers

Whilst gearing up for the 2018 Winter Olympics Games in PyeongChang, Monash Business Specialist student Brodie Summers had his preparation take a turn for the worst.

In September 2017, Brodie was landing a routine jump when his knee gave way, tearing his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).

Traditionally, it takes 9-12 months to fully recover from a torn ACL, including surgery and rehab. However, Brodie had torn his ACL only 5 and a half months out from the Games, casting a cloud over his Olympic dream.

Brodie was frantically figuring out whether or not the Olympics were still within reach. “Enter the stress,” said Brodie, as the severity of his injury set in and his hard work began to unravel

The motivation to make the seemingly impossible, possible, was the hallmark of Brodie’s remarkable comeback.

“The mark of a great athlete is one that doesn’t make excuses, instead using adversity as motivation to work even harder to prove how good they are,” said Brodie.

He gave a lot of credit to his “amazing team,” who both matched his efforts and never lost faith in him. He jokingly said that he and his trainer lived in the gym at one point during the recovery process.

Brodie Hitting the gym after surgery. 
Picture: Brodie Summers.
Brodie noted 5 milestones on his road to recovery:

1. A successful reconstructive surgery.

2. “Ditching those damn crutches,” and recovering his movement.

3. The first time he got back on snow in Japan at the three-month mark post-surgery (this one was very important)

4. Trusting his knee to handle the load of landing a jump in a ski boot again – “I’m happy to report this was a success despite my being quite nervous given how close it was to surgery.”

5. Getting back into a mogul course and skiing it from top to bottom. “I only just did this for the first time about a week ago in Colorado and I have had a huge smile on my face ever since!”

All the pain and hard work paid off with Brodie’s selection in the Australian Olympic Games team, which will be his second Games.

Whilst Brodie is mindful of what his body has gone through over the last 5 months, his mentality and approach to the Olympics has not and will not change. Focusing solely on his execution and letting the judges take care of the rest.

Brodie practicing his jumps on the water before
going on the snow. Picture: Brodie Summers.
“It’s not an ‘ideal’ lead up to the Games, but I don’t really care. I plan to compete at my best regardless of what I’ve dealt with in the past few months.”

“The only expectation I put on myself for the Games is to complete runs that I’ll be happy with. I know that when I ski well I am competitive, so all I need to think about is run execution.”

However, Brodie has high expectations for a strong Australian Mogul’s team with the women’s team boasting the reigning World Champion Britt Cox and the men’s team having Matt Graham who is the current world number 3.

We at Monash University may be a little biased when we say that we hope Brodie completes the dream comeback and takes out the gold medal! 

Brodie kicks-off his campaign February 9 at 11:45am (PyeongChang time) and 1:45pm (Melbourne Time).

Monash University wishes Brodie all the best at the Winter Olympics!

We are right behind you! #monashpride 

Evonne Goolagong: moulding the next generation of Indigenous athletes

As you shield your eyes from the glare of the searing sun, you’ll see a group of 29 young Indigenous athletes shaping their future with each swing of the racquet.

Tennis great Evonne Goolagong is making it her mission to ‘positively influence’ the future of the next generation of Indigenous youth. Through her tennis program/camp and foundation, Evonne promotes better health, education and employment.

Head coach, Anzac Leidig, has been coaching with the foundation for 14 years, combining his passion for mentoring young Indigenous kids with tennis.

Anzac reflected that the kids love the week because “they get to spend a full six days with their idol Evonne,” someone they have heard so much about from their parents and grandparents.

The week also involves a lot of activities, “It’s a real growth experience for them.” Evonne organises for the kids to go to the Australian Open and not only watch world-class tennis, but also play on Rod Laver. “It’s a highlight of their year.”

“You can see that they’re all really excited when we see them. And often at the end of camp, you’ll notice that they’re all a bit teary because they’ve made so many connections. It’s a great stepping stone to positively start off the year.”

One of the kids, 12-year-old Asia said, “[the] camp means everything to me, at first I thought I may be too young and other older kids would get the spot, but it is a privilege to be here. It means I can improve my tennis and be a better person.”

However, the program extends much further than the 29 kids who are fortunate enough to spend a week away in Melbourne. Anzac explains that the foundation holds ‘come and try’ days at a grass-roots level. They go around the country promoting and encouraging Indigenous kids to come down to give tennis a go and have fun.

“We put on a free healthy lunch for them, provide tennis racquets, shirts and bottles from Evonne,” said Anzac.

“We encourage the Indigenous kids to be good role models in their communities, stay in school and eat healthy. From there we hand out some scholarships for free coaching to kids that have shown a good attitude and stayed in school, continually returning to those areas assisting the kids that have been keen to make the most of their opportunities.”

Monash University is proud to partner with the Evonne Goolagong Foundation to create this opportunity for young people to enjoy an awesome week away and with great facilities. We are right behind all the kids that have gone through the program and with several national players at the camp, we have our fingers crossed that we are helping mould Australia’s next grand-slam champion.

Daniel D'Hotman Blog 2

Today was the third day of the Last Degree as we begin our journey from 89 degrees South to the Pole. Our team of 7 has been gradually increasing mileage; we travelled 8.8 miles today (7.5 nautical miles) with temperatures around -20. A warm day in Antarctica!

The most difficult aspect of this journey from a physical standpoint is the altitude. Whilst the Polar plateau is around 3000m above sea level, a gravitational vortex at the Pole means the altitude can feel more like 4500m. What does this mean for us? Less oxygen, which in turn makes everything more difficult. To be precise, it equates to around 50-75% of the oxygen we experience at sea level. I was fortunate enough to train for this at altitude centres in Melbourne and Vancouver. But in Antarctica, the altitude is combined with temperatures reaching -40 and bitter winds of 30 knots, all together making for a gruelling day.

As we walk over the great white plane of the Poler plateau, I find myself reflecting on the inherent difficulties associated with Polar travel. Whether it be getting dressed, going to the bathroom, or even getting a drink of water, Antarctica makes everything a mighty challenge. What Barney, Kyle and Martin have gone through in travelling more than 50 days and 500 miles across this desolate landscape is truly remarkable. I'm looking forward to meeting up with my close friend Barney soon, and celebrating with him as he completes an historic feat - the first expedition to the South Pole using only renewable energy.

This expedition has also prompted me to reflect on a number of aspects of leadership, particularly from our guides. We have two guides: Devon, a rugged Canadian, and Johanna, a Norwegian who holds the record for the fastest solo trip to the South Pole (700 miles in 38 days!). Every day Devon and Johanna balance the different skills and desires of our group against overall progress to the expedition goal of reaching the Pole, which means they have to know when to push us harder and when to take a break. This is a fascinating dynamic that plays out in the harshest environment on earth, where making the wrong decision can lead to exhaustion, injury, and potential evacuation by helicopter.

Finally, we must remember that this mission does not end when we reach the South Pole. All of us have a role to play in translating Barney and the SPEC team's bravery into tangible change through the upcoming ClimateForce campaign. If you would like to help clean up 326 million tonnes of carbon, please visit 2041.com for real solutions that can be implemented in your life.

All the best and talk soon.

Daniel D'Hotman

Daniel D’Hotman Blog 1

Hello all!

My name is Daniel and I recently finished my final medical exams in Australia. I’m currently training in British Columbia, Canada, for the Last Degree, where I will join the final 60 miles of the South Pole Energy Challenge with five others.

Barney Swan and I met 13 years ago, in Far North Queensland, Australia. Since then we have remained best friends. Despite living on opposite sides of the world, we have travelled on 3 continents and starting a business together. When the opportunity arose to join Barney on SPEC, the ultimate adventure, and work towards improving renewable energy technologies, a cause we are both passionate about, I did not hesitate.

It is an enormous honour to join Barney in Antarctica, for both the physical challenge the Last Degree presents, and the exciting opportunities that SPEC offers to promote cooperation between private industry, individuals and governments to clean up our energy sector.

Upon returning to Australia, I want to maximise the impact of 2041’s education program to bring SPEC’s message to 20,000 Australian children and a variety of businesses and corporates. Australia is a small country, but we have one of the highest levels of green house gas omissions per capita globally. This must change. We want SPECs education program to empower the students of today to make better decisions - for their children's sake.

As a young person, I am shocked by projections of sea level rise from NASA and others. It is particularly concerning to see the devastating impact that this will have on the developing world. The enormous social and human cost aside, the energy choices we make now will impart hundreds of millions of dollars in costs to future generations. This money could be used on healthcare, schools or public transport; instead, we are wasting it for short-sighted economic gain today. I want to be part of the solution to changing the fossil fuel paradigm. SPEC is an important step on this journey.

I’ve attached a few photos below, from training in an altitude chamber to cross country skiing in Whistler. Every day I train, I think of Barney and the other brave members of SPEC who are marching 10 times the journey that I will embark on. Their phenomenal strength and courage allows me push the personal limits of my endurance. Let’s keep them in our thoughts, and hope for a safe and successful end to this amazing expedition.

Finally, I wanted to thank all of the extraordinarily generous donors who allowed my dream of attending this expedition to become a reality, including Judith Neilson, Monash University, The Boston Consulting Group, and Lululemon Athletica.

I’ll be checking in again in Punta Arenas before heading South. See you all in the Big White! 


AUG Team Profile - Golf

How has your team gone in the past?

The team came 8th in 2015, and then we backed it up with a 2nd place showing in 2016. 

How is the team looking?:

The team is looking good! We're all incredibly excited to go one better than last year and have gelled well as a team so far, with the inclusion of team rookies Callum Bakken, Sean Smith and Ben Fynmore. Ben took out the team long drive contest on an indoor golf simulator with a 265m whack, and it will be fun to see how he goes on the Palm Meadows Golf Course, this years venue.

The goal of your team?

Ultimately, the goal will be to be competitive and to improve on our position from last year. Golf is an individual sport by and large and the opportunity to compete as a team doesn't come along very often, hence, it is important to us that we enjoy the tournament and each others company, get to know our playing partners and contemporaries from other unis and represent Monash in the best way possible.

Who are the teams to beat in the competition?

RMIT is always competitive and they beat us to top spot last year, so we will be wary of the threat they present. However, we wont know the strength of the competition until we get to the Gold Coast, as it varies greatly from year to year.

Who to look out for?

One player to watch for sure would be our star rookie, Callum Bakken. We expect big things from him and am excited to see how he goes in his first AUG appearance. As always, sweet swinging Will Kendall will pose a serious threat if his putter gets hot, as will last years top performer, Cameron Kaye. The team is also excited to see how lefty Sean Smith and our resident bomber, Ben Fynmore perform. 

Good luck and bring home the GOLD!!!🏆😍 #monashpride

#bleedblue #MonashGolf #teammonash

AUG Team Profile - Men's Football

Men’s football has been on an upward trajectory over the last several years. Finishing 5th in Sydney (2014), despite comfortably beating the eventual champions in the group stage, 3rd on the Gold Coast (2015), and 2nd in Perth (2016). The team unfortunately lost to the University of Melbourne in the gold medal match last year and are looking for revenge.

The team is looking to match last year’s result. However, unlike last year they will be pushing to convert a birth in the gold medal match into a victory. Considering the talent of the squad, it would be a disappointing outcome to not, at the very least, walk away with a medal.

Football has always been a tight competition, especially when the Games are on the Gold Coast and teams bring stronger squads. Monash will look out for the traditional powerhouses of university football, the University of Melbourne and the University of Sydney. However, overlooking teams like UNSW, VU, UTS and La Trobe could be costly.

This year’s team is the strongest in recent history with many talented players fighting for their place in the starting XI. The entire squad of 19 is good enough to be in the starting XI, highlighting the strength of the team. In addition, Monash has welcomed the return of Coach Brian Vasey, who brings a wealth of experience coaching at the top level in Victorian football.

In such a strong squad it is tough to highlight just one or two players. However, look out for one of our beloved players called Simba. He has been known to take teams apart with his speed and dribbling ability. The football team has added several strong new players, keep an eye on Tony, notorious for his ability to embarrass his teammates, he has been unreal in training. Also watch out for Ryan who's been nothing but class in the middle of the field.

Good luck to the boys as they push for a gold medal! #monashpride #bleedblue #teammonash

AUG Team Profile - Men's Futsal

Men’s futsal have a long history of success. In the past three years the men's team have won Gold (2014), Silver (2015) and Bronze (2016) at AUG. In addition to Silver (2015) and Bronze (2016) at SUG.

The team is currently going through a transition period. The ‘golden generation’ have passed on the baton to the new generation, with no futsal players from last year’s team in the squad. The new team has been working hard to form the chemistry needed to succeed in futsal. They have been putting in 100% effort with training and picking things up extremely quickly, they are shaping up to be a strong and competitive side.

The team has two goals. The team wants to make it to the gold medal match and take out the competition. However, they are also aiming to develop a strong foundation, to allow them to extend their abilities into future competitions representing Monash.

Men's futsal for the last few years have been dominated by Monash, RMIT and ECU all three of these teams have been extremely competitive and produced spectacular games of futsal and finals to be involved in. However, like the Monash team, the team is expecting a few changes to the other team lists this year.

This year we have three young guns to watch out for. Firstly the new GK Samir he comes from a strong futsal background and will be for sure one of the best in the competition. We also have two new players Matt Bucello and George Cummins who have shown to dominate the court and produce some great plays.

Check out our latest facebook event photo album: