Recently, we got the chance to delve deeper into the Extraordinary Woman that is, Stephanie Rice. Her extremely honest and open nature allowed us all to identify with the triple Olympic gold medalist more than we first thought possible. We certainly can’t wait to see her at our Feed The Beast Talk on October 31st, don’t miss out grab your tickets now!
1. What are three of your favourite traits about yourself:
a. I approach life in a way that makes sure I often check in with myself. I always ensure that I do things based on my values and what’s right for my journey.
b. I believe I am very empathetic towards those around me and,
c. I like to make sure people feel included and welcome.
2. When you were a teenager, can you recall a time that you found challenging?
I always struggled through primary school because I was shy, which meant I never felt included, and I guess during high school that continued a little bit.
As my training continued, I often missed parties and other social events, and even my school formal, which meant that I didn’t really ‘fit in’ in the traditional sense.
Class was always fine, but for me morning tea and lunch breaks was where I couldn’t really relate to my peers, who were on a different journey to the one that I was on. I guess I found it hard to feel understood – I had a different goal, but in the end I loved it!
3. What advice would you give to young girls who are feeling similar things to this?
Because I was on a different journey I didn’t have a support network at school, however my swimming friends became an integral part of my support network, as we understood eachother. It’s important to find people who can relate to you and understood & support your goals. These sorts of people help keep you focused through challenging times and are there for you to celebrate the successes
4. Have you ever experienced others doubting your ability?
Yes, but it never hurt or disheartened me. I always knew I would be an Olympian; it was something I wanted and was capable of achieving, so at school my vision for my future was clear – I could see it. The hard part is when others don’t see your vision and don’t believe that you are capable. For example, my school didn’t support me with a sporting scholarship. I even had my teacher say I wouldn’t be an Olympian, as I didn’t have the correct ‘body type’. Like I said though, while this didn’t hurt me, I was still left extremely confused, because I knew I would get there.
5. What would you say to young girls who are experiencing similar attitudes?
I think when you’re young you have a real inner connection to yourself, and I think sometimes as people get older they tend to stray away from that inner knowing, purpose and passion.
It’s so important to continue to listen to that inner voice guiding you, and if/when people cast doubts on you, remember that what people say about you says more about them than it does about you. Any criticism or negative comments you get, especially on social media, just remember to stay true to yourself.
6. Is there something you know now that you wish you knew as a young teen?
I truly believe that everything happens for a reason. I wish I understood earlier that obstacles are the biggest blessing. To me, it is the universe, god, whatever you want to call it, telling us that we need to work on this.
I am truly grateful that I spent the energy and time on myself, working through challenges rather than giving up, incredible opportunities always arise when you come out the other side.
7. What has been the hardest mental challenge to date?
The hardest thing for me came after swimming. Trying to discover who I am without swimming, without awards and achievement and asking myself “who I am? … Who is Stephanie Rice?”
This is a huge issue in today’s world as people often base their self-worth on external achievements such as career, money, sporting awards, credentials etc. And the problem with that is if those things are taken away what’s left? When we realise that we are loved, supported and enough just as we are, then magic really happens.