Jordan Mercer is joining forces with longboard surfing Riley Thomson and skeleton ice sled racer Elliot Brown to inspire others to be high achievers in their chosen studies. Photo: John McCutcheon
Jordan Mercer is joining forces with longboard surfing Riley Thomson and skeleton ice sled racer Elliot Brown to inspire others to be high achievers in their chosen studies. Photo: John McCutcheon

Good sports learn to muscle up by degrees

Having reached the pinnacle of lifesaving’s unforgiving elite ironwoman event, only to be brought back to the field by injury, Noosa’s Jordan Mercer knows all there is about being motivated to succeed.

Now Mercer, the queen of the gruelling Molokai 2 Oahu channel crossing, is joining forces with longboard surfing Riley Thomson and skeleton ice sled racer Elliot Brown to inspire others to be high achievers in their chosen studies.

The University of the Sunshine Coast high performance student athletes have all previously benefited from local charity The Encouragement Foundation through the “I encourage you” initiative.

A series of motivational letters from the student athletes will be sent to young people across the region thanks to charity founder, entrepreneur and philanthropist John Shadforth.

Ironwoman Jordan Mercer with John Shadforth on campus with fellow student athletes Riley Thomson and Elliot Brown.
Ironwoman Jordan Mercer with John Shadforth on campus with fellow student athletes Riley Thomson and Elliot Brown.

The USC honorary senior fellow created the charity in 2007.

“We hope the recipients gain inspiration and reassurance from the shared experiences of these amazing student athletes,” Mr Shadforth said.

Mercer, has been able to combine her high-powered career while studying a Bachelor of Primary Education at USC and features on the first letter which carried a “simple but powerful” message.

“My success in both my sport and my study has only been possible because of the encouragement I have received from family, friends and even strangers, every step of the way,” she said.

“If someone else reads one of these letters at a time when they need it, it could really have an impact.”

Mercer, an ironwoman racing champion, has spoken previously of visualising winning her perfect Molokai race.

“If I close my eyes and I imagine ‘OK, I paddled all this way and I’ve come out on top’,” she said.

Jordan Mercer during one of winning Molokai crossings: PHOTO: JIANCA LAZARUS / RED BULL
Jordan Mercer during one of winning Molokai crossings: PHOTO: JIANCA LAZARUS / RED BULL

Moffat Beach’s Riley Thomson, who is in his first year of a Bachelor of Psychology (Honours), is the Under 18 Australian junior men’s longboard champion.

“I dream of becoming a world longboard champion and having a career in psychology,” he said.

“I hope to inspire others to follow their dreams regardless of their perceived limitations.”

Paramedic science student Elliot Brown, of Mooloolaba, made a successful move from triathlon and track cycling to skeleton racing.

He has set his sights on competing at a future Winter Olympics.

The first letters are being sent to USC’s High Performance Sport partner schools from Moreton Bay to the Fraser Coast, as well as local children’s charities.


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