|Skating and accounting add up for Matthew
April 4, 2017
Article from Griffith University News.
It hardly conjures the most flattering image to say four-time Australian champion Matthew Dodds fell into ice skating.
Yet that’s precisely what the Griffith University business graduate did, overcoming initial tumbles and stumbles to emerge as an athlete with his sights firmly set on competing for Australia at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games.
In 2016, Matthew graduated from the Griffith Business School with a Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting) and Bachelor of International Business.
While some may have found the demands of elite sport and tertiary study a case of skating on thin ice, the support of the Griffith Sports College helped Matthew maintain his study-sport balance.
The combination certainly paid off, because Matthew has not only won national titles and represented Australia at major international skating competitions, he recently joined national chartered accounting and business advisory firm, PKF, as an accountant.
Working from the company’s Gold Coast branch, Matthew initially met PKF representatives through his role as an executive committee member of the Griffith University Student Accounting Association.
“It sounds like a strange mix, figure skating and accounting,” says Matthew, who was just a lad when he first ventured on to the ice at a Gold Coast skating centre.
“It was great fun, although I had no ability whatsoever. Three months later not much had changed.
“But we had a rule in our family that if you took something up, you had to do it for a year. After a while, everything clicked.”
In fact, skating clicked so well that it wasn’t long before Matthew was performing creditably as a singles skater. The opportunity to join a US training camp in Colorado Springs in 2007 saw him switch to pairs.
“There’s two types of pairs skating. Ice dancing is the style that people would recognise through the likes of Torvill and Dean,” says Matthew.
“Pairs figure skating is more like gymnastics, with lots of throws, lifts, catches and leaps. It’s about strength, speed and power. Hopefully, if you do it right, it’s graceful too.”
Matthew and Brisbane-based skating partner Paris Stephens joined forces in 2013 and they follow a rigorous weekly training schedule at Ice World Boondall in Brisbane.
Along with three national titles together, their most recent competition was the Asian Winter Games in Sapporo, Japan, in February.
They finished sixth, thrilled to be part of an event hosting 1250 athletes from 32 countries.
“Skating is such a small sport in Australia whereas the atmosphere in Japan was amazing. The crowds were huge and the support for Paris and me was wonderful,” says Matthew.
“Just the chance to skate on fresh ice prepared specifically for us was something to savour.”
As much as Matthew is a loyal Gold Coaster keen for the city to host a successful Commonwealth Games in April 2018, as an athlete his focus is on helping Australia qualify for the skating component of the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.
“It won’t be easy. To qualify we’ll need to go up against countries with a much bigger winter sports profile than Australia,” says Matthew.
“All you can do is your best, and if we can grow the sport in Australia, that’s a good reward.”