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The Olympic spirit was tinged with gold as Trent College heralded the year of Rio 2016 by welcoming champion sports stars James Cracknell, Lizzy Yarnold, Steve Parry and a surprise guest, Tim Brabants, for its ‘Golden Inspiration’ Sporting Dinner.
Hosted by swimmer Parry, the quartet, multiple Olympians who have no fewer than seven Olympic medals between them – including four gold – revealed the secrets of and the sacrifices it takes to reach the very pinnacle of your sport, captivating more than 250 guests gathered for the annual dinner on Thursday 29 January.
Sprint kayaker Brabants, winner of gold and bronze medals at Beijing 2008 to go with another bronze from Sydney 2000, had only attended the evening as a guest, but he delighted everyone by also joining his fellow champions on stage for the Q&A.
Earlier in the day, Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics Skeleton gold medalist, Yarnold, had spent time inspiring some of Trent College’s own female students, promoting the importance of healthy living, positive body image and the message of ‘This Girl Can’ to encourage more young women to get active regularly for all-round wellbeing.
Mr Bill Penty, Trent College Head, said: “It was a very great pleasure to host these great Olympians at our Sporting Dinner. Their insights were amusing and really thought provoking, not least about overcoming considerable physical and mental challenges to succeed both in sport and on a more fundamental personal level.
“One of the biggest things that came across was the importance of perseverance and developing resilience through failing and learning from those experiences. That is an important life lesson, not just in sport but across all disciplines, and it is one we strongly believe helps shape well-balanced, confident young people for their futures.”
Yarnold continued: “It was brilliant to be part of a fantastic afternoon and evening at Trent College. I really enjoyed the whole day and evening, especially meeting all the young people, being inspired by fellow athletes, and I took great pleasure in helping such a great cause and seeing young people being inspired by sport."
All proceeds from this year’s dinner once again went to an organisation very close to Trent College’s heart, the Kenyan Schools Partnership, established in 2012 to provide support and fundraising for schools in Kenya.
The school has a long-standing charitable link with Nyacaba Primary School in Kenya, with staff and pupils visiting regularly and identifying essential projects, including buying books, restoring buildings, adding furniture and installing a water tank. These projects made such a difference Trent College supported another school, Gowan Mount View Academy, leading to the launch of the Partnership.
Double Olympic gold medalist rower, Cracknell said: “It was a pleasure to meet everyone associated with the desire to make a difference through the Kenyan Schools Partnership. It is fantastic to see a school using sport positively as a force for good.”
Sydney 2000 bronze medalist Parry, who was returning to Trent College for the second time, added: “I loved being back at Trent College to host another fantastic Sporting Dinner. It is great our guests could share their Olympic and life experiences with the audience and help raise the profile of a valuable charitable cause.”
Trent College’s annual sporting dinner is always one of the most popular dates on the school’s calendar with recent events welcoming stars from across the worlds of sport including England and Nottinghamshire cricketer Stuart Broad, Olympic swimming sensation Rebecca Adlington, London 2012 rowing heroine Katherine Grainger and England and British Lions centre Manu Tuilagi.