4 April, 2022
Advice from Olympian warmly welcomed
MORE than 30 guests relished listening to two-time Olympian and five-time Commonwealth Games competitor Deborah Acason at the Somerset Regional Council’s recent International Women’s Day event at the Kilcoy Showgrounds.
Having won medals in the traditionally male-dominated sport of weightlifting, Acason provided tips and shared many of her experiences of pushing through obstacles.
With a sporting career spanning about 20 years, Acason represented Australia in athletics and weightlifting, and also represented Queensland in rugby union and track cycling.
Acason said ‘being labelled can have a big impact on a person’ and that everyone had been labelled at some stage, whether it was positive or negative.
Acason emphasised four values that stuck with her.
“Have a go, listen to the right voices, things that are worth doing are hard, and stick to your convictions,” she said.
The middle child of five, Acason said she was very competitive.
She recalled being mesmerised as a 14-year-old when she saw a weightlifter (on television) gripping the barbell, dragging it, lifting it above his legs, and lifting it above his head.
“I thought how amazing it would be, to be that strong,” she said.
Acason said an athletics coach once told her she wouldn’t be able to throw because she was ‘too short’.
After joining a weightlifting club, Acason said she was told she was too tall and that her arms were too long.
Throughout all of this, Acason said her parents were very supportive of her and encouraged her to keep going if she enjoyed it.
Acason became the first (and to date the only) Australian female to compete in weightlifting at two Olympic Games, and she has also been the only weightlifter to compete at five separate Commonwealth Games.
Acason was also the first female inducted into the Australian Weightlifting Federation Hall of Fame.
She completed a double Law and Criminology degree shortly after her second Olympics, and was admitted as a legal professional in the Supreme Court two years later.
Acason said some people couldn’t stand to see others achieve, and that celebrating others’ success was ‘something we need to see’.
Acason said some people wanted success without hard work, and that some people wanted to cut corners.
Following Acason’s speech, she took part in a question and answer session.
Guests also enjoyed a meal by Brisbane Valley Protein, and music by Wild Eyed Wonder.
With the event having been postponed due to flooding, Deputy Mayor Helen Brieschke said those who attended had extra reason to enjoy the brunch.
“This event allowed the women attending to take a break from the recent floods to encourage, inspire and network with one another,” Cr Brieschke said.
“Hearing Deb Acason’s story reminded us how much can be achieved with determination.”