Kirsty Coventry is Africa’s most successful Olympian with 7 medals, which she won at the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games. Kirsty is a global personality with a unique African focus and leadership roles, which are testimony to her integrity and influence. Born on 16 September 1983 in Harare, Kirsty is widely considered as Zimbabwe’s national treasure.
Since retiring from competitive swimming in in 2016, after the Rio de Janeiro Summer Olympics, Kirsty has focused her efforts on the Kirsty Coventry Academy, which she and her husband Tyrone established to provide swimming lessons and water-safety messages to children. From an initial pilot project, the Kirsty Coventry Academy has expanded its objectives and is working to highlight challenges such as the number of children not in school, teen pregnancies, child marriages, drug and alcohol abuse, and gender-based violence.
After touring Zimbabwe together, Kirsty and Tyrone established their HEROES programme to inspire the youth of Zimbabwe to use sport as a vehicle for children to learn life skills through a process of mentoring and encouragement. “Our partnerships with communities across Zimbabwe means HEROES can continue to create positive changes for children and the community over a long-term period.”
Kirsty has looked beyond her own career and achievements, which she uses as a catalyst to drive her mantra: “True success is only achieved once you share acquired knowledge and the skills you have mastered. In fact, it is your responsibility to pass on these gifts, hence the existence of the Kirsty Coventry Academy and the HEROES programme.”
Kirsty has recently been appointed as the Chairperson of the Athletes Commission of the International Olympic Committee, where she is also and executive board member.