At a time when there’s a lot of chat about the potential tragedy of ‘life after sport’ – coming after the Four Corners show in which Aussie sporting champs revealed their post-sport struggles – former Olympic cyclist Tracey Gaudry is proving that people can really prosper once their sporting careers end.
The Hawthorn Hawks have appointed Gaudry as the AFL's first female chief executive. Gaudry represented Australia in cycling at the 1996 and 2000 Olympics, before becoming a vice-president of world cycling's governing body, the UCI, and most recently the general manager of commercial and growth at Athletics Australia.
Hawthorn is not one of the eight clubs that currently has an AFL Women’s team in the new national league, but Emma Swanson, player for the AFLW’s GWS Giants team, thinks this is a great step forward for the AFLW as well as the Hawks and Aussie Rules in general. “Appointing a female athlete, role model and all-round sports administrator is great news for the AFL. It’s always good for the AFLW to have another voice in with the powers that be,” she says.
Western Bulldogs AFLW player Katie Brennan agrees it’s a big step in the right direction for sportswomen – and actually, all women. “The appointment of Tracey Gaudry is yet another example that we’re heading in the right direction and breaking down barriers in traditionally male-dominated industries.”
Both Brennan and Swanson believe Gaudry will be do an excellent job leading the club. “Gaudry’s a cancer survivor, a mother, an Olympian and now the first full-time female chief executive of an AFL club. In my eyes she’s an absolute boss,” says Brennan. “I’m so glad we all have another role model leading the way for women in sport and women in general.”
Swanson adds, “I have no doubt, regardless of gender, Gaudry was the right person for the job, and that’s fantastic to see women proving themselves in a male-dominated environment.”
Gaudry starts her position with the Hawks at the end of May.