I’m probably the least sporty person I know. I’ve never been keen on playing sport and I don’t watch it on TV, or even have a favourite team. It’s seems un-Australian and I feel admitting this may mean that I have to hand in my Australian passport but it’s just the way I am. Therefore, it was a surprise to me that I enjoyed our visit to the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) in Canberra. For sports lovers a visit to the AIS will provide a great insight into the training and science that goes into our Olympic champions and wannabes. It should give kids a good lesson in the dedication and sheer determination it takes to become an Olympian.
I was surprised and delighted to find that the tour of the AIS is wheelchair accessible.
Our guide for the tour was Reece, a future Olympic star perhaps, who is at the AIS training for track and field. Training at the AIS leaves little time for a regular job so the AIS employs athletes to lead tours in their spare time.
Our first stop, also the kids favourite, was an interactive area of the AIS. The room was filled with Olympic memorabilia including uniforms, Olympic medals and an Olympic torch. It was a timely visit as we were there a few months prior to the Rio Olympics.
Hubby and I could have spent a lot more time reading the history of the Olympics and the stories of athletes but the kids were keen to do the hands-on activities.
The wheelchair basketball area ironically has a small step up to get into the court but the kids were undeterred and had a good lesson in how hard it is to shoot a basketball from a wheelchair. BJ decided soccer was a better game turning to kicking the balls instead. It was also nice to see a Mogo Wheelchair on show (same brand as BJ’s manual chair), no doubt donated.
Hubby and AJ got quite competitive on the bike riding challenge with Hubby declaring victory.
BJ showed he’s no pushover when it comes to arm wrestling and gave AJ a good run for her money.
I was still hankering to look at all the memoribillia but it was time to move on.
Next, it was time to look at the different venues and get a sneak peek at the athletes in training. Reece filled us in on the different athletes stats and examples of training schedules. We loved that he was as on top of the Paralympian’s achievements and times as the other athletes. We felt that the AIS tour was really inclusive on all levels.
We were lucky enough to watch some of the gymnasts in training and the athletes working out in the gym.
We were given an insight into how the swimmers train and the equipment built into the pool which helps analyze their strokes and times.
I’d love to say that after the tour I’ve become an avid sports fan or have a newfound desire to take up sport but alas, nothing has changed but an even greater admiration for those with the drive and determination to make the Olympics or Commonwealth Games.
ACCESS AT AIS
Ramps and elevators at the AIS ensure everyone has good access to all aspects of the tour. We also found our guide was experienced with taking us the accessible route around the AIS.
There is wheelchair accessible parking in the car park and level paths to the building.
Stand-alone disabled toilet facilities are available at the AIS.
You can read more about tours of the AIS here.
We stayed at the Novotel Canberra and you can read our review of the fabulous accessible accommodation here.