Dr Bridie O’Donnell
Head, Office for Women in Sport and Recreation
Dr Bridie O’Donnell graduated as Valedictorian from the University of Queensland Medical School and won the J R S Lahz Prize for Most Outstanding Intern at the Mater Hospitals in Brisbane in 1999. After rotating through various Medical and Surgical departments as part of junior residency and working in rural QLD as sole practitioner to regional areas, she moved to Melbourne in 2001. Here she was employed as an Intensive Care Fellow at Cabrini Hospital and worked as regular surgical assistant to various surgeons at The Melbourne Orthopaedic Group for six years. During this time, she was rowing as a member of Melbourne University Boat Club and won 7 National Championships. After hanging up the oars and selling her single scull, she completed the Ironman Hawaii World Triathlon Championships in 2006 and rode an Australian Record for the 180km bike leg at Ironman Busselton at the end of that year.
In 2007, she began road cycling and in 2008 after winning the National Time Trial title, she took time out from Medicine to pursue selection for the Beijing Olympic Team in women’s road cycling. Despite not being selected for the Olympics, she then began a career as a professional road cyclist. From 2008 to 2012 she raced in the Australian National Team, and then Professional Italian teams in Europe and the United States, representing Australia at three World Championships. Dr O’Donnell returned to full time work in 2013, starting at Epworth HealthCheck and teaching doctor-patient communication at Deakin University Medical School. In 2014, Bridie took on an inaugural role as a breast physician at the Epworth Breast Service. Here her clinic involved reviewing long term breast cancer patients and counselling them about exercise, weight control and preventing recurrence of breast cancer. Bridie has built a reputation through her blog and social media sites as a humorous and insightful advocate for women in sport, those making changes of career and taking risks. She frequently appears on The Project as the ‘Medical Expert’ and did a weekly AFL injury report on SEN radio in Melbourne. She commentated her first World Road Cycling Championships on SBS in 2017, the fist time a woman was given a voice to cover the best female road cyclists in the world. From 2013-2016, Bridie managed and raced for Rush Women’s Team, a National Road Series cycling team in Australia, coordinating commercial sponsors, team owners, riders and race organisers to successes and race wins over four seasons. In 2016, she became the first Australian woman to make an attempt on the UCI World Hour record in 15 years, and broke the National record, the Masters record and set a new world record of 46.882km at the Adelaide Superdrome. Dr O’Donnell was appointed the inaugural Head of the Office for Women in Sport and Recreation by the Victorian Government in November, 2017. The OWSR will aim for gender equality across all roles in sport and active recreation, including participation, competition, leadership, coaching, executive and board positions.