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WEEK 7: Dr. Bridie O’Donnell

This week we welcomed Dr. Bridie O’Donnell, Director, Office for Women in Sport & Recreation, Victorian State Government

13.30 – 14.15 pm NZT, Friday 22 May 2020

Over recent weeks, there has been much discussion about the similarities and differences between New Zealand and Australia when it comes to lockdown measures to fight COVID-19. Much of our professional sport is connected across the Tasman, and we have similar sporting structures in place across all levels from elite to grassroots. Therefore, it’s a great moment to catch-up with Dr. Bridie O’Donnell to understand how Australian sport has been faring during the pandemic and what plans are in place for recovery and rebuild. In particular, we’re looking forward to understanding how Victoria has moved to support women’s sport, protecting the momentum built since its landmark ‘Inquiry into Women and Girls in Sport and Active Recreation’ report was published in November 2015. 

Dr Bridie O’Donnell graduated Valedictorian from the University of QLD Medical School and was awarded the JRS Lahz prize for Most Outstanding Intern of the Year. She competed as an elite rower and an Ironman triathlete while working as a junior doctor, and then gave up working full time to race in Europe as a professional cyclist in Europe and the US from 2008-2012, working part time every summer as an ICU Fellow and Orthopaedic assistant to fund her cycling career. Bridie represented AUS three times at cycling world championships, and then returned home to Melbourne to work at the Epworth hospital as a behaviour change physician. In 2016, she broke the UCI Women’s Hour World Record riding 46.882km at sea level. In 2017 Dr O’Donnell was appointed the inaugural head of the Office for Women in Sport and Recreation and in 2018 she published ‘Life and Death – a cycling memoir.’ Her role in the Victorian Government is leading the first office of its kind in Australia and directs investment into the community to level the playing field for women and girls in sport and recreation.


This week’s moderator: journalist and commentator, Zoë George!

For week seven, we are excited to announce a new guest moderator!

Zoë George is a versatile senior journalist with Stuff, currently contributing to the sports and business sections. Before making the move to print in 2020, Zoë spent seven years with Radio NZ, working in music and on major shows producing some of the biggest names in public broadcasting. She also produced and presented the Fair Play podcast, made in association with LockerRoom, and Radio NZ, covering issues related to women in sport. She was a finalist for long form sports journalist of the year in 2018 for her coverage of issues ranging from pay equality to sexual violence prevention through and in sport. Zoë co-hosted RNZ’s Not Your Average Cricket Show for two seasons and is a regular sports commentator on RNZ Nights with Bryan Crump. She also has a background in international sports administration, travelling the world with international men’s and women’s cricket teams as a team and communications manager. She has a keen interest in sports academia too, with a focus on sport and its sociological impacts, addressing issues from funding and media coverage to access for LGBTQI+ communities and those with disabilities. Her work can be found across, Radio NZ, LockerRoom and The Spinoff.

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