Katherine Grainger’s visit to The Abbey on Wednesday was a perfect example of the legacy of the London Olympics Games inspiring athletes of the future. Katherine had visited the school last Spring, and promised that if she won Gold at the London Olympics, she would return to show it to us.
The morning began with an assembly for the whole Junior School, which some senior school rowers also attended. Katherine shared the story of her Olympic journey, producing her three silver medals as she described her years of training and the excitement of competition. She confessed, however, that by the time it got to London 2012, she was wondering whether the Gold medal would ever be hers! She asked the girls to recreate the race: silent at the start, with the cheers building as she rowed down the course. The hall was ringing by the time she unveiled her prized possession – the Gold medal! She explained to the girls that rowing had taught her that “whatever you think is the best that you can do, you can do more and achieve more.”
After assembly Katherine “officiated” at the House rowing competition (on the ergos). She started each race in proper international fashion, and encouraged the girls, offering tips on technique as they battled it out. Those who weren’t rowing took the chance to try on her medals, with the Gold proving most popular of course! The morning concluded with a Q&A session between Katherine and the senior school rowers, several of whom are on the cusp of GB team selection themselves. She answered all their questions (on everything from what music she listens to while she trains, to whether she enjoys ergo sessions (no!) very thoughtfully, giving the girls a real insight in to what it takes to be a champion.
Everyone that Katherine talked to was inspired and honoured to hear from someone who has truly achieved her dream. Katherine is a superb ambassador for the Olympic legacy and there couldn’t be a better role model for girls growing up today.
Photo’s & article courtesy of Helen Hooper, Marketing Manager, Abbey School