NSWIS Celebrates the Careers of Seven Winter Sports Athletes

Posted on May 6, 2022 by

At the 2022 Snow Australia Awards, seven NSW Institute of Sport (NSWIS) athletes were recognised as they called time on their Olympic and Paralympic careers.

Sophie Ash, Sami Kennedy-Sim, Bobbi Kelly, James Matheson, Taylah O’Neill, Mel Perrine and Brodie Summers have all officially hung up their ski boots after the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic & Paralympic Games.

The seven NSWIS representatives, alongside Australian Paralympic Opening Ceremony flag bearer Mitch Gourley, were recognised with Snow Australia medals for their contribution to Australian winter sports.

Take a look at some of the incredible achievements these seven athletes managed over the course of their careers:

Sophie Ash

At just 25-years-old Sophie has retired from mogul skiing after becoming an Olympian, representing Australia at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games.

Sophie, with her sister Gabi Ash, became the first Australian sisters to compete on the same Australian Winter Olympic Team.

Sophie placed 16th overall in her Olympic debut, bowing out after final one.

Sophie is a talented animator and her film Start Gate has won awards and been featured in domestic and international film festivals.

Sami Kennedy-Sim

Three-time ski cross Olympian Sami Kennedy-Sim capped off her career with the honour of being Closing Ceremony Flag Bearer for the Australian Team at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games.

After suffering an infarct stoke at 24, Sami made a return to the sport to complete in two more Olympic campaigns.

Sami claimed her first world cup medal in 2017, collecting silver in Idre Fjall.

Sami managed an eighth-placed finish at the PyeongChang 2018 and Beijing 2022 Games.

As a member of the NSWIS Athlete Advisory Group from 2018 to 2022, Sami has made a significant contribution to the athlete experience at the Institute.

Bobbi Kelly

Bobbi Kelly is the sighted guide for Mel Perrine, competing at the Beijing 2022 Winter Paralympic Games with the world champion.

Mel & Bobbi won 12 medals on the world cup circuit and four medals at the 2019 World Para Alpine Skiing Championships.

Mel & Bobbi competed in the giant slalom and slalom events at Beijing 2022 and have both chosen to wrap up their careers after the Games.

James Matheson

Dual Olympian James Matheson has retired from moguls skiing at the age of 27.

James joined the Perisher Winter Sports Club’s moguls program in 2006 and was offered a scholarship with NSWIS in 2010, where he trained under Peter Topalovic to make his world cup debut in 2013.

James’ first Olympic campaign at the PyeongChang 2018 Games saw him finish in 14th position and he returned for a second Olympics at the Beijing 2022 Games.

James has completed a Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Sydney and hosts The Athlete Collective podcast, where he interviews other athletes and high performance sport personnel about their sporting careers and life after sport.

Taylah O’Neill

Taylah O’Neill became a dual Olympian at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games.

While her journey has seen her face many setbacks, the moguls skiier has made some great achievements throughout her career.

After taking part in her first world cup in 2010, Taylah went on to finish 5th at the 2012 FIS World Junior Championships and qualified for the Sochi 2014 Games, finishing in 16th place – reaching her Olympic goal of a top-20 finish.

Taylah suffered a ruptured ACL six months after the Sochi 2014 Games and focused on her studies while she started the rehabilitation process.

Taylah missed out on selection for the PyeongChang 2018 Games but set her sights on the Beijing 2022 Games.

Taylah tore her ACL for the second time in 2019 but was determined to persevere and qualified for the Beijing 2022 Games.

Despite yet another injury setback, Taylah took the start gate at the Beijing Games to become a dual Olympian, but was unable to finish her run due to continuing knee issues.

Taylah has completed a Bachelor of Media at UNSW and has secured a full-time job as an Account Coordinator at a Public Relations firm.

Mel Perrine

After winning two bronze medals at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Paralympics, Mel Perrine was named Ski and Snowboard Australia’s Paralympic Athlete of the Year and Female Para Athlete of the Year at the AIS Awards.

Mel raced in her fourth and final Paralympic Games at the Beijing 2022 Games with sighted guide Bobbi Kelly.

Mel was named co-captain of the Australian Team at the Games and carried the flag alongside Mitch Gourley at the opening ceremony.

The talented all-rounder was awarded the NSWIS Personal Excellence prize in 2018 for completing a Masters of Physiotherapy alongside her medal success. She had already obtained a Bachelor of Exercise Science in 2011 and a Master of Exercise and Sports Science in 2012.

Brodie Summers

28-year-old Brodie Summers hung up his ski boots in 2022 after the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games.

Brodie made his Olympic debut at the 2014 Sochi Games where he placed 13th after narrowly missing out on a spot in final 2 by 0.1 of a point. 

Brodie went on to qualify for his second Olympic Games at PyeongChang 2018 however in his final training session he flared up his knee injury and it was decided he would not line up for the event. 

Competing at the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games, Brodie finished with a top-ten finish in the men’s moguls – ranking tenth overall.

Brodie’s career highlights include his Olympic campaigns and silver medals at the 2020 Idre Fjäll World Cup and 2017 Thaiwoo World Cup.

Brodie was elected to the Australian Olympic Committee’s Athletes’ Commission in 2022.

The triple Olympian has also completed a Bachelor of Banking and Finance and hopes to begin a career in finance.

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