Greater than Gold
Images: Annabelle Williams, Bond University Law graduate.
Annabelle williams, class of 2006.
Annabelle graduated from PLC Sydney in 2006 and went on to study law at Bond University in Queensland. Her journey to the Australian Olympic Committee started when she landed a graduate position at Allens in Sydney in 2013.
Reporting to some of the best in the industry, Fiona de Jong and John Coates, who are both lawyers, her role covers everything from team and anti-doping agreements to sponsorship and marketing.
'It's been a really steep learning curve and, at my age, is really a dream come true. People probably wouldn’t realise I’m a one-woman show without a team of lawyers behind me’.
Even before graduating from University, Annabelle had notched up a lifetime of achievements, including as a stunt double for Charlize Theron in Mad Max 4: Fury Road. Yet it is her sporting achievements for which she is best known.
Whilst at PLC Sydney, Annabelle excelled at many sports, but realised as she got older that she had to specialise in just one, her favourite, swimming – mainly because she didn't have time to do them all!
Annabelle says that Year 12 in particular instilled in her the skills that helped her combine both her passions for sports and law.
‘I was balancing a lot. I learnt that when I was swimming, I had to focus 100 per cent on that and never let anything else like assignments or school council meetings cross my mind, otherwise I'd end up doing everything half hearted. I had to learn to maximise even the smallest window of time. I remember that I used to have 20 minutes between the end of school and the start of training and always had to try and squeeze something in that time.’
Annabelle made her first Australian team in the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games, winning a bronze medal in the 50 metre freestyle during her final year at PLC Sydney. In 2007, she was awarded the Bond University Sportsperson of the Year and named a finalist for the Australian Universities Sportsperson of the Year. This was followed by bronze at the 2008 Beijing Paralympics in the 100 metre butterfly, silver at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in the 50 metre freestyle in New Delhi, and gold at the 2012 London Paralympics in the 4x100 metre medley relay.
Annabelle attributes being able to continue for 10 years on the Paralympic team to the incredible support from my family and friends.
Annabelle said that coming back from the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games was difficult, going from such a massive high to final exams in Year 12. From then on, she made sure she always had something to look forward to at the end of a major competition so she wouldn't feel that way again. After the Beijing Paralympics, Annabelle went on an internship, organised through Bond University, to Paris where she worked with Austrade, and after the London Paralympics, she completed an exchange with Perennial Strategy Group in Washington DC.
As for her current job as in-house lawyer for the Australian Olympic Committee, Annabelle says it was always her dream to go into law.
‘My great uncle was a judge and used to tell amazing stories about the people he met and things he had done and I just knew that law was something I wanted to do too.’
So now she combines her tow great passions – sport and the law.
We can’t wait to hear her latest adventures from Rio! Go Australia! Go Annabelle!