Olympian & former Secretary General of the International Ski Federation, Sarah Lewis OBE, joins BRIT
Sarah represented Great Britain in the Olympic Winter Games, before a career in sports administration over the past 30 years that has included her 20 year appointment as Secretary General of the International Ski Federation (FIS).
“I am thrilled to contribute to the BRIT Ambassador family to support and improve young adult mental health throughout the UK.
Having spent over 30 years involved with Ski and Snowboarding athletes, including as Secretary General of the International Ski Federation (FIS) for 20 years where we evolved important youth and children’s programmes, I am aware of the increase in mental health challenges faced by young adults and the importance of supporting their wellbeing.
The COVID-19 is clearly affecting all our lives, however it is also compounding existing mental health challenges faced by so many young adults. Of great concern, are young adults who are already struggling to with mental health difficulties, including those who are vulnerable, living with disabilities and have limited mobility. Many are battling with feelings of isolation, anxiety and loneliness.
The British Inspiration Trust (BRIT) is determined to do all it can to support and improve the mental health and fitness of as many students and young adults as possible. By delivering the annual UK-wide BRIT Challenge to every UK university and college, the organisation provides encouragement and inspiration to students through their feel-good fundraising events. To make this as successful as possible, BRIT needs the support of every university Vice-Chancellor and college Principal to embrace the BRIT 2021 Challenge and encourage teams to enter.
The BRIT 2021 Challenge has been designed to be inclusive in order to enable young and adults and students of all abilities to take part; at home or on campus. This is a super initiative, and universities and colleges are providing the opportunity for every student and staff member to participate by championing the BRIT Challenge.
BRIT is inviting retired and current Olympians, Paralympians and sports personalities to join the BRIT Ambassador family. The role of BRIT Ambassadors is to choose a university and/or college, encourage them to enter teams, then offer support to inspire and enthuse young adults and students to take part in the BRIT 2021 Challenge. I urge my fellow Winter Olympians, Paralympians and sports personalities to unite as BRIT Ambassadors to support and improve young adult mental health throughout the UK.”
Sarah was a member of the Great Britain Alpine Ski Team from 1982 to 1988 and competed in the 1987 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships and the 1988 Winter Olympic Games in Calgary. She then embarking on a career in sports administration; initially within the ski industry and media before working for the national and international governing bodies. In 1990, Sarah was appointed Alpine Director at the British Ski & Snowboard Foundation; a position she held for just under four years. Between 1994 and 1998, Sarah was the Continental Cup Coordinator at the International Ski Federation (FIS) Between 2000 and 2020, Sarah fulfilled the role of Secretary General at the FIS. She is a highly respected international sports federation leader who led the largest international winter sports federation, comprising of 133 member nations, for twenty years. Under Sarah’s leadership, the FIS grew in stature as the number of member nations increased to 133; there was also an increase in the number of countries organising and participating in competitions. The number of events on the programme of the Olympic Winter Games also increased from 33 in 1998 to 55 at the upcoming 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Beijing. Whilst Sarah was in post, the governance of the FIS also evolved to include important youth and children’s programmes, social responsibility activities, development of the sustainability policy and environmental projects that included signing up to the UN Sport for Climate Action, integrity and ethics, anti-doping, safeguarding and anti-corruption policies and controls. During her tenure as FIS Secretary General, Sarah was appointed as a member of a number of International Olympic Committee (IOC) Commissions, served as Secretary General of the Association of International Winter Olympic Sports Federation (between 2014 and 2020) and chaired the World Anti-Doping Agency Independent Observers at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. Sarah was a proud member of the Great Britain delegation that secured the hosting rights in 2005 for the 2012 Olympic Games in London. In 2006, Sarah was honoured with the Femmes en Or (women of Gold) award. In 2018, Sarah was awarded the Order of the British Empire in the Queen’s New Year Honours List for services to sport. Sarah is also a Trustee of the British Ski & Snowboard National Foundation who supports young skiers and snowboarders, ensuring that financial constraints do not prevent talented athletes from reaching their sporting potential.