Greater than Gold
Annabelle williams, class of 2006.
Annabelle graduate 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’, Annabelle says.
Even before graduating from uni, 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
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 not ever 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 said.
Annabella 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.
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!
Annabelle Williams, Bond University law graduate.