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We hosted our Olympic Sporting Dinner on Thursday 21st of March with a little help from Olympic double gold medallist Rebecca Adlington, British cycling supremo, Sir Dave Brailsford, and Olympic bronze-winning swimmer and BBC commentator, Steve Parry, plus two-time silver medallist rower, Debbie Flood and other members of TeamGB rowing.
Students, staff and guests were treated to an astonishing insight into the makings of Britain’s recent Olympic successes as well as hearing what work is on-going to ensure that is sustained.
The annual sporting dinner is held to raise funds for our Sporting Tours to help accelerate the school’s talented sportsmen and women towards fulfilling their potential and achieving their sporting dreams.
Rebecca, who became Britain’s greatest Olympic swimmer ever when she won double gold at Beijing 2008 before clinching two bronze medals at London 2012, retired from competitive swimming in January and has set-up an initiative to get every child in Britain to swim 25m by the time they leave primary school. She revealed even in an individual sport like swimming the experiences of being away with your teammates can shape you as an athlete and a young person.
Rebecca said: “You get experiences of different cultures and ways of doing things… My best friends are all in swimming, we grew up together. That closeness means you can all support each other.”
Sir Dave has masterminded Britain’s cycling renaissance over the past decade. He reflected on the power of creating a strong team in both individuals and teams achieving their goals.
“Elite performance is about clarity, of roles, responsibilities, values. Everybody involved has absolute clarity and there is security in structure which allows risks to be taken. The whole idea is continuous improvement; to help someone achieve and continually improve.”
Debbie was a British junior judo international and county-level 1500m and cross-country runner and shot-putter before she took up rowing. She is adamant the ball must be kept rolling from London 2012 to enthuse more young people into, and continuing with, sport.
She said: “Sport's been massive part of my life. Sport engaged me, it took my attention and I realised through working hard you could achieve things. I used to watch the Olympics on TV and thought the Olympians were superhuman! Sport makes people and it can make lives. Parents, don’t underestimate the little words of encouragement, they mean so much”
Compere for the evening Steve, who won 200m Butterfly bronze at Athens 2004, admitted the success of London 2012 changed the landscape for British sport. He believes the momentum still evident from the Games will continue into Rio 2016.
He said: “The success of the Olympics wasn't just about British sport it made the whole country realise what we can achieve. London was about the people; the athletes, volunteers, audiences, the general public. It made me exceptionally proud to be British. For Britain to win 29 gold medals at London 2012 was just ridiculous. The legacy is what YOU make it.”
Among the guests were Trent College’s sports captains, including Nick Gray (rugby), Chris Proctor (hockey), Sarah Ashcroft (tennis) and Emily Hopkins (netball).
Nick, a Scotland Under 17 international and son of former Scotland lock Chris Gray, added: “The professionalism you learn off-the-field on tours means you go on to the pitch knowing you have given yourself the best chance to perform. We are very grateful to everyone who has supported this event. It is incredible to have had so many great Olympians here.”
We would like to thank all of the sports stars for their contribution to the success of the evening.