Passing onto the Next Generation – Liz Scott Family Feature
Sydney 2000 Olympic gold medallist Liz Scott (née Weekes) was regarded as one of the world’s best goalkeepers in her prime. With a gold medal to her name, Liz has made a significant impact in contributing to the success of Women’s Water Polo being included into the Olympic Games. Now with two kids competing at this year’s WPNSW State Championships, Liz enjoys the wonderful feeling of watching the next generation come through the ranks.
Liz fell in love with the sport from the moment her school team needed her to fill in as a goalkeeper.
“I started when I was 15, my school team needed a goalkeeper and they asked me to play. I loved being in the water and a team environment which made me fall in love with Water Polo straight away,” she said.
From that point onwards, Liz developed into one of Australia’s best goalkeepers; finishing with a gold medal at Sydney 2000 Olympics; a special and surreal feeling for Liz.
“It’s a really unique feeling wearing the green and gold, in fact I miss it very much now,” she said.
“To represent your country at the highest level is such an honour and is something I am very thankful for.”
It was an endless battle in securing that gold medal; beginning from a silver medal at an international tournament running simultaneous to the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games.
“In 1996 we won a silver medal in an international tournament; it was a great result, but we were really disappointed that it wasn’t an Olympic Silver and should have been in the Olympic Games alongside the Men’s. It was something that really angered me,” she said.
“So, when we came back from that tour I just wanted to do something about it and fortunately the next Olympics (2000) was to be in Sydney and we had numerous opportunities to fight for our cause.”
Extremely passionate about this cause, Liz was one of the main advocates in producing this change for women to be included into the Olympics by disrupting the FINA press conference.
“We had officials come to Sydney regularly because of the Games and under the guidance of Pat Jones, I organised a couple of protests about the inequality of Water Polo at the Olympics,” she said.
“One of these protests, we gate crashed the press conference to speak to the president of FINA at the time. Our cause had produced a massive impact and a few weeks later it was announced that Water Polo would be in the Olympics.”
The gold medal signified a victory for Australia and a step in the right direction for the equality of women in sport. Liz’s determination in winning this battle meant that Women’s Water Polo had accomplished a major milestone.
“Just to get to the Olympics, we had already won a battle for equality in the sport. Being part of that team was really special and winning in my home town with 12 other strong inspirational women by my side was a fairy-tale ending to such an incredible journey. It just couldn’t get any better than that,” she said.
Liz retired from the sport 2001, where she married Robert Scott, an Australian Silver Medallist for Rowing. Liz took a break from the sport for well over 10 years and now has two kids, Ben (13) & Izzy (11) Scott, who play Water Polo at Sydney University. It is satisfying for Liz to be involved in the sport again, through helping goalkeepers in their development and taking her kids to their Water Polo commitments.
“I love watching my kids play the sport. I currently help out training goalkeepers wherever and whenever I can,” she said.
“I am so thrilled that they both love the sport and they are making so many friends within their Sydney Uni team. I also enjoy bumping into old team mates’ poolside while we all watch our kids play. It is just such a happy, healthy and fun sport to be part of.”
The WPNSW State Championships is where talent is produced, with the U16s commencing this weekend in Bathurst (Boys) & Woy Woy (Girls). Liz’s son Ben, will be competing in his second U14s State Championships this year for Sydney Uni; a memorable experience for the junior athlete last year.
“State Water Polo is fun, challenging, competitive and is certainly one of the highlights of my year,” he said.
“Water Polo is a sport which is enjoyed on and off the field. I personally enjoy the team environment and the team-bonding experiences which state provides. I’ve got awesome team-mates and tournaments like this let you realize that they are not only really talented players, but really good mates as well.”
Daughter Izzy, will be competing in her first State Championships this year; an exciting feeling after seeing her older brother competing last year.
“I am extremely excited to play in my first State Championships since watching my brother last year,” she said.
The WPNSW U16 & U14 State Championships are based in regional locations which provides an excellent opportunity for team-mates to bond and for parents to enjoy watching their kids compete in an exciting competition.
“Last year, State Championships was my first major step back into Water Polo again. My son was asked to be goalkeeper for the second Sydney Uni team and I thought ‘Dubbo the week before Christmas, this is crazy’,” she said.
“He (Ben Scott) had the best week of his life and I had a great week too. Just seeing the friendships he made that week being away with the team and the bond he formed with the boys was priceless and I am really excited to do it again this year."
Written by Vangeli Kollias (WPNSW Communications Coordinator)