Author: Don Magin

Inspiring dual Olympic medal winner offers some life lessons

I had the pleasure of catching up with Newcastle born dual Olympic medalist and world champion basketballer Jennifer Screen this month.

Jenni came home to see her mum Rosemary after an Opal’s (Australia's national women's basketball team) training camp on the NSW Central Coast. She is hoping to gain selection to the team to compete in the World Championships to be held in Turkey at the end of September.  She thoughtfully took time out to meet some staff from The Greater and the Hunter Academy of Sport and to present us with signed playing jerseys.

Jenni is one of our most awarded Greater Olympic Scholarship holders. Every year, in partnership with the Academy, The Greater gives 10 young athletes with potential in an Olympic sport funding to help  them to realise their dream of donning the green and gold and being the best they can be. Jenni received five scholarships. There are so many expenses young athletes and their families face when trying to compete at the highest level. There's the travel costs, competition fees, shoes, and outfits. In Jenni’s case it was also medical bills and physiotherapy. In her rise to the top of her sport she has had to overcome many adversities including a broken back and two knee reconstructions.

Jenni has scaled these obstacles to have had an amazing and successful career.

She was a member of the Opals that won the World Championships in basketball in 2006. That team is the only Australian basketball team (male or female) to have won a world championships. She was also part of the Opals teams that won silver at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and bronze at the 2012 London Olympics. She’s played more than 100 games for Australia and has been a co-captain. After the world championship win she played professionally in Italy and then played for Adelaide Lightning in the Australia’s Women's National Basketball League. She is now heading to Poland to play professionally in its national league.

When we asked if she had any life lessons for us or aspiring athletes she offered these three things.

  1. Love what you do and work hard at it
  2. Enjoy the moment
  3. Remember to give back and say thank you.

Wise words for all of us. That is how we like to approach business at The Greater too.

It was our pleasure to help kick-start Jenni’s career. We’re hoping she get selected for the World Championships and the Opals go on to win it. We wish her all the best in the next chapter of your career in Poland. And thanks for the jersey.

PS. Six current and former Greater Olympic Scholarship holders are representing Australia at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games. Good luck to them all.