Golden opportunity: from Olympic medallist to PhD researcher

Golden opportunity: from Olympic medallist to PhD researcher

Olympic gold medallist Lauren Burns has turned her hand to research, uncovering the key to elite athletic performance with the support of a generous industry donor.

Earning an Olympic Gold Medal in Taekwondo at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Lauren Burns is no stranger to the world of elite sports.

A qualified naturopath and nutritionist, she’s now looking into the science behind athletic success, undertaking a PhD through RMIT’s School of Health and Biomedical Sciences.

Early findings show that championship performance often coincides with a combination of strong psychological health, personal support, effective performance strategies and lifestyle regulation.

Burns said the research, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, would inform further work on understanding the particular conditions enabling success.

“Through this research, we highlighted that psychological factors and support networks are likely keys to success,” Burns said.

“The next step is looking at a much larger sample of athletes through a national survey to compare these practices between foundational and mastery level athletes.” 

Olympic gold medallist Lauren Burns is uncovering the key to elite athletic performance.

Burns received a research training scholarship from not for profit fund, the Jacka Foundation of Natural Therapies (JFNT), who were interested in understanding the impact of interpersonal relationships on performance.

“Having my own sporting experience gave me insight, but I knew formal research would have greater reach, highlighting the lifestyle factors and mindset needed to reach the next level, in sport and in life,” she said.

As well as supporting Burns, the JFNT partnered with RMIT to offer two other research scholarships for students in complementary medicines.

“There are such benefits to broadening research in our area, supporting our profession and growing knowledge. We are so thrilled to support researchers like Lauren,” said JFNT Board Director Pauline McCabe.

Read the RMIT Impact Report to see how donations make a difference to our students, researchers and community.

Story: Alicia Olive and Grace Taylor

Share

  • Research
  • Sport
  • Student experience
  • Society
  • Industry

Related News

Better wages, better care: improving the aged care sector

In her submission and evidence to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, RMIT’s Professor Sara Charlesworth urged the Federal Government to address wages and working conditions.

RMIT ABC Fact Check wins award for coverage of homelessness issues

RMIT ABC Fact Check has claimed a prestigious media award for its coverage of homelessness issues.

Ethical empire building

The magnificent Capitol played host to a lively discussion on the challenge for organisations to lead with their values while fulfilling their imperative for economic growth.

Can apocalyptic games prepare us for future sustainability threats?

What can playing apocalyptic games teach us about climate change or energy security? Urban resilience expert Dr Anthony Richardson explores how games can tackle future challenges at the global gaming festival PAX in Melbourne.

Subscribe to RMIT NewsSubscribe
Flag Image One Flag Image Two

Acknowledgement of Country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business.

More information