Skip main navigation

Hurry, only 10 days left to get one year of Unlimited learning for £249.99 £174.99. New subscribers only. T&Cs apply

Find out more

Meet our para athlete: Monique Murphy

Meet our para athlete, Monique Murphy, a paralympic swimmer. Watch these videos to learn about the support of friends, motivations and inspirations.

Monique Murphy is a 23 year-old Australian swimming champion and a Queensland Academy of Sport (QAS) scholarship holder.

She was first selected to compete for Australia at the 2015 IPC8 World Swimming Championships in Glasgow and made her Paralympic debut in 2016 at the Rio Games. Monique won silver in the 400m freestyle at Rio and says standing on the podium is her greatest sporting achievement.

Watch the video above of our interview with Monique to hear her story and find out what it took for her to become a Paralympian.

The importance of friends and family

Listen to Monique talk about how important her family and teammates are to her when she is competing.

Importance of Family and Friends

When it comes to elite sport, having the support of family, friends, and teammates could be the secret to an athlete’s success. In the early years of an elite athlete’s journey, family are important as they can provide shelter (eg, a house to live in), transport (eg, a car to get to training), and nourishment (eg, healthy food to eat).

However, could there be more to it? Do social support systems help athletes perform better during competition? According to research1 (in amateur golfers), encouragement and support offered by friends and family can build confidence in an athlete that can help in high-pressure situations, such as a major sport event.

Motivations and Inspiration

Let’s now look at what motivates and inspires elite athletes and para athletes to pursue a career as an elite athlete and push themselves to their limits.

In this video we will hear from four athletes/para athletes from Griffith University:

  • Domonic Bedggood is a former gymnast who pursued a career as an olympic diver after an accident prompted him to change events.
  • Matthew McShane is a paralympic basketballer.
  • Monique Murphy, who we have just heard from, is a paralympic swimmer.
  • Rowan Crothers is a paralympic swimmer.

Find out what has motivated and inspired them to work towards success at major sport events.

This is an additional video, hosted on YouTube.

Your task

Now that you’ve been introduced to some of our athletes, share in the comments below any stories you know of other athletes’ motivations and inspirations.


1. Rees T, Freeman P. Social support moderates the relationship between stressors and task performance through self-efficacy. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology. 2009; 28: 245-264.


The Victorian Institute of Sport (VIS) has kindly provided some of the footage used in the Monique Murphy video above.

This article is from the free online

Major Sport Events: Winning Through Diversity and Inclusion

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now