Emails to OWIA SSA & AOC since 3 Feb 2013 from Bruce & Kristine Brockhoff regarding Belle Brockhoff

Email sent to Geoff Lipshut 27th August

Dear Geoff                                            27.8.2014

So that there may be no misunderstanding I thought you should know my walk away position.

1. A Public apology to Belle and the Brockhoff family including Brooke who has also suffered

2. Retrospective awarding of an OWIA B scholarship which Belle qualified twice over

3. OWIA Blazer

I understand there will be a Press statement recognising and acknowledging past mistakes, and signed off by all the Stakeholders in BX including the Brockhoff family. I have been informed that Michael Kennedy made the comment that “…. it was a pity that Bruce was not here to hear the apologies…” referring to last 6 hour Compulsory Mediation meeting at which 11 people attended.

Geoff we are so close so very near to a solution given the proposed press statement, all you have to do is offer a retrospective OWIA B scholar and a blazer to Belle. Even a blazer pocket would do if it had the appropriate lettering and/or embroidery.

There are only two actions left that I am sure you and your Board could easily manage to carry out.

Even Dean Gosper gave an ‘apology’ to Kristine in his last conversation with her in December when Kristine brought up the subject Ben Wordsworth referring to the OWIA table (page 20 SSA Handbook) on two occasions linking what Belle had to achieve to be awarded an A, B or C OWIA Scholarship.

Kristine: “…We feel that we were misled by Ben last year..”
Dean: ”Then you have been misled if that’s what you feel”
Kristine: “That’s what Ben said
Dean: “If you have been misled and you feel like you have been misled then my apologies my sincere apologies …I don’t know whether your were or not … the fact that you think you were I am very sorry for that ….very sorry “
Kristine: “Ben said that twice”
Dean: “You should not be in that position and I am sorry you are” (*1)

Geoff I would walk away to enjoy the rest of my life after 71 years and would immediately delete all references to this spat on the Gripes web site, never to trouble you again unless the issue of intimidation and/or bullying came up (again).

The Brockhoffs have wasted months on this most unfortunate and preventable affair and I believe you have wasted probably even more time and money. For this we sincerely apologise but we had little say in the matter.

I wait with great anticipation to see your minutes and the proof of your Press statement before it goes to air.


Yours Sincerely

Bruce Brockhoff BEc

*(1) Lawyers do have a way with words however we have taken it as an apology and not “lawyer double speak”.



Dear Patrick & Andrew,                  5 pm   20.8.2014

Tomorrow my daughter Belle Brockhoff has agreed to a request from the CEO of the OWIA, Mr G. Lipshut, to meet with himself and a parade of OWIA, SSA staff &/or Board members and your good selves.

I have grave fears that the forthcoming ‘talk fest’ will not resolve any of the past major issues the Brockhoff family has about the treatment of Belle.

Based on our previous experience, Mr Lipshut is a master at burying contentious issues under a stream of bureaucratic terminology and later claiming the matter was discussed and resolved, whereas the truth of the matter is that nothing was resolved.

I can provide a copy of a recording (recorded with Mr Lipshut’s permission) of a two hour meeting from 2013, which my wife and daughter were duped into attending on the basis that:

1. no scholarships had been decided upon, and

2. scholarships would not be decided upon until a number of weeks subsequent to the meeting.

Mr Geoff Henke emailed us a few days before the meeting to confirm the above “facts”, and this was further reinforced emails from Mr Craig Philips.

In fact, those scholarships had already been awarded, and the meeting was an exercise in deception and bluster.

The only solution that will resolve the whole historical saga to the satisfaction of all Brockhoffs and their many supporters is the retrospective award of an OWIA B scholarship, the provision of an OWIA blazer and a public apology. Nothing more, nothing less. We would assume that going forward, Belle, and all other athletes will be treated, fairly, equitably, and that the criteria for OWIA scholarships and support are objective and transparent.

This entire situation is largely the result of OWIA, and its head coach’s past actions in informing Belle on numerous occasions, that if she placed well in World Cup events and met the performance criteria according to the table on Page 20 of the SSA handbook ( copy attached), she would be awarded an OWIA scholarship. Belle qualified twice over for a OWIA B scholarship with a podium, and, ranked inside the World top 10 at the end of the season.

Whilst we have taken up the challenge, we know full well that there are other athletes who have been treated in a similar manner as our daughter.

It is our greatest desire that this matter be resolved immediately. However should it not be so, we will have little choice but to go down the alternative pathway.

We will re-brief the Minister for Sport, the Shadow Minister of Sport, our local Federal Member of Parliament on the facts and the behavior of the OWIA and associated entities, who in part, rely on taxpayer’s money for their survival.

We will also be seeking a Senate Inquiry into the entire funding process for Winter Olympic Sports, particularly focusing on the provision of an estimated $1.35 million in scholarship and support for a single athlete over a period of 4 years without an Olympic podium result.

This email was also to go to AIS officials today however I have decided to hold off for the moment hoping for a ‘happy ending’ tomorrow.

Please inform me if you no longer want to be on my mailing list as I am not too sure who I should be addressing my future emails to.

The last time we sent an email to Nick Hunter at the AIS he took 48 days to send us a reply after many follow up phone calls and emails.

Your help in these matters is much appreciated.

Best regards,
Bruce Brockhoff BEc


Email sent to Andrew Logan (Facilitator/Mediator  AIS)  and Patrick Hunt (Facilitator/Mediator  AIS)  19.8.2014

Dear Andrew & Patrick,

I am sending you this attached issues paper (below) so that you understand the Brockhoffs’ perspective and what our “walk away” position is. I will not be coming to the meeting as I am way too emotional about what has happened to my daughter. We have been lied to so many times that I have so little respect for those in the room I am not able to be civil. In the interests of what is best for Belle she will be there with her manager with support from Darren Hughes, her Sports manager Ryan Kogelman, her Godfather Robert Hayes and her Financial manager Kristine (Mother).

We have been told this is a compulsory planning meeting. We have also been told that Belle was not invited to OWIA training because we are “in mediation”. You understand that we are a bit confused about the nature and purpose of the meeting on Aug 21st. Our issues paper address this.

I hope we can have a resolution that makes Belle feel good about herself and allows her to feel valued by Australia and supported in her quest for Olympic Gold.

Your help is very much appreciated.


Best regards,
Bruce Brockhoff BEc

Belle Brockhoff Issues Paper                             August 8th 2014

On Tuesday July 29th Geoff Lipshut made the following statement in his e-mail to Belle Brockhoff:

“The SBX program was not approved by the OWIA Board of Directors due to past events, and concerns about successful operation in the future.”

The Brockhoffs share the concerns of the OWIA Board of Directors. It is not possible to move forward in a successful SBX team until the past events are properly mediated and satisfactory closure achieved. Once this occurs we can move through the planning agenda smoothly for the meeting scheduled for August 21st in Melbourne.

The agenda for the August 21st meeting does not address past events and clearly is a future directions planning meeting. This has been stressed by Geoff Lipshut. However the Brockhoffs have also had an e-mail, dated July 28th 2014, from SSA’s Michael Kennedy which seems to contradict both Lipshut’s intentions and the agenda:

“Your families [sic] ongoing lack of regard, acknowledgement and recognition of the support provided to Belle by the “system” is frankly offensive to all those organisations listed above.

I look forward to discussing this issue specifically and to airing these views face to face during our meeting at the end of August.”

Michael Kennedy’s e-mail is attached at Appendix 1. It does detail the level of financial support provided to Belle, from a variety of sources, some of which is DAS and therefore performance based. We are grateful for this support. However, our argument with SSA and OWIA would become glaringly obvious if the funding and funding sources for all SBX athletes were detailed in the same manner. The inequity of the approach of OWIA and SSA would be further evidenced if the funding and results were detailed in full for all three disciplines in snowboarding; however this is outside the scope of the August 21st meeting.

The only way to discuss Michael Kennedy’s e-mail on August 21st is to have full disclosure of all athlete funding and sources available to all participants at the meeting. With that caveat we suggest that the August 21st meeting begins with an issues resolution/mediation session prior to any future planning.

Michael Kennedy’s e-mail, and indeed the entire “system” as he describes it, fails to understand our main concern. The level of financial support is an issue, but a secondary one. The main issues are breach of promise, systematic exclusion and bullying, and lack of public recognition for Belle as an athlete who at the time achieved B-scholarship status but was never afforded the public recognition and support she deserved.

Secondly in Geoff Lipshut’s e-mail of July 29th he makes the following statement:

“Items concerning future SBX Program and team operation have already been discussed and agreed by the group in Sydney. These will be tabled for your information.” referring to first mediation meeting which Belle could not attend due prior engagements.

No one can move forward on verbal undertakings and it is important that any agreements are in writing and signed off by participants in order to have credibility and form the basis of any shared future direction.

Given the above background there are two distinct sections that need to be addressed on August 21st. Firstly we need mediation of the grievances. Secondly from that mediation we need a planning session as per the agenda. Below is detailed the Brockhoff’s concerns and suggestions for both these sections.

Section One – Mediation of the Issues / Past Events

1. Breach of Promise Belle was promised a B-Scholarship if she met the criteria. She achieved this but was not recognised with a scholarship (we understand this is not in dispute)
  • Public apology
  • Retrospective award of status and any accompanying blazer / uniform / trophy
2. Systematic Exclusion Belle and other SBX athletes denied access to training opportunities and courses that were available to Alex Pullin and Cam Bolton.Current exclusion: Belle, the SBX athlete with the best results of any female SBX Australian in the last 12 months is being excluded again on the basis that we are waiting for mediation (and yet we are told it is a planning meeting). The SBX program is continuing to be built around fourth placed Alex Pullin and Coach Wordsworth with very clear signals being sent that the status quo will remain. (Note that meeting dates are not chosen in consultation with the athlete and there is an implied criticism if the athlete is not able to attend because of the short notice).
  • Public apology





  • Recognition of Belle as our top SBX athlete under the Winning Edge Criteria and subsequent promotion at the same level as Alex Pullin.
  • Develop an “inclusion strategy” with clear KPIs for the Head Coach and OWIA CEO that will ensure guaranteed equal access to opportunities for Belle subject to her achieving ongoing results.


3. Bullying Belle has been asked to agree to terms on her own without representation.Consistent exclusion and public downgrading of Belle’s achievements by omission have led to her feeling undervalued and inadequate.Numerous attempts to resolve the issues through proper channels have been ignored, misconstrued and attacked. The entire Brockhoff family have felt bullied and painted into a corner. When they went to the media as a last resort even then “the system” managed the careful presentation and timing of a long frustrated e-mail from Bruce Brockhoff so as to portray him in the worse light with no regard for their number one athlete, Alex Pullin.Appendix 2 is an e-mail from Ben Wordsworth that typifies the bullying tone with which the OWIA conduct business with Brockhoffs.
  • An apology


  • An agreement for the conduct of meetings, and parent and management involvement in all negotiations relevant to Belle’s potential scholarship.


  • OWIA to develop and publish an anti-bullying policy and codes of behaviour for coaches, officials, athletes, management and parents.
4. Lack of public recognition. Alex Pullin is the face of SSA and resources are disproportionately attributed to promoting him. Torah Bright is our only snowboarding Olympic medallist – a dual medallist. Belle’s results were the best for SBX at Sochi. It seems that women are second tier despite their performances. Any recognition is achieved through their own efforts with sponsors.
  • Provide a transparent strategy for promoting our elite athletes through SSA and the OWIA.


  • Recognise Belle’s results on the SSA website and in regular SSA communications, SSA TV promotions and in promotional activities associated with SSA and OWIA.


5. Irretrievable relationship breakdown All of the above have led to a deep mistrust on both sides. The Brockhoffs are deeply committed to the Olympic movement in Australia particularly because of their long term standing in the movement and there being 3 Olympians in the Brockhoff family. Such is the breakdown of relationships that it is very difficult for anyone to see a way forward.
  • Mediation by an independent body / person of high standing.


OWIA SBX Planning Activity

The Agenda supplied by Geoff Lipshut covers the necessary points for discussion. Note the previous point that verbal indications of agreement from previous meetings are inadequate for the purpose of progressing the discussion. Ideally all parties would be in the room for this second part of the agenda. In lieu of that, written signed-off agreements would suffice.

The following are critical to the success of a high performance program from Belle’s perspective:

  1. Equity of opportunity and resources across the 4 leading SBX athletes (according to Winning Edge criteria)
  2. Equity of input to the SBX program from the 4 leading SBX athletes.
  3. Lu Prem to continue as Belle’s coach, funded by OWIA (fee and expenses).
  4. Full access for Belle to NSWIS services.
  5. Provision of a shared wax tech for the season for Belle.
  6. OWIA to fund travel and accommodation for the World Cup campaign.
  7. Recognition of the 4 leading SBX athletes as the national SBX team.
  8. Adherence to the outcomes of the mediation.


Appendix 2 – Ben Wordsworth E-mail 18th February 2014 Subject ‘Hang your heads in shame‘   – with Bruce Brockhoffs comments


“You all should hang your head in shame over the manipulation you have tried to cast over this Olympic Snowboard Team.

Bruce, what you did in the media to disrupt Alex Pullin on event day was inexcusable and will never be forgotten. This was absolutely shameful and Australia is behind me when I say that this was the lowest form of accusation against an Olympic Winter Athlete ever. [BB: WHAT ACCUSATION – YOU OBVIOUSLY HAVE NOT READ MY STATEMENT TO THE PRESS see below.]

Darren, I know for a fact that you have been driving the undermining of this team since day one.

Two grown men acting like children, you should be leading your children by example.

The last thing Darren, how disgraceful of you to start to try and manipulate Torah in all this #teamoutcast, you through her under a bus in the media because of it, nice one dick head! I would like to be a fly on the wall watching you try and have a conversation with her in the future!


Benjamin Wordsworth  |Head Coach – AIS Snowboard Program| Olympic Winter Institute Of Australia|

Phone +61396862977

AUS +61411559554

USA +17205604347

EUR +41794410930

Level 2, Icehouse

105 Pearl River Road

Docklands VIC 3008

Email to Michael Kennedy Chief Executive Officer Ski & Snowboard Australia sent 17.8.2014

This email was written on the 15th August however it was deliberately withheld waiting the completion of races at Mt Hotham.

Dear Michael                                                     15th August 2014

As you felt free to write an unsolicited email to Kristine (Brockhoff) in response to her email to Geoff Lipshut, so I feel entitled to send you an unsolicited response to your email to Kristine.

First of all, as Belle’s parents, we are well aware of the funding support and the sources thereof as nominated by you. We have previously expressed our gratitude for that support. It has been of great help over the last few years. Thank you. The reality is that the support provided does not cover anywhere near the total cost any aspiring high level athlete incurs, to achieve the results that they and your organisation aspire to.

We will continue to fund Belle to pursue her Olympic aspirations if that is what Belle wants. The real question that now arises is does she want to do this as part of your Australian Team? A team where recognition of current and potential performance is so blatantly ignored with resources and recognition bestowed upon the favoured few. Actually, in snowboarding more correctly described as bestowed on the favoured “one”.

So that you are under no illusions, and you are on the same page, what we are on about is this. A fair and reasonable allocation of limited funding and resources across the team, based on a transparent process which makes an objective assessment of past and current performances and an objective assessment of future potential. Unless and until there is a complete disclosure of who received how much funding, the criteria for recognising past performance and future potential,and how this has been met in resource allocation to date, and will be so into the future,this issue will fester within the team and degrade its potential and performances going forward.

Perhaps you would care to disclose, privately or publicly, how much each and every other Snowboard X team member received in the 12 months prior to Sochi, and how you arrived at the allocations? You state the value of direct funding Belle received in the 12 months prior to Sochi was $63k plus program coordination and management. You don’t ask how much it has cost Belle. Nor do you recognise that she was the highest placed Boardercross Olympian at Sochi.

Your organisations “pathway” for athletes is opaque, and demonstrably arbitrary in its application. Your previous correspondence is at odds with Ben’s emailed understanding and verbal advice to Belle as to the criteria for awarding a scholarship. Our legal advice is that Belle has well and truly exceeded the publicly stated criteria for being awarded a scholarship.

What motivates Belle is not funding. It is fair to say she is not fully aware of the total historical costs we have incurred in getting her to Sochi and to this level of performance in her career. She does however know that she cannot afford to train, and be coached and attend competitions around the world, given her meagre capacity to earn a living in her uncommitted time. She is however determined to become self sufficient, and to this end, one of her key motivators was to be awarded a scholarship, based on merit, and relieve her family of as much of the commitment as she could. It’s a basic and fundamental desire to achieve independence. That desire has been left shattered – promises were made, and have been reneged upon. Publicly available documents that provide the criteria for awarding scholarships have been ignored without explanation. She has watched individuals receive specialised and separate coaching and support while she and other athletes have been left out in the cold.

What also has a huge influence over her motivation and performance on any given day is the psychological framework in which she finds herself – during training, trials, racing and competition. It is the recognition and active support from across the entire spectrum of personal and institutional entities involved in her sport, that has so obviously been forthcoming in the past and in the present for a very select few, and which is now deliberately being withheld from Belle. It is that recognition that you chose to withhold in the form of a scholarship. It is the failure to deliver on verbal and written promises of that recognition via a scholarship that she now finds so demotivating and depressing and leaves her questioning where and what she wants to do.

The question is why you treat her in this manner? Is it because she is a female? Is it because she came out, publicly, about her own sexuality prior to the Olympics? Is it because she does not choose to kowtow and grovel to OWIA officialdom? Is it because you cannot “control” her, and she does not jump at OWIA’s every request and demand? If it had only occurred subsequent to Sochi, we could understand it – My outburst during Sochi may have been ill-timed but at least I apologised. But it is a long standing situation that has been on the table for months and ignored by all.

If Kristine’s email to Geoff Lipshut of July 28th, in which she continues to question the team resource allocation process, causes you and your organisations offence, so be it.

We are now considering all of our options and discussing with Belle her future. Belle will advise in due course what action she will take, and which direction she will go, with our full and complete support for whatever decision she makes. We have totally ‘sold out’ at Mt Buller and are free to base ourselves where we feel comfortable and welcome.

Yours Faithfully,
Bruce Brockhoff

PS: Michael – it is very important that you fully understand that my personal ” line in the sand” is the retrospective awarding of a B scholarship, the giving of a blazer and a very public apology.

If a OWIA B was justly awarded retrospectively to Belle I would walk away and you would probably never hear from us again except in praise of your good deeds in supporting young athletes equitably, fair judgement and wise efforts towards winning Gold, and promoting alpine sports in Australia as we believe is part of your charter.

“Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman. Justice Louis Dembitz Brandeis U.S. Supreme Court (1856-1941).

You lost credibility in the Brockhoff household when you claimed the OWIA scholarships table Selection Criteria as published on page 20 of the SSA handbook was an internal document especially when it was referred to by Ben as a just reward for achieving certain benchmarks on many occasions to Belle.

One last word of wisdom probably of more interest to Geoff Lipshut and his statement “……This is not a mediation meeting, but a compulsory SBX program planning activity…”Then why are two ‘important gentlemen’ from Australian Institute of Sport attending as mediators/facilitators?
“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet” is a commonly quoted part of a dialogue in William Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet, in which Juliet argues that the names of things do not matter, only what things “are”.


An open letter to AOC (Australian Olympic Committee) board members

From Bruce and Kristine Brockhoff,                      22 December 2013

Dear AOC board members:

The sporting world’s attention will focus on Sochi in Russia when the 2014 Winter Olympics begin in February, just six short weeks away.

Excitement is building and the 22nd Winter Olympics will see thousands of the world’s best young athletes competing in 98 events in 15 winter sports, providing inspiration, entertainment and spectacular drama for millions of people around the world.

For Australians, the Winter Olympics have become so much more important in the past 20 years due to our successes in events such as speed skating, slalom and mogul skiing, aerial freestyle skiing, and, in 2010, snowboarding.

Aussie athletes like Steven Bradbury, Zali Steggall, Kirstie Marshall, Alisa Camplin, Dale Begg-Smith and Lydia Lassila have become household names and inspired a generation of skaters and skiers.

Our 2010 snowboarding gold medallist Torah Bright has inspired a generation of snowboarders including my daughter, Belle Brockhoff, who is a highly ranked snowboard cross athlete.

I am writing to you with a simple request.

Please encourage the Olympic Winter Institute of Australia to grant Belle a B Class Scholarship.

She has twice met the performance criteria for the scholarship – by winning bronze at the World Cup event in Austria last December (the first Australian woman to stand on the podium in her discipline) and by finishing the 2012-13 season ranked 9th in the world, the highest position ever attained by an Australian woman in snowboard cross. (See page 20 of Ski & Snowboard Australia manual for criteria.)

OWIA has partially acknowledged Belle’s achievements by granting funding partially equivalent to a B scholarship. But OWIA has refused to award the scholarship.

Two seasons ago, Belle stormed onto the World Cup snowboard cross scene, achieving a ranking of 24 after just three World Cup events.

We were told by Ben Wordsworth, AIS Program-Head Coach Olympic Winter Institute Of Australia (OWIA), that Belle would be eligible for a B Class scholarship if she met the criteria.

This provided Belle with a major incentive and she improved her ranking from 24th to 9th, along the way winning bronze in Austria.

Not being awarded the scholarship this year has put a dent in her motivation and yet she is still performing at the highest level.

Belle is representing Australia at the Sochi Olympics knowing she is NOT fully supported by OWIA and AOC.

Financial support has never been important to Belle but can you imagine the boost to her confidence if she was awarded the scholarship virtually on the eve of the Winter Olympics?

It would be acknowledgement of her achievements and dedication since taking up the discipline at age 10 a decade ago.

It might be the X factor that sees her finish on the podium in the snowboard cross final.

She, in turn, will inspire a new generation of Winter Olympians and bring glory to the Australian Olympic movement.

Dare we dream of multiple snowboard gold medals in 2014? Alex “Chumpy” Pullin and Belle Brockhoff – Australia’s newest golden Olympians.

Bruce & Kristine Brockhoff         22 December 2013


Email to Geoff Henke Chairman OWIA

Hello Geoff,                                                                                             Oct 1 2013

I write to you as the Chairman of OWIA.

Further  am  encouraged  to  write  to  you  as you have had the courtesy of letting  us  know that you have received my emails AND you were the first OWIA official  we contacted regarding  our treatment by Ben Wordsworth and Geoff Lipshut regarding OWIA Scholarships. I have attached our first letter to Lipshut dated 3rd February 2013.

I also note your association with my cousin Peter Brockhoff (twice Olympian -ski) & with John his brother and Alan his father, my uncle.

I have attached your emails to me and make the comment that on the eve of the 2hr meeting at Southbank (30th April of Belle, Kristine, Lipshut, Kennedy and Wordsworth) that you strongly encouraged us to attend.  In your email to me on the 24th April you stated “….I acknowledge this morning’s phone call and once again confirm that as of this date the OWIA has not allocated any scholarships to athletes for the forth coming North American/European winter season leading up to Sochi 2013….”.

We believed, like you, that decisions regarding the awarding of OWIA scholarships were not to be made until around 15th of May however decisions had in fact already been made before the 30th April and I further believe that scholarships were awarded at a ceremony two days later on the 2nd of May.

This clearly indicates to me that decisions regarding OWIA scholarships had been made well ahead of the April 30th meeting, which may not have been circulated amongst concerned parties including your good self.

You informed me, in telephone conversations <2 days> prior to the meeting on the 30th April that decisions had NOT been made to award OWIA scholarships and we all accepted this.

Nick Hunter took 48 days to answer the letter from Paul Horvath our Sports Lawyer (attached) with a totally unsatisfactory reply. I feel that the time taken to reply this was not only unacceptable business practice and does not reflect well on the AOC.

It  is  interesting  to  note  that  after Paul Horvath’s (Sports Lawyer) letter a follow up email that more funding suddenly became available within a matter of days of each being sent and according  to  Wordsworth (announced both to Belle in a cafe meeting in Sydney and later in a phone call to Kristine and I) “…..we’re going to fund Belle an equivalent OWIA B scholarship so financially, you’re not out of pocket, at all.……”  .

A second lot of funding increases were also offered by Wordsworth after another follow up email from Paul Horvath requesting a reply to his letter.

My comments to Wordsworth at the time of the phone call were “now you have given Belle funding up “to a OWIA B scholarship” then why not give her the OWIA B title and a blazer and will all ‘get on with life’ and we will forget about your misleading statements last year regarding available scholarships and the anguish they have caused the Brockhoffs for the last 9 months.

Kristine Belle and I can only conclude that as Wordsworth has said on many occasions that the only thing he is interested in is him becoming the coach of a gold medallist. He is apparently prepared to ‘put down’ an up and coming athlete with other athletes of much lower achievements to achieve a ‘gold medal coach label’ and so avoid his training obligations of another OWIA Scholarship holder.

Wordsworth has indicated that he has never wanted to coach another athlete, leading up to Sochi, other than Chumpy (to achieve this goal), yet he is now coaching Cam Bolton a NWIS scholarship holder because Chumpy Pullin wanted a companion and that’s another story as Cam is on a NSWIS scholarship yet getting a OWIA coach (Ben) and extra financial benefits whilst training and travelling with Chumpy.

Wordsworth made the comment to both Kristine and I over the phone that “…. let’s face it women’s boarder cross is a light weight event of little consequence….”

Hardly an encouraging statement to be made to parents by the Head Coach. Parents who have spent probably around $500,000 over 10 years and most of their holidays in support of a dream of their daughter representing Australia. Parents who are proud of their family heritage and its historical association with the Alps of Australia and Peter Brockhoff as an Olympian.

This is despite the fact that women use the same boarder cross course as the men and women brought home the only 2 gold medals last time.  Perhaps one could put other interpretations on this statement but I will leave that for another day as with the incident in NZ.

Now that we have Lukas Prem as Belles coach we don’t want Wordsworth as a coach and most of all do not want to upset the very well thought out plans and support for Chumpy to podium at Sochi.  We wish him well and will take great pride and joy as Aussies if he achieves the success he and his coach aspire to. Belle is very happy with Lukas Prem and is training with him right now.

You may not be aware that some of the highly motivated and competitive interschool snowboard parents (especially at Mt Buller) are in frequent contact with Kristine. Some line up to buy Belles used racing boards as they have for last 9 years and they are watching ‘our case’ very carefully.

As one mum said the other day they “don’t want to go to all effort, trouble and money with their child and be messed around by officers of SSA and OWIA who are more interested in their secure careers and being associated with potential gold medallists than that of the up and coming young athletes”.

Not a week goes by without some ‘competition parents’ consulting Kristine on what are the ‘best’ training schools and coaches in the USA, Europe what is the best gear etc.

One mum made the comment about a published pathway with “rules and goals being made up on the run and with the goal posts being constantly moved..” having seen page 20 of the SSA handbook changed just recently presumably because our case.

I am sure you would be aware of the track record AOC is now laying out for all those up and coming athletes to see in the future. I make no apologies if we answer any questions with absolute honesty if ever asked about our sorry experience with OWIA.

Selected parents and our many supporters are being kept aware of the status of our claim on the OWIA B scholarship by being given the password to relevant sections of .au

Some of the excuses we have been given for Belle not rightfully being awarded an OWIA B scholarship

Page 20 SSA Handbook entitled SELECTION CRITIERIA  is an ‘internal document” – despite the fact it is up on the web site and was posted out to all SSA members as a handbook – Lipshut 30th April

There were not enough funds to support another scholarship.  Lipshut 30th April – however since then two lots of extra funding has now been found after Sports Lawyers letter and follow up emails.

If Chumpy “achieves a result” (i.e. podiums) we are likely to get more funds and Belle & others will benefit in the future. Lipshut 30th April.

My reaction to this last statement is so “let Belle forgo now. Let’s forget about how an OWIA B scholarship would give her the recognition of her achievements in her first full year of international competition and a strong message that the AOC is behind her, supports her and give her the extra positive mental attitude to encourage her “pull out that extra bit” to podium even in her first Olympics.

Kristine & myself and many other parents no longer have confidence in the system in place especially after the arguments put forward at the 2 hour meeting 30th April in which Lipshut Kennedy and Wordsworth attempted for over one hour to justify why Belle was not being awarded a OWIA B. (I have a tape recording of the meeting which I urge you to listen to – I can email it on to you if you wish).

The picture being painted for us and others is that OWIA and its officers are only interested in the possibility that they may be able to bask in the glory of a gold medal won by Chumpy that’s if he presumably he stands up or is not involved in an accident. AND the dilemma for the Brockhoffs is that these officials (presumably) are still going to be ‘running the show’ after Sochi which is not a very encouraging prospect for any of us if our past experience is anything to go on.

The entrenched stance by OWIA supported by Gosper gives no recognition to Belles achievements by not awarding an OWIA B Scholarship as set out on page 20 and promised on many occasions by Wordsworth in 2012 if she qualified – which she has twice over..

We have tried to be polite about this injustice but have got nowhere except for vague promises that extra funding has been found up to a OWIA B level (still not fully quantified) yet not the recognition of Belles achievements on the World stage that comes with an OWIA B scholarship.

Fiona de Jong, whilst giving us a fair hearing, could not offer any satisfactory reason as to why an OWIA B has not been awarded after and in depth investigation.

We found Fiona De Jong a welcome change to some of the negatives we get from OWIA and SSA. We believe Fiona is supportive of our ‘claim’ and she certainly agreed that mental confidence has a big influence on performance of an athlete, supported by appropriate recognition of Belle’s past achievements

Fiona was disappointed to hear about the experience we had had with another section of her organization and that the system had let us down. That the four year cycle does not cater for a rising star. I believe she even ventured to say that having heard our story if she was in our shoes she would feel the same way.

We believe that Fiona has been ‘taken off our case’ by her boss and now does not return my phone calls? We can only presume that her way of thinking does not suit the entranced stance taken by Lipshut and Wordsworth and others.

We ask you to pass on our thanks for giving us a hearing and for showing us some understanding of what motivates and drives athletes and showing compassion from a female’s point of view and as a lawyer in her own right.

My comment is that if “the system does not cater for a  rising (emerging)  star”  then why not use the once published option “The OWI may award Individual Scholarships in exceptional circumstances where it is determined that a scholarship will add significant value to an individual athletes program and ultimately enhance their performance.”  Now deleted from page 20 on SSA Web site <for a few days then reinstalled>.

I recently related our experience to an old mate of mine a very successful ‘snarly’ Barrister of note. He has become very sympathetic to our cause and is aware of what this experience is doing to the Brockhoffs. He willing to take on our case pro bono should the need arise so we are briefing him in detail at the moment. I should point out that this would be the very last course of action we want to take.

Channel 10 top sports commentator, producer camera man and sound engineer flew down from Sydney and spent 5 hours on our farm two weeks ago  interviewing Belle at great depth. By the type of questions and comments from the commentator they clearly show their faith in Belles future possibilities and were well aware of her achievements. This was a welcome positive for the whole family.

I mentioned to the producer that we had been “having problems with the AOC” but I chose not to go into detail at this stage.

Geoff,  I  can  only  conclude  by  reminding  you of your words in one of our phone conversations  “that  you have every confidence in OWIA”  because after Belles and our treatment  by SSA and OWIA we certainly do not have any confidence in them quite the opposite and we now have to think twice about what Wordsworth’s says in the future in regard to available scholarships.

Below are the last few words of our phone conversation the last time Kristine and I spoke to Wordsworth.

(Ben)  “ … we’re going to fund Belle an equivalent OWIA B scholarship so financially, you’re not out of pocket, at all…”.

I protested that I thought it was “mean spirited” that if you are going to give her the $’s then why not give her the OWIA B scholarship and blazer and be done with it. A scholarship Belle has qualified for twice over according to your published rules in the SSA handbook and web site headed by “Selection Criteria”.

(Ben) “…… that’s a shame you think like that .. because I’ve managed to coach a two time world champion…Anyway, I’ll speak to you guys soon.”

[Kristine]  All right, thank you Ben. Bye.”

Geoff I urge you to think about that last statement of Wordsworths. I would venture to say this is the key to the whole affair. Wordsworth priority’s seems to be only interested in being the coach of a world champion &/or a gold medallist?

This statement came out of the blue with no warning and I cannot see the relevance to our conversation at the time other than to demonstrate his priorities which in this case do not help my daughter at all. Especially when he thinks (and says) “… women’s boarder cross is a light weight event of little consequence..”!

This whole impasse appears to be for the guarantee of achieving a Gold Medal or a result and the edification and glory of the Head Coach Ben Wordsworth who we believe has a major input into scholarship allocations.

Further Lipshut thinks he will get more funding for the next Olympics if Chumpy achieves a result  – maybe!  and Gosper is adamant that nothing will change no matter what Kristine thinks she heard of Wordsworth!

We only want justice to be done and to be seen to be done (by us and our  many supporters) by a simple announcement, no matter how small, by the awarding of a  OWIA B scholarship, a blazer and funding brought up to the genuine OWIA B level.

We would move quietly off into our normal way of life, dropping all protestations, whilst knowing and finding comfort in the fact that the AOC is completely behind Belle, to the best of its ability as I would have thought was the job of the AOC in the first place.

As a previous Olympian, Geoff, you will I am sure appreciate that the awarding of a an OWIA scholarship with its clear recognition of Belles achievements on the world stage and implied AOC support and may even be the difference between Belle just representing Australia at Sochi, without result, compared to her achieving podium result for herself, the Brockhoffs and Australia.

We ask you as Chairman to organise the awarding of an OWIA B Scholarship using your clearly stated exceptional circumstances option (temporarily deleted from the SSA Handbook on its web site) and I quote.

“The OWI May award Individual Scholarships in exceptional circumstances where it is determined that a scholarship will add significant value to an individual athletes program and ultimately enhance their performance.”

Kristine and I look forward to an early reply to this email.

I ask you to phone me when convenient to discuss other matters ‘off the record’ which I am not prepared to ‘put down’ on paper.

Thanks     Best Regards    Bruce & Kristine Brockhoff

LETTER TO: Geoff Lipshut Chief Executive Officer, Olympic Winter Institute of Australia (OWIA),    AIS Winter Sports program

Dear Geoff,                                                                                    Sunday, February 03, 2013

We write to raise a matter relating to scholarships and the way decisions in regards to awarding scholarships have been made. We have been reluctant to raise this as we do not wish to cause offence but despite our best efforts we have been unable to understand how and why these decisions are made.

Due to the fact we have the 2014 Olympic Games looming next year and the fact that our daughter Belle is a likely selection in the women’s SBX event, we wish to raise a few issues of concern.

One major issue of concern for us as parents from a financial perspective, given the increasing difficulty we are having financing Belle in her quest to compete and improve. As importantly, however, it also goes to Belle’s sense of self worth and acknowledgement of her value as an Australian athlete and to the Australian team.

As mentioned above we are confident Belle is on track for selection at next year’s OWG for women’s SBX event and we are keen to give her every advantage physically and financially to achieve this goal.

As a result we write to request information about how these scholarship decisions are made and an explanation of some of the anomalies that we have perceived.

Our issues are as follows;

1.            Belle Brockhoff

Last year Belle received only an NSWIS, in spite of her world ranking of 24th.. This put her in the same category as four young male competitors, three of whom had considerably lower world rankings:

Jarryd Hughes – 31st

Cameron Bolton – 59th

Andy Fisher – 73rd

Daniel Morrissy – 91st

Belle’s ranking last year was 24th.  Belle’s current ranking is 8th.

We highlight below a number of quite striking anomalies when you consider her performance/s, not only last season, but this season compared to the above mentioned SBX athletes – but results against current OWIA scholarship holders, not only in Snow Board but Skier Cross,  for example:

  • Kent Callistar, for Snowboard Half Pipe, was awarded a ‘C’ Scholarship. Kent’s best result at a benchmark competition, (one included in published SSA/OWIA selection criteria), was 48th at the Sprint US Grand Prix. Belle, however, was 16th. In addition, Kent is a US citizen and has not qualified for a World Cup start. We are not sure how he has qualified for an Australian funded scholarship at all?
  • Apart from Alex and Jarryd Belle’s SBX World Cup results have been far superior to her other male counterparts.
  • When reviewing the situation with Skiercross, Anton Grimus was awarded his OWIA ‘B’ Scholarship, with a best result World Cup result of 10thplace, achieved after he received the original scholarship of OWIA ‘B’. Last season (2011/2012) Belle achieved a 9th place in the 2nd World Cup race of her career.  I believe this has never been achieved previously. Also having competed in only 3 World Cup races and in her 1st World Cup season, she finished with a ranking of 24th. Belle also achieved 4 podiums and 2 wins in NorAms during last Northern winter. Unlike Anton, Belle has received no recognition of her top 10 WC achievement (a 9th place).

2.            Gender Inequality / Conflict of Interest

How do we understand these anomalies? On what basis do decision makers award scholarships to males and females? Given the situations we have presented above, we believe it is reasonable to ask why it is that Belle did not receive at least the same level of support as her male counterparts.  Apart from issues of gender equity, surely she presents a unique opportunity to promote the sport to young women and demonstrate that they are also valued members of the “Australian team”. An acknowledgement or understanding of her potential by decision makers would certainly go a long way in keeping Belle’s confidence high for her to continue her solid performances. Her podium finish in a recent World Cup race surely supports this view.

Currently, Australia does not support a female SBX program.

When Belle is competing at World Cup events for Australia – she does not have the full support of Australia’s technicians i.e.; Wax tech, physiotherapist.

The cost is considerable for us to consider funding a wax tech. Currently, her coach’s position is compromised as he is acting as both coach and wax tech and is responsible for outsourcing a medical practitioners should it be needed.

Belle is finding this both challenging and frustrating also and we do not believe Belle should be compromised i.e.; operating on limited resources, when she is competing in the same event as her male counterparts.

Australia has a National wax tech at races and should, we would expect, could have been available. It has been put to us by others that this is not fair either to Belle or to her coach and is a significant underutilization of valuable resources on Australia’s part.

There is a second issue we need to raise in regards to gender inequality and possible conflict of interest in the light of the approaching 2014 Winter Olympics.

We believe that our National Coach could be placed in a difficult and compromised position should a current arrangement continue.  We are of the understanding he has contracted to coach Alexandra Jekova, a Bulgarian National female SBX athlete, who we believe will compete for Bulgaria at the next Olympics.  Alexandra’s father, Victor Jekova, is employed by Australia as Australia’s wax tech and must surely also be compromised when it comes to another Australian female SBX athlete who could compete directly against his daughter at the Olympics. While it is a small world in elite snowsports, such conflicts should, we believe, be avoided so that there can be no question of bias against certain athletes or favourable treatment for others.

We are also aware of the personal relationship between Alex Pullin and Alexandra Jekova.

We would like you to consider, the physiological effect that this decision by Australia has on Belle – to support a non Australian female SBX athlete when we have a current Australian female SBX athlete who has been achieving top 10 ranking and a podium result at World Cup level this season– and is not being fully supported by her own country.

In summary, we would be grateful if you could provide us with:

  • Full details of the criteria used for decision relating to OWIA scholarships;
  • An explanation of why Belle was overlooked last year for an OWIA scholarship when her performances were superior to allocated male scholarship holders ; and what Australia has planned for Belle ‘Scholarship wise’ in light of her World Cup results this season and leading up to the 2014 Olympic Games;
  • An explanation of why it is appropriate for the National coach, paid by Australia, to also be coaching an non Australian athlete who will potentially compete directly against Australia in the coming Winter Olympics;

We are hopeful that there are simple answers to these questions. Belle works very hard to achieve great results, is committed to competing for Australia at the coming Olympics and deserves to be treated equitably, in a manner that recognizes her potential and her achievements.

We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Sincerely Bruce and & Kristine Brockhoff

PS:  On Tuesday Michel Kennedy indicated that there could be a special grant “Direct Athlete Grant or the like, to part help an athlete out mid race season and wonder if this is available at this time.

Please be aware that we have put a section of our family farm on the market, which we have held since 1939, in part to support Belles aspirations.


From: []
Sent: Sunday, April 28, 2013 2:57 AM
To: Geoff Lipshut
Cc: Ben Wordsworth; Henke;
Subject: Meeting with Ben and Geoff

Hello Geoff,                                                                                     April  28th

Thank you for your invitation for Belle, Kristine and myself to attend a meeting on Tuesday 30th.

During a recent phone conversation with Craig Phillips (Secretary General, Australian Olympic Committee – Board member of OWIA) he recently stated that OWIA scholarships have not been decided upon as yet. This was further confirmed in an email and conversation with Geoff Henke (Chairman OWIA) this week.

Given the above and that Ben Wordsworth told Belle in Spain that she would probably not be receiving a B class OWIA scholarship (even thought she qualifies on two counts being ranked 9th in Word Cup standing and a podium in Montafon) we are now questioning the purpose of the meeting on Tuesday.

With respect, we feel as a family, it would be wiser to put the meeting off until the OWIA funding and scholarships have been decided upon.

If there are other reasons for having a meeting would you kindly list these and provide us with an agenda for the meeting detailing any offers of support you might be giving to Belle so that we consider these before hand and come to the meeting well prepared.

Please be aware that my normal email address of Bruce Brockhoff <> ie has NOT been working for up to 4 weeks. Please now use until we can find and fix the problem.

Thank you

Best regards,
Bruce Brockhoff BEc


Email to Geof Lipshut

Dear Geoff,                                                                May 1st   2013

Thank you for your email which clarified in part the purpose of the meeting.

We are not versed in the ways of your meetings in fact after scouring through all our correspondence we have not found a formal invitation to the meeting nor been able to really find the purpose of the meeting.

After your email yesterday we now understand it is going to be a two way process with the emphasis on Belle explaining her plans and ambitions to podium in the Olympics and the extent that we are willing to continue to support her. We expect that you will be laying out details of your support at least as much as you can until scholarships are decided upon.

Recently we felt that our input was not welcome from some of your comments at the end of your emails and I quote one of them

“….. In future regarding all snowboard related issues, please communicate with Head Coach Ben Wordsworth. In my opinion as a young adult Belle is best to communicate with Ben herself and relay information back to yourselves”.

Also allow me to quote from a recent email from Ben to Belle.

“…….I deal with athletes and athletes only. You are 20 years of age and I expect you to take control of your snowboarding and be responsible for its outcomes. ………

I have copied your mum in on this email as a curtsy only, all future discussions will be between you and me, in which case you should then discuss with your family…”

For the sake of a now wider audience I quote my SSMS/Email to both you and Ben after your comments

“We (Kristine and I) strive to isolate Belle from matters raised in our (first) letter to you so she can concentrate mind & body on podiums.

Whilst her cognitive skills are not fully developed (until around age 25) & whilst she could feel intimidated by officialdom we will be looking after all major matters pertaining to her sporting decisions, scholarships, sponsorships etc especially whilst we are paying most of the $k’s to support her noble pursuits” <which we have done for the last 21 years>

Kristine and I often asked each other “who do we turn to now”. As a consequence we have consulted with a number of parents and past officials.

For the information of the now wider audience I have included my query to you regarding the safety and support we could expect for Belle Sochi and your reply.

Kristine and Belle will be attending your meeting know we know its purpose. It looks like my farm emergencies will preclude my attending the meeting. I will be giving Belle a tape recorder so that I can hear the meeting later on.

We have just started lambing down 1000 ewes. Yesterday we had to cope with neighbor’s dogs mauling ewes and killing newly born lambs. This meant me staying up most of the night with spot lights and high powered rifles. No doubt this emergency will continue for a number of days and nights till we dispatch the offending pet dogs. I have attached a photo of an attacked lamb however I urge those with a weak stomach not to view this photo.

The Brockhoffs are very proud of our association and input to the Alps of Australia going right back to the early 20’s when Harold (my father), Allen & (Sir) Jack Brockhoff first started skiing. Later Joyce Brockhoff, Mother of Peter (twice an Olympic competitor), had a ski run named after her and a refuse hut built in her honor at Hotham.

I know Belle very well and I can assure you she is absolutely determined to podium at an Olympics, hopefully with the maximum support you good selves can muster, otherwise we will try and go it alone.

If she has inherited any of the fighting spirit and absolute determination to win at all costs of her ‘Old Man’ then I predict she will achieve her ultimate goal.

I hope the meeting goes well and that the outcome is a better understanding all round.


Bruce Brockhoff BEc


 The Australian Olympic Committee took 53 days to reply to the following letter from our Sports Lawyer

TO: Mr Nick Hunter     June 27th  2013 High Performance Manager Australian Sports Commission PO Box 176 BELCONNEN  ACT  2616 Dear Mr Hunter,

Re: Belle Brockhoff – Application for Olympic Winter Institute of Australia Scholarship

We are instructed to act on behalf of the Brockhoff family, including Mr Bruce Brockhoff, Mrs Kristine Brockhoff and Ms Belle Brockhoff. Ms Belle Brockhoff advises us that she was eligible for an Olympic Winter Institute of Australia (OWIA) scholarship in 2013.  She further instructs that she was eligible for a National Team ‘C’ scholarship in 2012, but was advised by the Head Coach, AIS/OWIA Snowboard Program, Mr Ben Wordsworth not to pursue this, and instead to wait until 2013 and then receive a National Team ‘B’ scholarship, provided she had achieved the necessary event results. We refer to the criteria set out in the Australian Snowboard Handbook (version 2.0, May, 2012) produced by Ski and Snowboard Australia (SSA) in conjunction with the Australian Sports Commission (ASC).  We further specifically refer to the scholarship Selection Criteria set out at pages 20-21, and page 9 (copy attached).

We also note that scholarship criteria were provided at the Ski and Snowboard Australia website. Our client met the National Team ‘C’ requirements in 2012.  However, she was only offered an NSWIS scholarship. in 2012.  Mr Wordsworth suggested that Belle not immediately pursue any OWI scholarship in order to increase her chances of gaining a National Team ‘B’ scholarship in 2013.  However, in 2013, Ms Brockhoff was advised by Mr Wordsworth that she would not be receiving any OWIA scholarship.  The Brockhoffs also discovered in 2013 that Belle should have pursued in 2012 a National Team ‘C’ scholarship as that would have increased her chances of simply then being upgraded in 2013 to a National Team ‘B’ scholarship.  They were not advised of this in 2012.  Mr Wordsworth advised Belle in 2012 that she should accept the NSWIS scholarship, and if she met the National team ‘B’ scholarship in 2013, she would be granted that scholarship. There does not appear to be any proper basis for refusing to grant Ms Brockhoff the scholarship she is currently seeking.  She has fulfilled all of the criteria required for the grant of a National Team ‘B’ scholarship.  She is currently ranked No 9 in the world for women’s Snowboard Cross.  In 2012 she was ranked No 24 in the world.  She has achieved 3 top 10 finishes at World Cup Races at:

  • 3rd place SBX World Cup at Montafon, Austria, on 7th December, 2012;
  • 6th place SBX World Cup at Sochi, Russia (Olympic Test Event), on 17th February, 2013;
  • 9th place SBX World Cup at Veysonnaz, Switzerland, on 16th March, 2013

Alex Pullin was 5th place at the Olympic Test Event on the same course at which Belle was placed 6th. He is also 5+ years older than Belle. Mr Bruce & Mrs Kristine Brockhoff wrote to Mr Geoff Lipshut, OWIA CEO, on 3rd February, 2013, outlining some of their concerns as to the financial support that was not being provided to Belle, but that was being provided to other winter Olympic athletes with lower achievements than Belle, and with less future promise than has been shown over the past two years by Belle.  The response dated 1st March, 2013, and the subsequent confirmation that Belle would not be a recipient of an OWIA scholarship this year are wholly unsatisfactory.

We note that the current situation created by the refusal of appropriate scholarships and support from the OWIA, SSA and ASC is causing Ms Brockhoff considerable stress and anxiety, and this is diverting some of her energies away from training and competition for the snowboard cross event.  Ultimately, Australia stands to benefit on the world stage from her optimising her performances, though she will also benefit. Our clients are very concerned that the current impasse that seems to have been reached between the family and the OWIA and SSA in particular may lead to a selection dispute in the lead up to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, which is something they are very keen to avoid. For completeness we note that a meeting was held on 30th April, 2013, between Michael Kennedy, CEO of Ski and Snowboard Australia, Mr Geoff Lipshut, CEO of the OWIA, Ben Wordsworth, and Mrs Kristine and Ms Belle Brockhoff.

However, to date no proper explanation has been given as to why Belle Brockhoff has not received appropriate recognition for her rankings and achievements, including but not limited to an OWIA scholarship, not being designated as a World Class Athlete (as opposed to a Developing International Class Athlete) within the Australian team: We note that the failure to grant Belle an OWIA scholarship adversely affects her being classed as a World Class Athlete.  Belle is also a Tier 1 (Checkpoint #1) athlete in the same category as Alex Pullin – see attachment marked “Snowboard Selection Priority and Ranking List”.

In our clients’ view, Ms Belle Brockhoff has met the qualifying criteria set out in the handbook and previously on the website for an OWI scholarship.  She relied on the Selection Criteria stated in the handbook, and achieved the criteria through very hard work over a period of 12-24 months. We are seeking a prompt and amicable resolution.  Our client recognises that she has a long future ahead of her in this sport, dealing with many of the parties involved in the current matter.

Yours faithfully, Paul Horvath – Sports Lawyer


Snowboard Slection Priority & Ranking list           Selection Criteria page 20 SSA handbook 14.8.2013         Selection Criteria SSA page 20 handbook 18.8.2012001 2 of 2


From: Nick Hunter []
Sent: Monday, 12 August 2013 6:03 PM
To: Paul Horvath
Subject: FW: Belle Brockhoff

Dear Mr Horvath,

My apologies for the delay in responding to your correspondence regarding Belle Brockhoff. In order to provide a comprehensive response I sought the necessary information from the Olympic Winter Institute of Australia, which I received only last week.

In response to your questions as to why Belle Brockhoff has not been offered an OWIA scholarship for 2013/2014 the OWIA has advised me that:

1. The criteria that you refer to are not the OWI scholarship selection criteria. Instead they are funding criteria for athletes who have already been selected for OWIA scholarships. Ski and Snowboard Australia erroneously published them as scholarship “Selection Criteria”.

2. For 2013/2014 the OWIA Snowboard Cross program is a program for one individual athlete, as it has been since July 2010. The one Snowboard Cross athlete on OWIA scholarship for 2013/2014 is the current world champion. The OWIA informs me that it does not have the resources to expand its scholarship program to additional Snowboard Cross athletes in 2013/2014 and be able to maintain the program’s current standard of individual athlete support.

3. In the absence of an OWIA Snowboard Cross squad program in 2013/2014 the OWIA has enhanced its support to the NSWIS Snowboard scholarship program to assist a broader group of high performance snowboard athletes. This includes a level of access to OWIA staff and services for NSWIS athletes, including Belle Brockhoff. In 2013/2014 the OWIA is also providing additional cash support to the NSWIS scholarship program to provide targeted individual support to Belle Brockhoff. This is to assist her preparation for qualification and participation in the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi. Details will be available from NSWIS.

4. The OWIA will review all of its programs, including Snowboard Cross, after the 2014 Olympic Winter Games. Given the recent growth in numbers of high performance athletes in Snowboard Cross it is possible that the current individual scholarship program will change to a squad scholarship program for the 2014/2015 program year. Based on her recent competition performances Belle Brockhoff would be a strong contender for a scholarship in such an OWIA squad program, commencing on 1 July 2014.


Nick Hunter

Performance Manager Australian Institute of Sport

Australian Sports Commission
Tel: +61 2 6214 1911

Mob: +61 409 048 434

Fax: +61 2 6214 7666

Email:       Web:



From: <>
To: Fiona de Jong <>
Date: Tuesday, August 13, 2013, 9:43:47 AM
Subject: Belle – OWIA B Scholarship

Dear Fiona,                                                                 August 13 2013

The lack of support for Belle has been an ongoing for nearly a year.

Ben Wordsworth informed Belle and Kristine & I last year on many separate occasions that if we accepted a lower NSWIS scholarship last year Belle would get an appropriate OWIA scholarship this year if she did well last Northern winter, which she did with a podium and a ranking of 9th.
Chumpy Pullin was only ranked 14th yet was RE-awarded an OWIA A scholarship in 2012. He is now ranked 1st in 2013 on the same OWIA A (plus) scholarship.

Belle is presently ranked 9th in the world with a 3rd in Austria & qualifies for a B OWIA Scholarship on 2 counts yet is only awarded a NSWIS scholarship same as she was given when she was ranked 24th in 2012!

Belle came 6th in the Olympic test event his year with Chumpy Pullin came 5th. Belle is 20 years old and Chumpy will be 26 in a few Weeks.

Belle is the first Aussie women to ever podium in BX

When Belle was 19 she was ranked 24th and at 20 she is now ranked 9th. By comparison Chumpy had no ranking at 19 and was ranked 30th at age 20.

No logical reason has ever been given by anyone at OWIA or SSA as to why she no longer qualifies for a OWIA B Scholarship

Ben has made it abundantly clear that he does not want another athlete to train and upset his plans for Chumpy Pullin to podium at Sochi despite the fact that Cameron Bolton “Chumpys mate” is training alongside him who is ranked much lower than Belle.

Belle is more than happy to now have Lucas Prem as a coach as she wants is to be left alone to prepare for Sochi but have the recognition of her achievements.

Belle has recently been told by Ben Wordsworth in a Café meeting in Sydney a few weeks ago that she would be getting the “equivalent benefits of an OWIA B scholarship” which on examination of his email detailing a table of benefits is short of the mark.

Ben later phoned Kristine and I to say “…….on top of Belle’s NSWIS scholarship, on top of the funding that she already gets through NSWIS, the OWIA is going to fund items for Belle that will pull her in line to what she would get if she was a scholarship holder of the B level with the OWIA…It will be equivalent of level B…”
He also went on to say that he will no longer will be dealing with us (on instruction from his bosses) despite the fact that Kristine is Belle’s manager whilst we negotiate with another manager. Kristine has been looking after Belle for 10 years as manager.

The first email from Ben detailing the increased benefits to Belle fell well short of the normal B benefits however these benefits were further increased in another email from Ben received last Friday in which “more funds have been found” yet not really quantified on the email. (see attached).
I believe it is not without coincidence that suddenly more funds were found when our second ultimatum was due to expire on last Friday as was the first soon after the letter from our Sports Lawyer.

Lipshut, Kennedy and Wordsworth have tried to call the OWIA selection criteria (pathway) document an internal document despite the fact it was included in a handbook sent to all SSA members and appears on their web site.

In Nick Hunters reply received yesterday (just after our conversation) they now call it a mistake to quote their words “….. Ski and Snowboard Australia erroneously published them as scholarship “Selection Criteria…’

<We now have 3 copies of emails sent to other  athletes  in which Ben clearly explains the requirements to achieve OWIA scholarships and ataches the table.  At this stage we wish to keep the identity of the athlete anonymous should we need this as evidence down the track>.

Kristine, Belle and I only want that part of the OWIA B Scholarship that gives her a Blazer and a title. We do not want Ben Wordsworth if he comes with the scholarship and we don¹t want his wax tech’s and other privileges that would come with Ben Wordsworth as a coach.
Most of all we don¹t want to upset the arrangement with Chumpy in his quest for gold and the glorification of Ben as the Head Coach which he makes no bones about in almost every conversation with we have him.
We just want rightful recognition that comes with being awarded a B OWIA scholarship which she has earned and was promised on many occasions if she earned it.

Belle is up there with Alex Chumpy Pullin on the Tier 1 ranking see attached yet is not awarded an OWIA B Scholarship. It is demoralizing for her not to be recognised for her results with a B scholarship.
Upon receiving such recognition we would be prepared to drop all claims and resume a normal and hopefully fruitful relationship with all at OWIA, SSA and Ben Wordsworth.

Gender bias has been quite blatant and demeaning for and number of years note my email to Duncan Fischer 10 August 2011
“Belle achieved her very first winning place in a FIS race at Hotham this weekend in her come back to Boarder Cross with only 2 practice days in Boarder Cross in three years and all SSA <Ben Wordsworth> can do is to mention the men’s results.

Can you please contact SSA and ask “if the Herald Sun can mention the women’s results at Hotham why can’t SSA”
If the ABC chooses to do an interview with Belle on Monday night at 8pm for 15 minutes why can’t SSA even mention the 3 women who podium in one of the few FIS race held in Australia…..”

It should be noted that Ben Wordsworth’s said over the phone last year (on loudspeaker) to Kristine & I that “……lets face it, Women’s Boardercross is A LIGHT WEIGHT EVENT OF LITTLE CONSEQUENCE……”  Despite the fact female athletes brought back the only 2 Gold Medals from last Olympics and that women use same BX course as men etc et al.

It is interesting to note the following words on page 20 of the OWIA Selection Criteria Handbook sent to all SSA members.
“Individual Scholarships (above OWIA- Program Levels table page 20)
The OWI may award Individual Scholarships in exceptional circumstances where it is determined that a scholarship will add significant value to an individual athletes program and ultimately enhance their performance.”

An OWIA B and a blazer would have a tremendous affect on Belle and help to pull her out of her depressions and give her confidence to podium for Australia because at the moment she feels Australia is against her and does not recognize her achievements which have been achieved in a short time since taking up Boardercross again.

After our conversation yesterdays we now feel reassured that Belles place for the Olympics will be based on her performances and not be affected by what action we may take to redress this most unfortunate impasse.


Best regards,
Bruce Brockhoff BEc


From: <>

To: Fiona de Jong <>
Date: Wednesday, August 14, 2013, 10:01:36 AM
Subject: Belle – OWIA B Scholarship

Hello Fiona,                                                                                      August 14th   2013

I have a couple of other matters I feel you would like know about and ask you to phone me at your convenience. I believe these would be best covered in conversation rather than in writing

Also as Belle is not skilled in financial matters has not reached her ‘majority’ we as concerned parents, respectfully ask all officers of the AOC OWIA, SSA and coaches not to involve her in any funding, subsidising or scholarship matters by email, CC email or conversation so that she can concentrate on training and reparation to her best ability to represent Australia at the Sochi Olympics.

Funding, subsidising or scholarship matters or the like are a reminder to her that whilst she qualified for a B scholarship twice over she was not awarded a B and was given no satisfactory reason by OWIA nor SSA officers and upsets her greatly.

Belle is easily intimidated by officialdom and apart from not being gifted with oratory she is very unsure of her rights as an individual and an athlete. Your cooperation will be appreciated.

Thanks  Best regards,

Bruce Brockhoff BEc


From:” <>
Date: Monday, 19 August 2013
To: Ben Wordsworth <>
Cc: Fiona de Jong <>, Kristine Brockhoff <>, Lukas Prem <>
Subject: Additional Funding


As it is 3am  I will not wake Kristine to discuss you your email I have just read as she has been sleeping very badly ever since the meeting  some 4 months ago with Belle you Kennedy and Lipshut at Southbank in fact she is under medication.

Kristine and I will discuss you email as soon as she awakes however as a matter urgency I ask you to have face to face meeting with Belle and appologise to her for putting her under unnecessary stress and say to her that will most likely be resuming normal communications with Kristine on funding, subsidising, financial or scholarship matters or the like as you have up until recently.

I have asked Lucas Prem (her coach recently appointed) to be present at all meetings you have with her to give her support and will ask him again to be present at such an urgent meeting.

If you don’t then I can tell you as her father and from the pleading from Belle for this impasse to stop over the last 48 hours Australia could lose yet another budding young potential Olympian as she feels so ostracized and unsupported by you and your bosses since the meeting at Southbank.  Belle is well aware of the treatment metered out to other females in the past and she keeps on reminding Kristine and I that she does not want to be put in the same position.

I really hope you urgently meet with Belle and try to convince her of her worth and that all Aussies will be supporting her from now on and especially up until and at the Olympics because she will podium if not at Sochi at  future Olympics such is her and her parents resolve  given a fare go and support becoming of the Olympic movement.

Your cooperation will be appreciated



Dear Ben,

Programming, training, travelling arrangements, competitions entries etc or any other matter are ok topics to be discussed with Belle so long they do not involve funding, subsidising or scholarships.

These topics are taboo topics with Belle. She has pleaded with both Kristine and I to be kept out of these matters and I ask you to find the Christian charity in you to leave her out of these matters.

Belle  will cooperate with you in any way you wish however I reiterate she does not want to be involved in any way with funding, subsidising or scholarships.

You will only upset her if you keep on bringing up these matters which you used to talk over with  Kristine in great detail over many years up until a few weeks ago.

We can only speculate on what you are trying to do to our daughter.

I would like to remind you of my email and SMS to you on the 30th April and I quote.

“We (Kristine and I) strive to isolate Belle from matters raised in our (first) letter to you so she can concentrate mind & body on podiums.  Whilst her cognitive skills are not fully developed (until around age 25) & whilst she could feel intimidated by officialdom we will be looking after all major matters pertaining to her sporting decisions, scholarships, sponsorships etc especially whilst we are paying most of the $k’s to support her noble pursuits”

You took nearly 7 weeks to answer our letter via our Sports Lawyer we need a few weeks to consider your latest offer no matter how vague it presents.

In the mean time just leave her alone please.




Regarding  your email to Belle  you are respectfully asked not to involve Belle  in  any  financial  matters what so ever. She is in training to represent Australia not to cope with offers of little detail from you.

You  offer  is totally lacking in detail to the extent that we cannot accept it unless you provide more substantive detail.

Kristine,  her mother is  her Manager,  and had been for over 10 years and you will deal with you only and you may not deal with Belle.

Your insistence on doing so will be considered intimatetory and coerciveness.

Please  be  aware  of  my  email to Fiona Dejong as Belle had requested tonight  and  on  many  occasions  she  wants  to  be left out of all negotiations so she can podium at Sochi.

Your cooperation or otherwise will be closely monitored.


===8<==============Original message text===============

Email to Fiona De Jong

Hello Fiona,

I  have a couple of other matters I feel you would like know about and
ask you to phone me at your convenience.  I believe these would be best covered in conversation rather than in writing.

Also as Belle is not skilled in financial matters has not reached her ‘majority’ we as concerned parents,  respectfully ask  all officers of the AOC OWIA, SSA and coaches not to involve her in any funding, subsidising or scholarship matters by email, CC email or conversation so that she can concentrate on training and  reparation to her best ability to represent Australia at the Sochi Olympics.

Funding, subsidising or scholarship  matters or the like are a  reminder to her that whilst she qualified for a B scholarship twice over she was not awarded a B and was given no satisfactory reason by OWIA nor SSA officers and upsets her greatly.

Belle is easily intimidated by officialdom and apart from not being gifted with oratory she is very unsure of her rights as an individual and an athlete.

Your cooperation will be appreciated.


Best regards,
Bruce Brockhoff  BEc


Dear Ben,                                                                                    September 24th  2013

I thank you for your last email and apologize for the delay in responding.

We note your statement in your last phone call to Bruce and I “….. that we’re going to fund Belle an equivalent OWIA B  scholarship so financially, you’re not out of pocket, at all……”  and in a similar offer to Belle in the Café meeting in Sydney.

We now ask you for a detailed answer as to whether the second round of additional funding now brings the total offer of support (including NSWIS, the first round of additional funding and now this second round of additional funding)  now bring Belles total support up to the level of a OWIA B scholarship or are we still out of pocket which you and OWIA apparently want to avoid.

We believe that if this is the case then why not half coaches expenses such as flights accommodation and travel expenses are not included (Belle’s half share of Lu with Daniel).

I can only presume that this could be difficult for you as the rules as originally displayed in the SSA handbook appear to have been changed recently and as Fiona De Jong stated in a recent phone call with Bruce and I that whether they are rules or guidelines they are usually drawn up allowing a degree of interpretation I think she used the words “degree of wriggle room” especially when the four year cycle does not seemingly cater for an emerging talent.

I’m sure you know as a coach that once an athlete reaches a peak level of physical readiness similar to other world class contenders then it’s the mental confidence that will help her to podium. I can’t tell you how critical it is for Belle to be convinced that her country is right behind her and especially the AOC is totally supportive of her in the spirit of its mandate – and certainly not against her.

Such confidence and sense of recognition could ultimately be the deciding factor in Belle achieving a podium or not at World Championships and especially at Sochi.

Bruce and I found Fiona De Jong a welcome change to the some of the negatives we get from OWIA and SSA. We believe Fiona  is very supportive of our ‘claim’ and she certainly agreed that mental confidence has a big influence on performance supported by appropriate recognition of Belle’s past achievements.

If that is the case then why not use the published option “The OWI may award Individual Scholarships in exceptional circumstances where it is determined that a scholarship will add significant value to an individual athletes program and ultimately enhance their performance.”  now deleted from page 20 on SSA Web site. <now back again after being deleted for a few days – I believe they are rattled realising they have no where to go?>

I believe Fiona went on to say that she was disappointed to hear about the experience we had had with another section of her organization <the AOC> and that the system had let us down.

After listening to the tape recording of the two hour meeting at Ice House (of Belle, myself,  yourself, Lipshut and Kennedy) I find the statement  of Lipshut that if Chumpy achieves  a planned result, a podium or Gold Medal, then more funding should available for Belle after the Sochi Olympics quite strange.

What about funding and benefits NOW for Belle with the awarding of an OWIA B and all their benefits. Why should Belle have to wait for the 4 year cycle apart from the fact that Chumpy could be knocked out off the course or even fall in Sochi and then you <Ben> don’t get that title of a ‘gold coach’.

Ben we can assure you that Belle often hides her feelings to outsiders especially officials but confides in Bruce and I as her father and mother. It’s a great shame that those concerned at the AOC cannot appreciate the damage they are doing to Belle mentally (in terms of moral support, self worth, and especially recognition ) now and especially in the future by not giving her recognition by way of a B Scholarship that she was promised if she earned it, which she has twice over.

Above all she is just too scared to speak out, to share her bitter disappointment of not being awarded an OWIA B for fear of not being selected for the Olympics. We just hope you are not trying to work on this fear by trying to ‘hit on her’ as an “adult” and trying repeatedly to cut us out of the ‘equation’ as parents and as a manager over the last months.  It’s not only you but others in the AOC who have tried ‘cutting us out’.

As Bruce mentioned in the recent email to  Fiona De Jong,  “Belle is neither interested nor concerned what financial support is being offered as she has never been involved in this area. The two lots of extra funding have almost gone unnoticed by her such is her concentration on getting fit and training for the Northern Winter and Sochi”.  I have always looked after this side of her sporting career and Bruce just pays out the difference.

We as a family only want justice to be done and to be seen to be done by a simple announcement, no matter how small, of the awarding of a OWIA B & OWIA blazer and funding brought up to the genuine OWIA B level and we will ‘slink’ quietly into our normal way of life without any further form of protestation knowing that the AOC is genuinely right behind Belle to the best of its capability as we would have thought was the job of the AOC in the first place or is it?

Best Regards,

Kristine Brockhoff

NB. For your information Ferry Lee offered to accompany Belle to your café meeting such was his concern for Belle to cope ‘one on one’ with you (an official of OWIA who apparently has a great deal of input into allocation of OWIA scholarships) and her ability to cope with her uncertainty of her rights as a very young women.

We note you have never queried my role as manager for Belle up until recently and I would like to remind you that I am Belles manager for the past 10 years and further Bruce is my advisor in these matters aided by his experience as an officer and International delegate of the Gliding Federation of Australia and international competitor in his own right.

We note that the following words have been deleted from the page 20 of SSA handbook Webb site  “The OWI may award Individual Scholarships in exceptional circumstances where it is determined that a scholarship will add significant value to an individual athletes program and ultimately enhance their performance.”

May I remind you that Bruce has emailed you that “Programming, training, travelling arrangements, competitions entries etc or any other matter are ok topics to be discussed with Belle so long as they do not involve funding, subsidizing or scholarships. These are taboo topics with Belle. She has pleaded with both Bruce and I to be kept out of these matters and I ask you to find the Christian charity in you to leave her out of these matters..”

Belle will cooperate with you in any way you wish however I reiterate she does not want to be involved in any way with funding, subsidizing or scholarships and the controversy. You will only upset her if you keep on bringing up these matters which you have always talked over with me in great detail over many months up until a few weeks ago.

Soon after the incident in NZ on the first trip this year I had to consol a very distraught Belle for over an hour on SKYPE and a close friend of ours, a Mother, was called on and chose to consol her or a further 40 minutes such was the effect of you putting pressure on her to sign for the second lots of extra funding.



MAD BAD DADS   Roy & HG   (Last program from Sochi)

Starting at the 24th minute

THE FOLLOWING WEB SITE HAS MYSTERIOUSLY DISAPPEARED FROM THE WWW ALONG WITH THE GOSPER PRESS CONFERENCE EDITED AND COMMENTED ON BY ROY AND HG. (one can only speculate that the “power” of the Olympic Committee and/or its employees had some part in this process).

Mates comment:  “its repulsive to watch

Another comment: “Officialdom ……………. the way they treated athletes in Sochi over Chumpy saga was disrespectful – particularly the head guy – comes across as being dishonest……………”


Belle Brockhoff

Bruce Brockhoff

John Coates

Geoff Lipshut

Dean Gosper

Ben Wordsworth







Australian Institute of Sport

Australian Olympic Committee

Australian Sports Commission

Australian Sports Commission

Olympic Winter Institute

Olympic Winter Institute

Olympic Winter Institute of Australia

Ski & Snowboard Australia

Ski and Snowboard Australia