You know its been an inspiring assembly when the chatter in classrooms and the staff room alike is all about the guest speaker. Today, pupils at the Paragon School in Bath fell a little bit in love with Double Olympic Champion Lizzy Yarnold MBE who, accompanied by fellow Skeleton Olympian, Jerry Rice, visited the school to share her story and inspire us all.
For a woman that hurls herself down slopes at 90mph, Lizzy came across as down-to-earth, very likeable, and enthusiastic about sport, encouraging children and life in general.
Lizzy cemented her place in sporting history not once, sensationally winning her second Olympic Gold at the PyeongChang 2018 Games, adding to the Gold she won in Sochi in 2014, and becoming the first Team GB winter athlete to retain their Olympic title. Team GB’s most decorated Winter Olympian was also the first British athlete and the second person ever to claim the Grand Slam of skeleton titles, when she won every major title in her sport in just 407 days back in 2014/15.
Lizzy shared with the pupils her love of all sports, but particularly netball, football, javelin, shot put and heptathlon, as well as her secret ambition to be an Olympian. The children found it fascinating to hear about her trial at the Girls for Gold programme and selection for skeleton sport, as well as handling Lizzy’s two gold medals. Lizzie and Jerry also taught everyone how to say hello in Korean (ann-yeong-haseyo) and deliver a respectful bow.
Lizzie’s determination and natural competitiveness to do well is evident. She, like everyone, feels nervous, feels scared, recognises the dangers in what she does, but she continues on and doesn’t give up. A powerful message for the young people in her audience.