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INSPIRED

Inspiring Young People through Olympic & Paralympic Values

AGAZINE 2011 O F F I C I A L AW A R D S M

Values and Voices for a Games

“Olympism seeks to create a way of life based on the joy found in effort, the educational value of a good example and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles.” .

1 Pierre de Coubertin


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“I am glad I took part in this project because it has forced me to think about the person I am and the person I could become� .

Ross, Aged 14

Hosting an Olympic & Paralympic Games is a once in a lifetime opportunity to inspire and stimulate aspiration in every young person. The Inspire>Aspire Awards Programme develops personal connections with the Olympic & Paralympic Values and the character qualities of Athletes through a unique classroom activity. In this magazine we share the voices of those who really are writing the Games Legacy.

LOG ON TO TAKE PART www.inspire-aspire.org.uk 3


SUPPORTERS We would like to thank the following organisations for making the values poster programme possible

The mission of the John Templeton Foundation is to serve as a philanthropic catalyst for discovery in areas engaging life’s biggest questions. These questions range from explorations into the laws of nature and the universe to questions on the nature of love, gratitude, forgiveness, and creativity. Our vision is derived from Sir John Templeton’s commitment to rigorous scientific research and related scholarship. The Foundation’s motto “How little we know, how eager to learn” exemplifies our support for open-minded inquiry and our hope for advancing human progress through groundbreaking discoveries. www.templeton.org

D.C. Thomson & Co. Ltd is a private company based in Dundee. The company has significant interests in UK newspaper and magazine publishing. Amongst other publications it owns The Dundee Courier and Advertiser, The Aberdeen Press and Journal and The Sunday Post. It also owns The Beano, The Dandy and Woman’s magazines My Weekly and The People Friend. It also owns Puzzler Media Ltd., (one of the world’s largest publishers of Puzzle Magazines, Crosswords and Sudoku), and Parragon Publishing Ltd., which publishes and sells some 90 million books each year worldwide. The company has interests in commercial television, and in Internet and online businesses, and is a major shareholder in Mothercare. www.dcthomson.co.uk

The Garfield Weston Foundation was established in 1958 by Willard Garfield Weston, a Canadian businessman who arrived in the UK with his family in 1932. He was the creator of Associated British Foods and the Foundation was endowed with the donation of family-owned company shares. As a result, the Foundation is today the ultimate controller of the company. The trustees today are all lineal descendants of the founder and they remain committed to continuing the ethos that has made the Foundation one of the largest and most respected charitable institutions in the country. It gives them as much pleasure to help a small local community as a major national organisation and they are prepared to consider applications covering a wide range of charitable activity. www.garfieldweston.org

Enders Analysis was founded in 1997 to provide senior corporate managers with an alternative perspective on 3G and the Internet from the uniformly optimistic industry and City research before the bubble burst. Today, Enders Analysis offers its subscribers research generated by a programme covering the major commercial, regulatory and strategic issues in mobile and fixed line telecoms, TV and the Internet, as well as the major content businesses such as music, publishing and advertising. Our focus is on the European markets but we assess all key trends and regulatory issues in our sectors in major markets such as the US or Japan. www.endersanalysis.com

Founded in 1936, Russell Investments is a global financial services firm addressing the needs of institutional investors, financial advisers, market participants and individuals. Over the course of its history, Russell’s innovations have come to define and set industry standards. The results: $2 trillion in assets under advisement and $155 billion in assets under management as of December 31, 2010, and more than $3.9 trillion of assets benchmarked to Russell Indexes as of December 31, 2009. www.russell.com

The Scientific & Medical Network

The Scientific and Medical Network was founded in 1973 by George Blaker. It has grown over 35 years into an educational charity delivering courses, events and publications on interdisciplinary ideas in science, medicine, philosophy and spirituality. The emerging interdisciplinary fields of noetic science and consciousness studies are key areas of interest. We are a membership organisation. Our members form part of a worldwide community of individuals who are searching beyond conventional scientific and religious paradigms for new answers and new questions. Membership is open to all who agree with our mission, aims and values. www.scimednet.org

We would also like to thank New Park Trust for their support in helping meet the costs of producing this publication.

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CONTENTS School Index

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10 10 13 16 16 18 19 19 20 24 24 26 29 30 31 33 33 34 36 36 36 39 40 40 41 42 42 44 45 46 47 48 49 49 49 50 50 51 51 52 52 54 55 56 58 59 60 61 61 63 63 64 64 66

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Aberdeen Grammar School Aboyne Academy Albyn School Baldragon Academy Banff Academy Balfron High School Ballmullo Primary School Balwearie High School Banff Academy Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Bryn Tawe Cantonian High School Central Foundation Girls School Cleveden Secondary School Cove Secondary School Cynffig Secondary School Dumbarton Academy Elgin High School Inverurie Academy Forfar Academy Gardenrose Primary School George Heriot’s School The Glasgow Academy Glasgow Gaelic School Golspie High School The Gordon Schools Gracemount High School Grove Academy Hawick High School Hyndland Secondary School Inverurie Academy Ysgol John Bright Kemnay Academy Keith Grammar School Kinross High School Kirkcudbright Academy Kirkland High School Sgoil Lionacleit Lomond School Mary Erskine School Deans Community High School Portlethen Academy Radyr Comprehensive Ross High School St Columba’s School St George’s School for Girls St Mary’s Music School St Mun’s Primary School St Rochs Secondary School Stewart’s Melville College Studio 34, Bridgend Central Girls Foundation Schools Queen Anne High School Woldgate College Woodmill High School

Welcome from David Lorimer Inspire-Aspire Director of Awards, David Lorimer introduces the programme, the magazine, the Olympic and Paralympic Values and picks out some notable content from this year’s award winners.

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Get into GETSET We look a two case studies of successful schools which have used the Inspire-Aspire Awards to help them join THE GETSET NETWORK.

10 The Legacy Begins . . . 58 pages of incredible insight and aspiration from young people across the UK who have reached the national finals in 2011. Congratulations to all the contributors, you have set the bar high for others to follow in 2012!

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Edited by DAVID LORIMER Designed by RONNIE DAVIDSON Published by THE CAREER STUDIO Printed in the UK by THE MAGAZINE PRINTING COMPANY The Inspire-Aspire Values Poster Awards is a programme of Character Education Scotland Ltd registered charity number SCO40962. The views expressed in this magazine are those of the contributors and not necessarily the views of Character Education Scotland or it’s trustees. Picture acknowledgements: Coverphoto ©Comité International Olympique, P2 Artist Impression ©LOCOG, p9 x3 GetSet photos courtesy of LOCOG, p10 Sir Steve Redgrave Getty Images, p11 Roger Bannister Getty Images, p12 Karen Darke from karendarke.com, p13 Nadia Comaneci Hartford Civic Centre © David Gilbert, p14 Jessica Ennis Getty Images, p15 Hannah Teter in Africa credit Pat Teter, p16 Zara Phillips Getty Images, p18 Haile Gebrselassie Getty Images, p19 Eleanor Simmonds Press Association, p20 Jessica Long from JessicaLong.org, p21 Matt Biondi Getty Images, p22 Nathan Hines Getty Images, p23 Aimee Mullins Getty Images, p25 Eleanor Simmonds Getty Images, p26 Eleanor Simmonds Getty Images, P28 Rebecca Adlington Getty Images, p30 Tom Daley Getty Images, p32 Kelly Holmes Getty Images, p33 Nikko Landerous Getty Images, p34 Nathan Stephens Getty Images, p35 Beth Tweddle Getty Images, p37 Oscar Pistorius Press Association, p39 Lance Armstrong Getty Images, p41 Simon Nadin copyright Andy Birtwistle, p42 Manny Pacquiao Getty Images, p43 Eric Liddell Getty Images, p44 Michael Phelps Getty Images, p45 Amir Khan Getty Images, p46 Sarah Storey and Jane Sowerby Getty Images, p47 Tommie Smith AP Photography, p48 Paula Radcliffe Getty Images, p49 Sally Gunnell Getty Images, p53 Seve Ballesteros Getty Images, p51 Jesse Owens US Library of Congress, p51 Bethany Hamilton copyright Noah Hamilton, p53 Seve Ballesteros Getty Images, p54 Colin Jackson Getty Images, p55 Leon Taylor Getty Images, p56 Lee McConnell Getty Images, P57 Mark Cavendish Getty Images, p58 Alexander Popov Getty Images, p60 Chris Hoy Getty Images, p60 Marlene Ottey-Page Getty Images, p61 Usain Bolt Getty Images, p61 Steve Redgrave Getty Images, p63 Oscar Pistorius by Elvar Pálsson, p64 Team Hoyt Getty Images, p65 Shanaze Reade Getty Images, p67 Jessica Ennis Getty Images, Back Cover Youth Olympics 2010 Getty Images. Acknowledgments: Thanks to the education team at The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games for their help and advice and thanks to the team at The Career Studio (Suzanne Waugh, Daniel Harkness, Shaun Moore and Kath Davidson) who have all contributed to making this publication happen. Thanks also to Getty Images for their help and flexibility. Last but not least a HUGE THANK YOU to all the TEACHERS who bring the awards programme to life in their classrooms. This publication is the result of your efforts. If you have a student in here, well done! This magazine has been produced for charitable purposes. Any proceeds from the sale of this publication will go towards the continued funding of the values poster programme administered by Character Education Scotland. Character Education Scotland The Career Studio, Granary Business Centre, Coal Road, Cupar Fife KY15 5YQ Email: admin@character-scotland.org.uk Tel: 01334 844900 TAKE PART in 2011, 2012 & 2013 www.inspire-aspire.org.uk © 2011 Character Education Scotland Ltd. All rights reserved.

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ENDORSEMENTS "It is the greatest pleasure to see how the involvement of the Olympic Movement appears to inspire young people as they contribute to the Inspire>Aspire project. The application of the Olympic values and the many examples of excellence from Olympic and Paralympic experience have encouraged the young contributors to produce outstanding posters. As we approach the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games it is clear that young people are finding inspiration which they clearly express through this work" Sir Craig Reedie, CBE Execu ve Member of the Interna onal Olympic Commi ee

“I was truly impressed with the quality of work and maturity of self-reflection in many of the submissions. It was refreshing to see so many young people thinking about what drives them and what they aspire to in their lives. I have even adopted a wonderful quote from a talented 12 year old, which I shall happily reference” John Sco Chief Execu ve, Glasgow 2014

“The standard of creative talent on display at this year’s Inspire> Aspire competition is truly exceptional. Each young person manages to reflect the deep inner thoughts and aspirations within them, and transfers this vision onto paper. I thank each individual for a truly inspirational experience” Steve Frew Commonwealth Games Gold Medallist

“I am amazed and astounded by the entries for this award. The thoughts and feelings that were highlighted were truly moving, inspirational, happy and sometimes sad – but all very reflective of individual feelings. I was very honoured to be asked to be part of this process” Anne Johnstone Russell Investments

“I have been really impressed with the way in which the authentic ‘voice’ of each young person came through. This is testimony both to their own inspiring qualities and to the teachers who create the conditions for the young people to express themselves” Mike Farrell Learning and Teaching Scotland

“I'm delighted and astounded by the honesty, thoughtfulness, self-reflection and positivity from each child as a result of this marvellous, inspiring project. It gives all children the opportunity to spend time really thinking about their qualities and spot potential character weaknesses, and how each child can improve themselves and subsequently the quality of their lives. I am proud to be part of this engaging and unique project, a credit to Scotland” Katharine Brown Founder, Street Sport, Miss UK 2010 6


WELCOME FROM PROGRAMME DIRECTOR DAVID

Inspirational Team GB athletes like Sir Chris Hoy, Jessica Ennis, Tom Daley, Beth Tweddle and Eleanor Simmonds are currently applying both the Olympic value of excellence and especially the Paralympic values of courage and determination in their training. Students researching Eleanor Simmonds found it amazing that she trains for an hour and a half at six o'clock every morning before going to school, and one student remarked that she would find this schedule impossible! In our exercise, we are not expecting students to become professional athletes, which is why we ask them what they would like to be good at, what they would like to achieve and how they are going to achieve it. This encourages them to clarify their goals in life and to work out the qualities required to achieve them. We also ask them to consider what they want to contribute to others, echoing the quotation from Sir Winston Churchill when he said that we make a living by what we get but we make a life by what we give. I am most grateful to the people who have supported the programme in its first year, especially Sir Craig Reedie of the International Olympic Committee, the enthusiastic teachers in our schools and the national judges. I would also like to acknowledge the skill of Ronnie Davidson in putting this magazine together and to thank Julie Falls for her help in editing the material. Looking forward, we intend to widen participation as far as we can next year, and are aiming for at least 30,000 young people taking part. We are also working on developing a version of the poster for the Commonwealth Games taking place in Glasgow in 2014. Here you will find that students have taken a significant step towards defining and realising their goals, demonstrating how inspiration can be transformed into aspiration.

“We all have dreams. But in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline and effort” .

Jesse Owens

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LORIMER

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elcome to our first Inspire>Aspire magazine, which features content from around the country at Gold, Silver and Bronze levels. We are enormously grateful for the opportunity of bringing this project to schools through the generosity of our sponsors, especially the John Templeton Foundation and the Garfield Weston Foundation who have expressed their confidence in the programme through their generous support. As you will see, the results of the programme are exceptional, as is the feedback received from students. It was encouraging to see that Olympic legends like Jesse Owens and Eric Liddell still capture the imagination of contemporary young people. The quotation from Owens above applies not only to Olympic and Paralympic achievements, but also to other fields of life. With reference to his own event, he said “A lifetime of training for just ten seconds”, but this would also be the case for the amount of practice undertaken by a concert pianist in relation to a performance of a Beethoven or Mozart piano concerto. And Michelangelo was also quoted by a student: “If people only knew how hard I work to gain my mastery, it wouldn't seem so wonderful at all.” Another athlete quoted was the long-distance runner Haile Gebrselassie: “You need three things to win: discipline, hard work and before everything maybe commitment. No one will make it without those three; sport teaches you that.” I learned this lesson myself while running at St Andrews University in the early 1970s. I ran 100 miles a week while I was in France in the summer of 1971. This involved running three times a day, and set me up to become Scottish and British Universities 3,000 m steeplechase champion in 1972. Athletes are able to set themselves very specific goals towards which they are working. As I write, many athletes around the world have their sights on The London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, as you will read in the following pages. These people usually have an unusual amount of self-belief, another important theme that emerges from our project. Theodore Roosevelt said: “Believe you can and you're halfway there”, while the legendary Florence Griffith-Joyner remarked: “When anyone tells me I can’t do anything, I’m just not listening anymore.”

5,000m barefoot at St Andrews in 1971 - and yes I did win!

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T E S T E G O T N I GET IMARY SCHOOL R /P R IO N JU : Y D TU S E S CA

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ife is one of Scotland’s largest Local Education Authorities and Balmullo Primary School was only the second School in Fife to join the Get Set Network. Located just a few miles from St Andrews, one of the Olympic torch relay sites, everyone at the School is starting to get excited about London 2012. Sophie Land is a Primary 7 pupil at the school and one of the Scottish regional winners of the Inspire>Aspire Values Posters Awards. By taking part in Inspire>Aspire, the school has been able to take an in-depth look at the values behind the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

“The Inspire>Aspire posters have been a Launchpad for the school to really get into all the fantastic learning opportunities for the children in the run up to London 2012. The Olympic and Paralympic values help us to develop core aspects of the curriculum and key themes like global citizenship and rights respecting schools. We are thrilled at becoming a Get Set Network School and are now busy making plans for how we can make the most of the learning opportunities as well as enhance physical activity at the school. We are also really looking forward to Sophie being presented her award by an Olympic athlete”. Sarah Else, Head Teacher

Balmullo School pupil Sophie Land holds her invitation to the Inspire>Aspire Awards while Head Teacher Sarah Else shows off the School’s new plaque after becoming a GetSet Network School.

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CASE STUDY: SEC ONDARY/HIGH

SCHOOL

Inspire>Aspire Awards National Finalist Alexandra Clark outside Grove Academy.

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aking part in the Inspire>Aspire Programme and using the Olympic and Paralympic Values as a focal point for their RME curriculum has been very successful in Grove Academy. Acting Principal Teacher of Religious and Moral Education, Gerry Dillon says,

“We believe that values education is crucial in the character formation of young people and are planning to develop a unit at the beginning of our first year that makes full use of Inspire>Aspire. Pupils will create a display to consider and reflect on values as they progress through the year. Ultimately, the pupils will take part in the awards having spent the whole year considering their values. Global citizenship and partnership working have always featured heavily in the teaching and learning within the School. Being part of the Get Set Network complements and supports our work perfectly and joining was easy. We received a letter from the Inspire>Aspire team telling us about the benefits and explaining how to register. I just followed the instructions�.

The Get Set network is the London 2012 reward and recognition scheme for the active community of schools and colleges across the UK that are demonstrating a commitment to living the Olympic and Paralympic Values. Members of the network gain the right to use the London 2012 education logo, and are given priority access to the most exclusive prizes and opportunities, including tickets to the Games at no cost to the school/college through the London 2012 Ticketshare initiative. There are currently over 3,000 members of the Get Set network. All schools participating in Inspire>Aspire are eligible to receive even greater reward and recognition from London 2012 by joining the Get Set network. Visit www.london2012.com/getset for more information 9


Hannah Renton Aberdeen Grammar School

“Believe you can and you're halfway there” Theodore Roosevelt

“Even if you fall flat on your face, you're still moving forwards” Victor Kiam Sir Steve Redgrave is considered to be one of Britain's greatest Olympians. He won five gold medals at five consecutive Olympics in coxed four, coxless pair and coxless four. I find him inspiring not only because of his amazing achievements but because of his raising money for charity. After his career in rowing, he ran the London Marathon and raised £1.8 million. He has also started the Steve Redgrave Fund, which is linked with Sport Relief. The fund has provided 100 schools with rowing machines and has started rowing Academy in India. I myself am a musician, and want to become a world-class violinist, travelling the world with a famous orchestra like the Berlin Philharmonic. One day I'd love to play a concert in the Carnegie Hall.

Marie Marsden Aboyne Academy

“I found longer races boring. I found the mile just perfect.”

“I realised my goals and ambitions by doing this project. I have thought about good things in my personality and things I need to work on. I really enjoyed it! Hannah Renton Aberdeen Grammar School

“My concentration was really on getting to university and becoming a doctor. My parents let me know that school marks were important. Achievement was something which came by hard work.” Sir Roger Gilbert Bannister was born on 23 March 1929 in Harrow, England. I find him inspiring because when he ran the first sub 4 minute mile, he proved that doing something that some people think is impossible isn’t if you set your mind to it. He didn’t always do well in races, but he kept going and trying to achieve his dream. It proved to a lot of athletes what was possible, and opened a gateway to them. Sir Roger Bannister was inspired by a runner called Sydney Wooderson. He started running when he was seventeen. He didn’t have much training, but he showed a lot of promise. In 1948, he was put down as a possible to go to the

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Olympics, but he declined as he didn’t think he was ready. He decided to set his sights on the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki. He had been doing quite well in races, but then his running started to go downhill. Instead of giving up, he began to train harder and take it seriously. The training paid off and he began to do a lot better in his races. In one race he ran a mile in 4.07 minutes. Then Bannister lost to Andrija Otenhajmer from Yugoslavia in a 1500 m race on 25 August 1951. He set out quickly, meaning that Bannister had to run quickly almost straight away, unlike his normal tactic of running very quickly in the last lap. Even though he set a new personal record, he avoided running after this race, as he was conserving his energy for the Olympics. In the spring of 1952, he began to run again, now thinking of the Helsinki Olympics. In a time trial, he ran a ¾ mile in 2.52.9 mins. He felt pleased as he thought that this time was the equivalent of a 4 minute mile. He decided that he was ready for the Olympics. However, he came fourth and contemplated quitting running, but in the end decided against it. He set himself a new goal. He would be the first man to run a mile in under 4 minutes. I think it takes real determination to set yourself a goal that a lot of people think is impossible and really believe in it and to actually pursue it seriously. However, other runners were trying to run a sub 4 minute mile and were coming close, being just over 2 seconds off their goal. Bannister knew that he would have to make his attempt soon, or another runner would be the first to run a sub 4 minute mile. It was on 6 May 1954 when Bannister decided to make another attempt at his dream. There were winds as strong as 25 mph, and Bannister said that he didn’t want to run, so he would save his energy for another attempt when the wind dropped. Bannister decided to run. Two other runners – Chris Brasher and Christopher Chataway - ran with him, setting the pace. Bannister finished the race and observers held their breath as the announcer (Norris McWhirter) began to speak. “Ladies and gentlemen, here is the result of event 9, the one mile: 1st, no 41, R G Bannister, Amateur Athletic Association and formerly of Exeter and Merton Colleges, Oxford with a time which is a new meeting and track record and, subject to ratification, will be a new English Native, British National, All Comers, Europe, British Empire and World Record. The time was 3…” The rest of his words were drowned out by the crowds cheering. Bannister had become the first man to run a sub 4 minute mile completing a mile in 3 min 59.4 sec. I think it was amazing that he set himself a very difficult goal, and even though he had lots of disappointments, he still kept going and trying to reach his goals. I think he proved that anything is possible, as long as you set your mind on it and keep trying. I also think that it is amazing that even though he achieved this goal, he believes that the most important thing that he’s done in his life is his work as a neurologist, helping people. I think that this is really amazing because this shows that he puts helping other people in front of really amazing achievements.

6th May, 1954. Roger Bannister breaks the tape as he crosses the winning line to complete the historic four minute mile record.

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Ishbel Price Aboyne Academy

“Victory isn’t defined by wins or losses. It is defined by effort. If you can truthfully say I did the best I could, I gave everything I had, then you’re a winner.” Wolfgang Schadler My inspirational figure is Karen Darke. She hasn’t yet competed in the Olympics, but aspires to be in the 2012 Paralympics on her hand bike. She is an amazing hand biker, having come third in the Spanish Paralympic World Cup. She is nearly there after being asked by British Cycling to the World Paracycling Championships in Quebec. Karen is amazing, the way she can find motivation to do her cycling, climbing and skiing as well, because she was 21 when she became paralysed as a result of a climbing accident. She’d already decided what she wanted to do in life; she will have had her ambitions and dreams, but when she was paralysed all that had to change. At first she was devastated - what could she do now? But after watching another woman in hospital trying to peel bananas failing again and again, but never losing hope and finally succeeding, she realised she could do anything if she believed in herself. I find Karen so inspiring because of all the things she’s achieved like skiing the whole way across Greenland. I really hope she gets to go to the Paralympics because she deserves it, and the amount of effort and work she puts in to getting where she wants is amazing. I also find it easy to relate to Karen; we both live in Scotland and I share her passion of skiing and climbing. I would be very proud if I was her to have achieved so many things, but also to have inspired so many people along the way to believe they can do anything. “Disability is a state of mind, not a state of body.” That’s a notion that relates to us all, regardless of whether we have a physical disability or not. Our own mind is our biggest obstacle to living and achieving our wildest aspirations. What is life if it isn’t an adventure? I’m constantly amazed by what can be achieved if we set our heart and mind to it. It’s all about finding belief, confidence, motivation and commitment. And of course friends. Then there are no limits. Someone once said this to Karen, maybe it’s what inspired her, but it’s definitely very true and really makes you think.

Niamh Isabella Upton Aboyne Academy . Although I'm a fully qualified PADI diver and I'm as fearless as I dare to be, having swum with sharks and jumped 30 foot cliffs into swelling in unfamiliar waters, my most recent inspirations are Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. They have the ability to appeal to almost everyone: from the feeling of teenage inadequacy in 'Even the Losers' to the heartrending truth of 'Refugee'. The Heartbreakers make us laugh and cry along with all those feelings of worry, angst and true elation. Music is what inspires me and helps me to work. They prove that following the herd is not always the fastest way to success or popularity. It makes it a little easier to carry on being individual and reaching for our goals when nobody else is travelling down the same road. My Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers anthology is one of the things that makes being a stressed out, strung out teenager a little easier.

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Most people I know would only want the same, but I would want to do this because of the music. Stuff fame, I want to be a rock star. I want to make music, and be a successful businesswoman or a doctor specialising in hypobaric medicine. So think what you like about me, about my taste, but I'm willing to step out, to work hard and be a geek, to live hard and play just as hard. I will be myself because I know that the people who are individual get where they want and where they deserve to be. It's taken me a while to figure this out, and backup from talented, inspirational people and their music gives me that extra strength and belief that we sometimes need.

Skye Arnott Albyn School

“Hard work has made it easy. That is my secret. That is why I win” Nadia Comaneci

“I’ve learned a lot about myself and the goals I have. I’ve found out I was more driven than I realised.”

The person I aspire to is Nadia Comaneci. She was the first gymnast ever to achieve a perfect 10 at an Olympic Games when she won the 1976 Summer Olympic Games at the young age of just 14. Nadia began her gymnastics career in nursery with a local team called “Flacăra”. She then moved to Béla Károlyi’s gymnastics school at the age of 7. In 1969, at the age of 8, Nadia entered her first Romanian National Championships where she finished 13th. A year later, she began competing as a member of her hometown team and became the youngest gymnast ever to win the Romanian Nationals. In 1971, she participated in her first international competition, a dual junior meet between Romania and Yugoslavia, winning her first all-round title and contributing to the team gold. Nadia’s first major international success came at the age of 13, when she nearly swept the 1975 European Championships in Skien, Norway, winning the all-round and gold medals in every event except the floor exercise, in which she was placed second. However, Nadia Comaneci is best known for her success at the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal. At the age of 14, Nadia shocked the world of gymnastics with a perfect 10 score for her uneven bars routine. It is this “Perfect 10” which continues to inspire many gymnasts all over the world, including myself. Not only did Nadia achieve the first ever perfect score at an Olympic Games, she also came away from the 1976 Olympics with five medals - three gold, one silver and one bronze. However Nadia’s career took a turn for the worst when in 1977 she was removed from her long term coaches following the controversy of the 1977 European Championships. Struggling with her new training environment and the stress of her parents divorce, Nadia put on a lot of weight and her overall fitness suffered. After the 1978 World Championships, Nadia was permitted to return to her previous coaches and from then on she began to rebuild her career. In 1979, a newly slim and motivated Comaneci won her third consecutive European all-round title, becoming the first gymnast, male or female, to achieve this feat.

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Niamh Isabella Upton Aboyne Academy


Comaneci now helps with many charities across the world and, along with her long-term partner, she set up her own gymnastics school to help other young gymnasts achieve their dreams. Nadia inspires me because, as a member of the Scottish Rhythmic Gymnastics Training Squad, she showed me that, despite times of hardship, you can always achieve your dream as long as you work hard. She was successful because along with talent, she was dedicated to her sport and worked extremely hard to achieve her goals. She lives up to the Olympic values, showing determination and courage throughout her gymnastics career and proving she believes in equality and respect through the work she has done with charities. I admire her determination and drive to succeed as well as her willingness to help others.

Caitlin Cole Albyn School

“You always have these dreams about winning, but you never think your dreams will be reality” Chris ne Ohurugou, Bri sh gold medallist in 400 m Jessica Ennis (Jess) is 25 years old and competes in the 100 m hurdles, heptathlon and pentathlon. She was born on 28 January 1986, in Sheffield, England. Her father is from Jamaica and her mother is from Derbyshire, so that makes Jess half Jamaican and half British. Neither of her parents were particularly interested in sports, although her father did sprinting at school and her mother enjoyed the high jump. She was introduced to athletics in 1996 when she was 10 years old at “Star Track”, an athletics holiday camp. While she was there, she won her first ever prize for athletics, a pair of trainers. She started to enjoy athletics so much that she

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joined the City of Sheffield Athletic Club the following year when she was 11. When she was aged 14, she won the Federation for School Sports Whitham Award for the best performance. She attended King Egbert School in the south of Sheffield, where she sat her GCSEs in 6th year. She got three A levels and then went on to study psychology at the University of Sheffield. In 2008 Jessica was all set up and ready to compete in the Olympics, but then disaster struck. While competing in a competition in Austria, she broke her right ankle and scans revealed that she wouldn’t be able to go to Beijing to compete in the 2008 Olympics. Jessica was devastated as it had been her dream to compete, but now she would have to wait another four years before she could. However, that didn’t stop Jess being determined. She competed in the 2010 European Championships and came first in the heptathlon; coming first in every event. Jessica inspires me because even after something devastating happened to her, she still tried hard to achieve her goal. Now Jess is training harder than ever to make sure that she can go to the 2012 Olympics here in London. Jessica has been short listed for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year and she and Usain Bolt were voted Commonwealth Athlete of the Year. This shows that other people and not just me think of her as a role model and aspire to be like her.

Rachel Groves Albyn School .

“I dreamed it. But I never thought it would play out so soon – the Olympics gold. It’s amazing” Hannah Teter Hannah Teter is a 24 year-old American and was born on 27 January 1987 in Belmont, Vermont. Her sport is snowboarding. When she was “I have learned how big I can 15, she was the World Junior Halfpipe Champion. She is now an dream, and that these Olympic champion as she won a gold medal at the 2006 Winter dreams are reachable. Olympic Games. Hannah has shown a lot of determination because she I hope I have the has been snowboarding since she was 8. About 2 years ago she had to have knee surgery, but she didn’t stop snowboarding, and she is now able determination to reach to go to the Olympics again. She would not be where she is now if she had them. They are on a given up after having surgery. cloud and I am Charity Work – Hannah’s Gold: The reason I chose Hannah Teter was building the ladder that she founded her own charity called “Hannah’s Gold”. It helps support a village in Kenya, Africa called Kirindon. It helps in a variety of ways by building to reach them.” schools, so that children can have an education, digging fresh water wells, Anna McLullich providing people with something to drink, and providing water filtration. Because Albyn School of her work, all of the people in Kirindon should be able to have constant access to clean water by 2011. The charity works by selling maple syrup from her home county Vermont. She herself has helped to aid it because she has donated all of her prize money to Hannah’s Gold. I admire her for doing this as she could have spent all the money on herself. Hannah has also supported other good causes. She donated her $10,000 winnings on another occasion to go for a weekend to a humanitarian relief fund, in order to help the people who survived the Haiti earthquake. In fact, she has given all the prize money since 2008, which is almost $75,000, to charity. Last year, in 2010, she started another charity initiative called Sweet Cheeks. Sweet Cheeks gives 40% of all sales proceeds to another organisation called Children International, which helps to give food to the children who have to live through extreme poverty around the world. She raised money for Darfur, sponsored children who live in Honduras and the Philippines, and is a spokesperson for “Boarding for Breast Cancer”. Because of all Hannah’s work, she won an award called Do Something Athlete. Hannah is an inspiring person because she has done a lot for others when she could have kept her money and her time for herself. I would like to be selfless like her and put other people’s needs before my own.

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Anna McLullich Albyn School

“An athlete cannot run with money in his pockets. He must run with hope in his heart and dreams in his head” Emil Zátopek, Triple Olympic Gold Medallist, Helsinki 1952 Zara Phillips is an accomplished horsewoman who has ridden in many competitions. She has competed in the 2005 European Eventing Championships in Italy where she won gold for individual and her team. She also entered the 2006 FEI World Equestrian Games and won gold for individual and silver for her team. In 2008, the British Olympic Association announced that Zara would be riding as one of 5 riders for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, but during training, Toytown (her horse) received an injury which stopped him and Zara from competing. As the oldest granddaughter of the Queen, Zara supports many charitable causes. She has taken to attending various charity meetings and mainly supports charities which involve spinal injuries, equestrian and child causes. In 2005 she auctioned one of her evening gowns to raise money for tsunami relief and in 2007 she became patron of the Mark Davies Injured Riders Fund. To help with Sports Relief 2008, Zara Phillips had her first official real portrait painted by the artist Jack Vettriano. She also goes to events by the Caudwell Charitable Trust which helps children with special needs, disabilities and serious illnesses. I really like Zara Phillips because she is a horse rider and cares for children and others. I also ride horses and would like to compete as she does one day. She cares for others more than herself, which is what I do, according to my friends. She refused to compete in the Olympics for the sake of her horse, Toytown. Zara has the true qualities of an Olympic athlete; she is determined, courageous, fair, friendly, respectful and excellent. I really respect her decisions and I hope she will manage to compete in the Olympics 2012. She really deserves the chance!

“Now that I have completed Lauren Mitchell is a gymnast from Australia. this poster I think She was born in Perth, Australia on 23 July 1991. She started gymnastics when she was seven years I will achieve a lot old. Her first experience of gymnastics was when she had a ‘Gymbus’ party on a double decker bus more things in life.” filled with gymnastics equipment. Lauren is classed Ellen Leslie Baldragon Academy rd

Chloe Cowie Banff Academy

as ‘Australia’s best gymnast’, as she has recently won four gold medals at the Commonwealth Games and gold at the World Championships.

The very first time I saw her, was during her balance beam performance at the World Championships in 2009, where she struck up a conversation with another opponent. Lauren inspired me because she has the determination to keep going with gymnastics even when it is tough. She is also a nice person who doesn’t think too much of herself. She is not really famous as she doesn’t have her own sports collection and gymnastics is not a sport which people follow in great numbers like football or tennis. She is famous and admired within the gymnastics world because she is a very, very talented gymnast. As long as she escapes serious injury she is a person who we should look out for in the days leading up to the 2012 Olympics in London.

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Callum Walls Baldragon Academy

“My mother taught me very early to believe I could achieve any accomplishment I wanted to. The first was to walk without braces.” Wilma Rudolph, 1940-1994, triple Olympic Champion, Rome, 1960 The person who inspires me the most is Sir Chris Hoy. Chris is an Olympic cyclist, Scotland’s most successful Olympian. At the Beijing Olympics he achieved 3 gold medals – the only other Olympian to achieve this at one Games was Henry Taylor at the 1908 Summer Olympics in London. His gold medals were for 400 m freestyle swim; 1500 metres freestyle swim and the 4 x 200 metres freestyle swim. He won further medals in Stockholm in 1912 and Antwerp in 1920. There were no Olympics in 1916 because there was a war happening and like so many others Henry was fighting for his life and for his country. He remained at the top of his sport until 1926. Recently I had the opportunity to spend a day with Chris Hoy and he was able to offer some very good advice. He told me that following good advice had been crucial to his success and he told us about some amazing people he had been very fortunate to meet and how he has learnt from them. Early on in his career team mates and friends were an influence, without even realising it. My meeting with Chris Hoy was on Saturday 18th September 2010. He came to my Cycling Club (Discovery Juniors, in Dundee). During his time with us he spoke about the passion he has for cycling. He made it quite clear that cycling at the top level is gruelling and having passion on its own is not enough. You have to be greedy for success. I admire his honesty regarding the difficulties he has had and overcome and also the hard sacrifices he has had to make. On TV and in the media he is portrayed as a talented hero and he is, but behind this image is an ambitious workaholic dedicated to his sport and interested in all who want to come after him. He left me with great admiration for his candid assertions of how much of a struggle his success has been. I have a memory now of a man who has learned from every experience: the good and the bad. He told us of his many setbacks and how they in themselves are not important rather it is how you deal with them and move on which is important.

Me with Chris Hoy

The year after Chris won his Olympic gold in 2004, with only 2 ½ years to go until Beijing, Chris was dropped from the team. Many would have departed, depressed and not willing to carry on. But Chris did not see it that way. Instead he gathered all the people around him who could help him and through hard work, singlePersonal training from the best minded determination and a hunger for success he turned a huge negative into a huge positive which was even bigger than he thought possible. In reality what he gave up was his social time with his pals – no parties at the weekend, no exotic holidays, only hard graft. In my own life when I have had to deal with what have appeared to be difficulties, I have often thought back to the day I met Chris and I remember his words – when I’ve a problem to sort out, take a deep breath, remain calm, draw up a plan and then set out to overcome the difficulties. These words have been of great benefit to me and the day with Chris was a great honour, which has been one of the best days of my life so far.

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Kalim McDonagh Balfron High School

“You need 3 things to win: discipline, hard work and before everything maybe commitment. No one will make it without those three; sport teaches you that” The most inspirational person in sport for me is Haile Gebrselassie because he starting living on a farm in Ethiopia and now has broken 27 world records. Around where he lives, you have to run to survive. At the age of 6, Gebrselassie had to run 6 miles each day to get to school. There is no doubt that he lives up to the Olympic values. He has lived up to the first Olympic value of excellence by winning many medals and completing his own goals. He has also lived up to the value of respect by helping fellow athletes to be the best they can be. He has lived up to the value of friendship by being loyal and helping the people of Ethiopia. He has been courageous by standing up and saying that he wants to be a runner. He has shown determination by pushing and not just giving in when things get tough. Last, but not least, he has lived up to the value, equality, by trying to give people who don’t have an education, an education. I admire and am inspired by Haile Gebrselassie because he has shown a lot of courage and has pushed and pushed to achieve many things. For example, after an injury in New York, he thought he might have to retire because he was past his prime, but when he got home and saw how disappointed everyone was, he decided not to give up and go to the London Olympics. I also admire him for having a very successful business as well as competing in the Olympics. I would like to live up to his courage and determination. The reason I would like to live up to his courage is because it would allow me to achieve great things in life. Determination would help me to keep going and not give up at the first hurdle. I think that Haile Gebrselassie has achieved success because of all his hard work, his positive attitude and his resilience in the face of difficulty. Haile Gebrselassie has come from quite a poor background and yet has become a hero for his country. This has shown me that with hard work and determination, you can achieve anything – I want to get to the Olympics myself.

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Lois Emily Millar Balfron High School Eleanor Simmonds, who will be 17 this year, is a British Paralympic swimmer. She grew up in Walsall near Birmingham and was born with achondroplasia. Just imagine what that must have been like? From the very beginning of your life being a dwarf. She was probably bullied at school and having been bullied myself, it must have really got her down. Yet Eleanor decided that even though she was a dwarf, she wasn’t going to let that spoil her whole life. So she worked hard and eventually became a Paralympian. Her typical day goes like this: she gets up at 5.00 am to do a morning training session between 6.00 and 7.30 am. She then goes to school, works hard, comes home and does more training between 3.30 and 5.30 pm. Then she grabs a quick meal and does her homework. Hopefully, she then has time to catch up with her friends online and goes to bed at 9.00 pm to get up at 5.00 am the next day. I for one would find this day almost impossible, yet Ellie is so determined that she copes with it day after day. Through this determination, Ellie has earned 2 gold Paralympic medals, 5 gold medals in the European Championships, 10 gold medals in the World Championships and a gold Paralympic World Cup. I find Ellie so inspiring because she was born with a disability she knew she was stuck with, but she didn’t let it get in the way of her dreams, and look what she’s achieved.

“I have learned more about myself, my values and what kind of a person I want to be.” Lois Emily Millar Balfron High School

Sophie Land Balmullo Primary School Rebecca Adlington lives up to Olympic values because she's committed to her training. She is healthy, fit, determined, has high self-belief and high expectations. She is confident and never gives up. She is so strong and her technique is brilliant. I admire her determination and self-belief. The values she has that I would like to live up to are confidence, never giving up, and aiming high in life. She has achieved success and recognition through winning medals, and the Queen has awarded an OBE. She is the most successful British Olympic swimmer for 100 years.

Jacob Ramsay Balwearie High School

“Only those who dare to fail greatly, can achieve greatly” Robert F Kennedy My inspiration is Sir Christopher Hoy. Chris Hoy was born in Edinburgh on 23 March 1976. He participated in many sports as a child, including rugby, rowing and BMX racing. Hoy has achieved many great things in his life and currently holds 2 world records, one for the 500 m in which Hoy timed 24.758 seconds and holds another for the 750 m team sprint with a time of 42.950 seconds. He has 4 Olympic gold medals and one silver and ten World Championship gold medals for various cycling events. Chris Hoy refused to give up when his main event, the Kilometre time trial, was dropped from the Beijing programme; he focused on other events that he believed he was not as good at. Hoy continues to power forward as a world class cyclist and will be competing at the London 2012 Olympics.

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Mykaela Ffvonna Alexander Banff Academy

“Every artist was first an amateur” Ralph Waldo Emerson Jessica Long is an Paralympic swimmer from the United States. She was adopted from Russia at the age of 3 months and when she was 18 months, her legs were amputated because of lower leg anomalies. She learned to walk with the prostheses (artificial legs). Even with her disability, she took part in sports like gymnastics, cheerleading, ice skating, biking, trampoline and rock climbing. She first became interested in swimming when her grandparents taught her how to swim at the age of 6 in their back garden swimming pool. She has been part of the United States Paralympics swimming team since 2004, when she was just 12. In early December 2006, she won 9 gold medals and set 5 world records at the World Swimming Championships in South Africa and, in 2007, she was awarded the title “Disability Swimmer of the Year.” By doing this competition and learning about the Paralympics and Jessica Long, I have learned a valuable lesson; no matter what you do in life and no matter how big the obstacle, you will manage to overcome it if you try hard enough. I am a Highland dancer and many times I have felt like stopping and giving up, but I have always been encouraged to push myself and never give up. In the past, I never thought about how difficult it would be for people with a disability, and for Jessica Long to be able to do all these activities is amazing, when I thought I couldn’t do a Highland dance. I find her inspirational because even though she had a disability at a young age and had to get her legs amputated, she has kept strong and learned to do lots of activities that some people with a disability wouldn’t even attempt. She has gone far in life because she has stuck to what she loves and it has inspired many people by her getting into the Paralympics. I now know that the next time the Olympics and Paralympics are on, I will definitely be watching!

Chloe Cowie Banff Academy

“I have learned a lot about myself by taking part in this project. I have learned what I need to work on to become a better person and I feel that I know myself better after taking part.” Hannah Louise Findlater Banff Academy

“The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part; the essential thing in life is not conquering, but fighting well” Pierre de Couber n (founder of modern Olympic Games) Someone who unquestionably inspires me is Matthew Biondi because of his many achievements and how he has fought to achieve them. Matthew is one of the greatest swimmers ever seen. He has won medals from a number of international events. Matthew has set 11 world records, which is an outstanding accomplishment. Matt went to the Olympics on 3 occasions – 1984, 1988 and 1992. At the Olympics he won a total of 11 medals. At a world championship tournament, he was the first ever to have won 7 medals. Of course Matt had to work extremely hard for these amazing achievements and I’m inspired by his hard work.

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In one of Matt’s first ever races he had a very unlucky start. He made 2 false starts in front of a huge crowd of people. Even worse, to Matt’s disappointment and also to his extreme embarrassment, he lost his swimming trunks on one of his starts too! Matthew was truly devastated by this, but he had the courage to go back out and swim again. I would love to have this kind of courage and determination to go back out there and face everyone again. To have such courage would almost make you unstoppable. He showed everyone that what happened that day wasn’t going to stop him from his dream of becoming one of the greatest swimmers ever. Matthew was involved in the Seoul Olympic Games in 1988. His 100 m butterfly event was one of the most memorable events in swimming history. Everyone was expecting Matthew to go home with gold for his 100 m butterfly, but that was not to be. Much to Matthew’s disappointment, Anthony Nesty from Suriname beat him and furthermore it was only by 0.01 seconds: one-hundredth of a second. Everyone was stunned how close the race was. Spectators had no idea who had won the race until a short amount of time after Matthew was declared to have been beaten by 1/100 of a second. This left Matt to wonder “One one-hundredth of a second – what if I had grown my fingernails longer?” He was right, what if he had grown them longer. Then maybe he would be the one who had left Seoul with gold. Once again this did not set Matthew back, just pushed him forward, made him even more motivated and made him even more determined.

“Enjoy the journey, enjoy the moment, and quit worrying about winning and losing” Ma Biondi This is a quote from Matthew himself. This quote means a lot of different things. People worry far too much about what happened yesterday or what is going to happen tomorrow. In this quote Matthew was telling the world to enjoy the journey of life, to capture every moment while you still have it and to grab every opportunity you get with both hands. There is no point in worrying about tomorrow while today is still here. Along with that, he told the world to quit worrying about winning or losing. A competition, race or challenge should always be about trying your best. It shouldn’t matter about winning or losing. I would love to put out a message as deep and as meaningful as Matt’s quote. I am absolutely certain that Matthew has inspired a lot of people with that quote, including me. Matthew is extremely determined and dedicated and that’s what got him to where he is today. As in everything most successful in life there is hard work involved. I choose Matthew Biondi as someone who inspires me because he worked himself to the top on his own. I chose him because he chose his own path and followed it. I chose him because he didn’t let anyone stand in his way. I would love if one day I could be like Matthew, he never admits defeat; he just keeps going and going. He is truly inspiring.

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Scott Duguid Banff Academy

“Friends are like stars, they come and go, but the ones that stay are the ones that glow.” Roxy Quiksilver My inspirational figure is the rugby player Nathan Hines, who was born in Australia in 1976. He inspires me because he thinks of others and not just himself. We know this because he did an advert in Australia during the recent floods telling people to keep their spirits high and think positive and not negative thoughts, because negative thoughts weigh people down the most. He also sent out money for the relief work in Australia, as well as after the Haiti earthquake. He also inspired me by being tough and telling his teammates to keep playing and saying, "it doesn't matter if we win or lose, but do it for Scotland." When his friends are down he will cheer them up with a joke and a beer. He is selfless because he lets other people go for the gold and not just himself, so if he had the ball he would pass it to someone else to go for the try. The determination he puts into his rugby is what I would like to put into the hard work that I do on my dad's farm. He always encourages his teammates to think positively before the match, and I think about these kinds of positive thoughts before every task my dad sends me to do. I will do it by the deadline to a high standard and get the job right first time. Nathan is very fearless because if he has the ball he would charge and get that try. His courage and fearlessness have helped me through some things because if I have the bull by the horns I will hold on to what I believe in. His enthusiasm for rugby is also an inspiration to me, and has made me a lot more dedicated to learning new skills in farming and to learning from my mistakes. His hard work and dedication is a huge inspiration to me, because he works hard at the thing he loves most. For me this is contributing to my dad's farm and making it an all-round success every day. And weekends I help my uncle Charlie to feed the cattle and sheep and we always have a good laugh as he teaches me new things and skills. Nathan also passes his rugby skills onto children who take up the game. Last year when my granddad died I was full of emotion and I decided to put all that emotion into farming. It has helped me learn more and more about farming. In this way I'm putting emotion into what I do best.

Morgan Grant Banff Academy

“Go back a little to leap further” John Clarke

“This competition has made me realise how hard it is for people with a disability and how lucky I am.”

Mykaela Alexander To be honest I don’t really know that much about the Olympics, Banff Academy and until this competition I had never heard of the Paralympics. However, now I have looked into the Olympics and Paralympics and discovered a variety of inspiring athletes who have disabilities or athletes that have managed to accomplish their goals. So I have chosen Evgenia Kanaeva as my inspirational figure, Evgenia was the most inspirational to me. Evgenia is a rhythmic gymnast from Russia. She was born on 2 April 1990. She won her first Olympic gold medal in Beijing 2008 in the women’s rhythmic individual all-round final. At the 2008 European Championships in Torino, she led the field by almost two full points, placing first in every event. She is very dedicated in what she does and strives to be the best that she can be by working hard to achieve

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her goals. I chose Evgenia Kanaeva to be my inspirational figure because I used to do gymnastics as well as Highland dancing. I really enjoyed doing gymnastics, but I had to quit because I couldn’t manage the training day; I would like to start doing gymnastics again to become like Evgenia Kanaeva. I realise to do this I will have to work really hard and practise to get where Evgenia Kanaeva is.

Hannah Louise Findlater Banff Academy

“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars” Oscar Wilde Aimee Mullins is an athlete, fashion model and actress. She was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania in 1976. Aimee was born with fibular hemimelia (without fibular bones) which meant that at a year old she had both her legs amputated at the knee, so that she could learn to walk. She competed in the Paralympics in the 100 m and 200 m dash and the long jump. She modelled for Alexander McQueen on a pair of solid ash prosthetic legs. She has starred in the films Cremaster 3 (2002), Five Little Pigs (2003), World Trade Centre (2006) and Quid Pro Quo (2008). Aimee Mullins can change her height from 5 ft 8 in to 6 ft 2 in depending on the length of her prosthetic legs. Aimee is inspirational to me because she has managed to have success in sport, film and modelling with her “disability”. She has been able to show the world that it is not a body part that makes a person beautiful, but the person inside. Her values are what make Aimee such an inspiring person. She is determined, confident, focused, ambitious, positive and committed. I think Aimee must have been very ambitious to become an athlete. She had 2 prosthetic legs and still wanted to take part in sports. She decided to enter the long jump in High School, apparently a sport that double amputees weren’t supposed to enter. Her ambition brought her success and she broke the world record a year later. Aimee would not have been able to reach her ambitious goals had it not been for her great determination. She was determined not to be labelled “disabled” by people so she proved to everyone that she could do everything, if not more than they could. Aimee inspires me because of her confidence. She went to an American school once and showed a class her different pairs of prosthetic legs. She asked them, if they could design legs for her, what they would be like? They all came out with answers about legs that could make her jump really high and other sorts of super legs. She made the class realise that because of her missing legs, she could be more able than any of them. She talks to lots of people about this issue and makes them understand that “Confidence is the sexiest thing a woman can have. It’s much sexier than any body part.” – Aimee Mullins, Oprah Magazine, May 2004. I admire Aimee Mullins being so determined and confident. If I had been in Aimee’s position, I would have probably hidden away, and her achievements would have been completely out of reach. She kept fighting for her right to be beautiful and to be able to do anything she wanted. She is amazing with her powers of confidence, ambition, commitment and many others. Aimee has achieved so much because she has not let anything stand in her way. She could have been confined to a wheelchair all her life, she could have just given up, but she pushed on because she knew that her life had more potential. She has been an inspiration to other amputees to push on with their lives to achieve success. If her parents had decided not to give Aimee the operation to have her legs amputated at the knee, Aimee might never have become the person she is today. I think I would like to have some of Aimee’s qualities after reading her story and watching a video where she did an excellent talk. She is an amazing person and I think now I will try harder to follow her example as best I can. If I managed to apply some of her qualities to my life, I think will be a much more confident and happy person.

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Tasia Reynolds Braes High School Every time the Olympics come on to television, I love to watch them. When I see normal people like me do amazing, unbelievable things, it’s fantastic to see, so when I see people with a disadvantage in life doing equally amazing feats, it simply blows my mind. The Olympics always inspires me to be better than I already am. They show that normal people can become amazing through hard work and perseverance. The Paralympics are also very inspirational because they show people with a disability, who have a harder life than everyone else, that they can use their handicap to their advantage. A Paralympian I find inspirational is Marc Eccleston. Eccleston left school at the age of 16, intent on a career in rugby. However, he had an accident which damaged his spinal cord. He was given a wheelchair and told that he was paralysed and would never walk again. If it were me in that situation, of living until 16, being put in a wheelchair and being told I would never take another step again, I would feel like life wasn’t worth living. Why would someone want to spend the rest of their life in a wheelchair, watching everybody else walk and run and have fun? However, Eccleston didn’t have the same approach as I would have had. During his 7-month stay in hospital, he was introduced to wheelchair sports. He left the hospital with a gold medal in table tennis from the 1987 national wheelchair games. It was here he was introduced to wheelchair rugby. He played this for years, participating in the 1996 Paralympic Games and was the first British player to play a season in America. He took up wheelchair tennis and won 7 national titles, as well as becoming the first ever British player to be number 1 on the doubles ranking. He was also a member of the first British team to ever win the World Team Cup (Davis Cup of wheelchair tennis) and he won a silver medal at the 2004 Athens Paralympics. He retired and is in great demand as a motivational speaker, as well as becoming a successful sports coach. Marc Eccleston shows people that it doesn’t matter if they’re different from everyone else, and that sometimes being different and standing out from the crowd can give them an advantage over others. Eccleston took what would be a tragedy for anybody else and he made it into something fantastic. To me, the Olympics represent hard work, pushing boundaries and being the best a person possibly can be. Olympians and Paralympians mean being special, being number 1. They mean following your dreams. I find them inspirational because they work to the best of their ability and never give up. They show that it doesn’t matter who or what you are - as long as you try hard, you can be amazing. Everyone wants to be better than they already are, someone special. Olympians show people that what they want is possible if they just work hard and push themselves to be better than everyone else.

“Hearing about some of the Olympian’s stories has really inspired me, and it teaches us to never give up.” Tasia Reynolds Braes High School

Lauren Faulkner Broughton High School

“The more you sweat in training, the less you bleed in battle.” Anon

My mum always says that we should never let failure knock us down as there is always success around the corner. This applies to my inspirational figure, Eleanor Simmonds, who competed in the Beijing Paralympics as a swimmer at the age of 13. She has achondroplasia, which is the most common form of dwarfism. Ellie trains 14 to 16 hours a week, but she doesn't train on Sundays. I used to do a lot of swimming myself. After she watched the Paralympics in 2004, she decided that she wanted to swim – she is very competitive and likes to win - racing gives her an adrenaline rush. She competed in the 100 m and 400 m freestyle, 50 m butterfly and 200 m individual medley, and one gold in the 400 m and 200 m swim. She became Young Sports Person of the Year in 2008, and was the youngest person ever to be awarded the MBE in 2009.

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She loves shopping, but she buys adult clothes and chops off the arms and legs. She likes watching Come Dine with Me and she loves the presenter. Ellie really inspires me she is very brave and must have a lot of challenges in her life but she has come out on top. She must have been bullied a lot when she was younger for her height, but nobody's perfect. I had bad teeth when I was younger and I had some troubles with fake friends, but it's not like that anymore. I have braces and I have new friends, while she became famous and must be thinking "well who's laughing now!?"

Hannah Ross Broughton High School

“Success is how high you bounce when you hit the bottom” George S. Patton Ellie Simmonds started swimming at nine years old and had already taken part in competitions in the pool, not just with disabled people. At the age of 12, she tried to take part in a disabled competition. Although the rule was that she had to be 14 to take part, they decided to change it. Ellie says “After watching the Athens Paralympics in 2004, I looked at the swimmers and thought, that's cool, I want to do that." This shows that even people like her have been inspired. She trains 16 to 18 hours a week, and says "all athletes have to keep trying, you can't just quit when you lose, you have to try again." One of my own ambitions is to become a doctor, and I would like to work in Africa treating malaria.

Samantha Mainwaring Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Bryn Tawe

“Practice makes perfect.” I have chosen Dame Kelly Holmes, British middle distance athlete, as my inspiration. Kelly started training at the age of 12, then at the age of 18 joined the Army. There she had a successful career which fuelled her love of sport and encouraged her to fulfil her goals of becoming a professional athlete. A dedicated athlete who won 2 gold medals for the 800 m and 1500 m in the 2004 Olympics in Athens. She also set a British record in the 400 m, 800 m, 1000 m and 1500 m distances. As a competitive athlete, her training was intense, but such was her drive to succeed, her sport became her life. Kelly suffered an injury to her leg in 2003 and she became very depressed and started self-harming. However, she refused to go on conventional medicine for depression because if would affect her performance, instead decided on herbal treatment. She overcame her depression, determined to continue her dream to go to the Olympics. Starting her own charity, “The Dame Kelly Holmes Trust”, she wanted to make a legacy from her career that would benefit young people. Kelly is a real inspiration to me. She’s competitive, ambitious and hard working. She has had to be self-disciplined and positive to succeed in her sport.

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Hannah Parker, Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Bryn Tawe I have chosen Eleanor Simmonds is my inspiration as she shows that it doesn't matter who you are or where you come from – you can still do great things. She lives in Swansea and we are proud to have her represent our city in the sporting world. She has shown great determination in what has become more than a hobby. She trains every morning for an hour and a half and every afternoon for a further two hours. She finds it difficult to spend a lot of time with her friends as she has such a jam-packed routine. She attends Olchya School, which is very supportive. Even though she is a world famous athlete, she still enjoys the same things as other teenage girls – going shopping with her friends, going to the cinema, listening to music and watching her favourite film Hairspray. Eleanor inspires me by being such a great role model. She makes people believe that they can do spectacular things and they can make their dreams come true just like she did. In my opinion, some people don't think that disabled people can do things that are worthwhile, let alone win gold medals at the Paralympics. Eleanor Simmonds has proved them all wrong.

Chè-de Vaughan Wesgate-Jones, Cantonian High School Aimee Mullins is a true legend she was told that she had a disease called fibular hemimelia she was diagnosed with this from the first day she was born, which is a very rare disease which caused her to have her leg chopped off just below the knee. When she was just one years old! She was very young and there for could get used to the legs very quickly. Although she had up and down days she truly did not let this get in her way of being in the Paralympics for the U.S.A. She would not let these false legs get in the way of her becoming a true champion! There for she trained hard and never slacked in her training she truly pushed herself to the limit to enter competitions and win! But there was one contest that inspired me the fact that there was a contest for people with only an arm or a leg or a leg or just an arm or something but this contest was not for people who had two legs missing but she insisted and would not back down and told her manager that she really wanted to do this contest and so the competition leaders said ok to her entering although she wasn’t

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supposed to she did but what is truly amazing is she was the only one with metal legs and was the only one with two legs missing she also came first in that competition! Aimee’s first Paralympic games was memorable she turned up full of happiness and confidence but when she got there she noticed that there was no-one else with false legs and that she was the only one but this didn’t knock her confidence this made her more determined to win! This is why Aimee Mullin inspires me because she is truly legend and made her dreams come true and is going to be talked about through history! I have learned that if I put my mind to anything I can achieve anything! I have learned it is important to talk about yourself because it helps you understand what type of person you are and what things you need to improve on to become a better person.

Chloe Courtney-Jones, Cantonian High School Lisa Leslie is a famous basketball player and was born in California in July 7, 1972. Lisa has played for the USA women’s basketball team, and has won 2 gold medals. She is an amazing basketball player and has a great talent. Once in a high school basketball game, she scored 101 points in the first half. The other team didn’t want to carry on to the second half. Lisa graduated in 1994 from USC, the University of Southern California and then was signed to the LA Sparks in January 1997. On July 30, 2002, Lisa Leslie made history because she was the first woman to do a one handed slam dunk during the game against the Miami Sols. Lisa is my sporting hero because she actually managed to achieve something with her life and she really enjoys it. This encourages young people such as myself not to give up on your dream because if you try hard enough you can make something of yourself. She is a wonderful role model for me and many other young girls that admire her. Lisa isn’t always on the court. You can also find her on the catwalk too. She has appeared in Vogue and models Armani and Tommy Hilfiger. Lisa fascinates and inspires me every day!

“I have learned that if I put my mind to anything I can achieve anything.” Chè-de Vaughan Wesgate-Jones Cantonian High School

Katy Greatrex, Cantonian High School

“Only those who can see the invisible, can accomplish the impossible!" Frank Gaines I need to work on being resilient as I always seem to break down when someone has said something about me or to me. I need to show my emotions but get over it at the same time, I know who my real friends are and I need to believe in myself. I would like to be a person that can inspire people, I don’t need to be famous or popular and I want to let them know that whatever they want to do they can succeed. Everybody has a dream and if they believe in themselves, they can achieve anything they put their mind to. I want people to know that however they want to succeed in life they can, if they work hard and keep dreaming their dream. Never let someone else put you down. I don’t want to lose the qualities I have now, I’m happy and trustworthy I hope and I want to stay the same. I want to keep all my memories but at the same time I want to learn different skills and things so I can do well in life.

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Zak Robinson, Cantonian High School

“I want to be a kind strong sportsman who is always kind and generous and is always smiling even if I lose” Zak Robinson I need to be more creative when it comes to set plays during a rugby match, I need to be more patient when it comes to parents and family, I need to be a bit more generous when it comes to giving other people stuff, I need to be more positive-minded when it comes to playing sports against a team that is said to be a great, I need to be more hard-working in lessons as I do not complete work to the best of my ability, I need to be more fair when it comes to working in groups and give other people opportunities not just me.

Sheuli Akhtar Central Foundation Girls School My inspirational figures are Dame Tanni, who was born on 26th July 1969 in Cardiff Wales; and Ian GreyThompson, who was born with spina bifida and also uses a wheelchair. Dame Tanni and Ian Grey-Thompson met in 1987 they are the members of national wheelchair racing squad at St Cyres Comprehensive. She is perhaps most recognisable so one of the British greatest Paralympics athletes. Dame Tanni and GreyThompson inspired me because it made me think it doesn’t matter if you’re in a wheelchair as everyone has talent and everyone is the same but in different ways we can all achieve something we can all be proud of. Their qualities are: Integrity, Vision , Passion, Performance and Leadership.

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Habiba Hussein Central Foundation Girls School Bonnie Kathleen Blair was born on March 18, 1964. Although born in Cornwall, New York, she spent her childhood in Champaign, Illinois. Bonnie started skating when she was only two years old, and she was not the only talented athlete in her family. Four of her five siblings went on to win national speed skating titles though none of them achieved her level of success. I find Bonnie Blair very inspiring because she proved that women could indeed run fast like men and that she eventually joined the ranks of Wilma Rudolph in the speed hall of fame. Bonnie had poise, strength and endurance far beyond the abilities of most men. Also she was the best skaters who ever represented the United States and became one of the greatest winter Olympians and role models of all time. The reason I admire this person is because of the fact she said “winning doesn’t always mean being first; winning means you’re doing better than you’ve done before.” I think this saying is very useful in life and this has also made me think in a different way.

“In this project I have learned to try my best in everything, to never give up, and not to give up hope.” Habiba Hussain Central Founda on Girls School

Anisa Rahman Central Foundation Girls School My hero is Xavier Mohammad, who is always optimistic about his work. He believes in himself, he never gives up and that’s what inspires me. Whatever you do you should never give up, you should always be positive. Always believe in yourself otherwise you won’t be able to achieve your goals in the future. What I learned from Xavier Mohammad is that when things get tough I should always be disciplined and determined and should stay motivated. I shouldn’t panic or anything just stay calm then that way I can focus and achieve my goals. I think Xavier Mohammad achieved his goals by practising every single day so that it can be perfect. He is always calm when practising. Xavier Mohammad doesn’t like to put too much pressure on himself, which I think this is good because if you put too much pressure on yourself you’re always thinking about what’s going to happen, but if you do it the relaxing way then you’re calm.

Ayesha Begum Central Foundation Girls School Rebecca Adlington set a world record on the 16th August 2008 as she clinched her second swimming gold medal in Beijing with victory in the 800 m freestyle. She became the first British woman to claim gold since Anita Lonsbrough in 1960 with her 400 m freestyle victory and success in the 800 m freestyle makes her the most successful British swimmer of the last century. If that was not enough, she made more history by smashing swimming's longest-standing world record. The world 800 m best set by Janet Evans of the United States was done so in 1989, the year Adlington was born. Having set a new Olympic record in qualifying for the final, Adlington was the first person to emerge victorious. Rebecca followed in the footsteps of her 2 older sisters, learning to swim at the age of 4 in the Sherwood Swimming Pool. She joined the Nova Centurion in Nottingham at the age of 12 when she has spotted by Bill Furniss, who has remained her coach to this day. Rebecca Adlington inspires me because of her confidence, determination and independence. These three attributes depict her eagerness to fulfil her ambitions in life. She swims around 80km a week and gets about £8k a year; people consider that it’s not very glamorous and lucrative. But her awards depict her achievements at quite a young age.

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Maisha Rahman Central Foundation Girls School

“Plans for the future are to just keep training hard, stay determined, stay committed and then hopefully get a gold medal at the London 2012.” Tom Daley would be one of my inspirations not just as an athlete but as a person. He is my inspiration as he achieved gold medals as well as achieving nine A stars and one A GCSE. He is very committed to both sport and studying, which makes him very hardworking. He represented Great Britain at the 2008 Summer Olympics, where he was Britain's youngest competitor, the youngest competitor of any nationality outside the sport of swimming, and the youngest to participate in a final. This proves that you can’t use the excuse of your dream getting in the way of your studying; he showed you can be successful in school and your talent. I think Tom Daley is cool as he is a devoted person. He started diving at the age of 7, and by the age of 14 he was taking part in the Olympics, which is a big achievement as he has dreamt of this and it has come true. He is known worldwide by many people but only because he was ambitious, worked hard and never gave up. He inspires me because researching him has shown me that if I have a dream and I pursue it with as much enthusiasm and good intentions then my dreams may also come true. I hadn’t really thought of a dream I actually wanted to pursue until I started finding things out about Tom Daley. I don’t have a fully planned, all figured dream but I’ve got a few things I like doing and I want to have a go at but I’m not sure how. If I can’t figure it out then I will stick to being a G.P., which is much practical but it will be good for everyone including me.

Erin Redpath Cleveden Secondary School

“How far is far, how high is high? We’ll never know until we try!” Song from the Californian Special Olympics

“I have learned about my strengths and weaknesses, how to improve them and not to doubt myself”

Tom Daley was born on 21 May 1994 in Plymouth, England. He is a diver in the Olympics and specialises in the 10 metre platform event and is currently the FINA World Champion. He started diving at seven years old and is a member of the Plymouth Diving Club. He represented Britain in the 2008 summer Olympics and was the youngest competitor of any nationality outside the sport of swimming. He was the youngest to participate in a final. I think Tom Daley is inspiring because of how ambitious and brave he is. He is obviously a very determined person as he must use up all his leisure time training for the Liszzy Islip Olympics. I really admire the fact that Tom is so determined. I think that you Cove Secondary School won’t get anywhere in life if you’re not determined and just don’t try as hard as you know you can. I think Tom knows that! I would like to be determined, hardworking, confident, ambitious, focused and enthusiastic just like Tom Daley. I think Tom has achieved success because he has put everything into what he does and has tried very hard to improve his performance every time.

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Christine Cannon Cove Secondary School

“You have to try and block out the pressure and concentrate on what you have to do” Tom Daley Stephanie Twell won the European junior cross-country championship three years in a row between 2006 and 2008. In 2010 she was a bronze medallist in the Commonwealth Games 1500 m, having been IAAF world junior 1500 m champion in 2007. She competed in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and came sixth in her heat, just missing out on the final but with the 11th best time out of 33 competitors. I admire Steph for her determination despite injuries. She was brought up by her mum and everything she has achieved has been through hard work and commitment, as well as her enthusiasm and positive attitude. I would love to have her self-discipline, enthusiasm and determination in life. I have met her and she lives near us. She has given up a lot to get where she is, which encourages me to follow the Olympic values and qualities to achieve my goals.

Hannah Cannon Cove Secondary School

“If I try my best and work to the highest quality I can succeed”

“Genius is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration” Thomas Edison

Rebecca Wing inspires me because she was an ordinary girl who did gymnastics and pushed herself hard to achieve great things. I like the feeling that four years ago she was in the same position as me, 14-year-old girl attending the same school. She’s given me the confidence to reach my goals because I realise that commitment pays off and she achieved extraordinary results. She was already a British champion at the age of nine and again at the age of 11. She is a good Hannah Cannon example of the Olympic values of excellence, determination and Cove Secondary School especially courage, because it takes courage and confidence to perform gymnastic routines in front of people. I admire her determination, perseverance and commitment. I think she achieved success because she was so committed and wellorganised, scheduling school and gymnastics around each other. I think it would be fantastic to be able to work hard for lots of things at once and be able to achieve them all to a high standard. I will follow the values to help me, then one day I might be an inspiration as a junior sports leader.

Lizzie Islip Cove Secondary School Kelly Holmes inspires me because she’s overcome many difficulties in her life to get to where she is now. She never gave up on her dreams, and she easily could have done. Now she’s retired she’s putting all her efforts into giving back to the community through sports and special programms, which also shows a lot of determination and perseverance. I would like to be persevering and strong willed as Kelly because she is so confident and successful. I currently volunteer at a swimming club where I inspire and assist others to gain confidence in the water. I feel a great sense of pride when I see a child taking their first step towards swimming. When I’m older I want to take these skills to a different medium and inspire people to reach their dreams no matter what they are.

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Alice Lewis Cove Secondary School Tom Daley inspires me because of what he has achieved at such a young age. He has been to the Olympics and also the Commonwealth Games, where he won two gold medals last year. He has shown a lot of determination as he has been working towards his goals since the age of seven. At such a young age he shows that you can do anything if you put your mind to it and put the effort in. He has taught me never to give up when people of his age could easily give up quickly. I think he has inspired many teenagers all over the world by showing that you can achieve big things even if you’re young. I would like to be as positive and cheerful as Tom even when he doesn’t succeed. He learns from his mistakes and comes back fighting harder next time. Tom is a great role model for people still studying at school. He was the second youngest ever to compete in the Olympic Games, yet he still carried on at school working towards his GCSEs and juggling training sessions with his homework. He also finds time to support charities like being an ambassador for the NSPCC. This experience has really made me think about the type of person I want to be what I want to do in my life. I have been inspired never to give up and to follow my dreams.

Bethany Browning Cynffig Secondary School “To conquer oneself is the best and noblest victory; to be vanquished by one’s own nature is the worst and most ignoble defeat” Plato Nikko Landerous and Tyler Carron suffered an accident in 2007, which neither will ever forget. It was like a normal British day – cold, wet, dreary. The accident happened on the side of a snow-swept road in Colorado, caused by a flat tyre on the bend. The helpless youths were no match for the speeding metallic monster’s crashing together, trapping the boys in between a vicious battle, a battle which took their legs in exchange for their lives. Determination and perseverance turned Nikko’s life around, the loss of his legs giving him an advantage he never knew possible. Nikko in action

41,000 people were involved in car accidents in 2007 and these two examples can inspire people to realise that their lives don’t have to stop. They can be the person they always wanted to be. Nikko found a way round his physical injury to follow his dreams of being an athlete. Daily he surpasses his physical limits in order to take his team to the hockey championship. Fighting the ice, the screeching blades grinding across a smooth surface, threatening to making him regress back to the January night which killed his hobby of football. He enjoys music, movies and video games which might easily have made them both a recluse. The fact is that to do anything in the world worth doing, we must not stand back shivering in thinking of the cold and the danger, but jump in and work our way through as best we can.

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Gareth Cohen Cynffig Secondary School

“Laziness is the natural assassin of talent” Pele At the age of nine, my second cousin Nathan Stephens had both legs amputated after he was run over by a train. This accident has never stopped Nathan aspiring to achieve his personal goals, and now at the age of 23 he has a world Paralympic gold medal in the F57/58 javelin event to add to his junior world gold medals in the F57 discus, javelin and shot putt. He has now moved away from shot putt to concentrate on discus and javelin. He narrowly missed a medal at the 2008 Paralympics, finishing fourth in the javelin, but made up for the disappointment with a lifetime best performance. “I knew I had it in me, and I couldn’t let the Welsh boys down. That’s the main thing that changed from Beijing. We don’t compete as individuals anymore, we compete as a team.”

“I have gone through a journey of self exploration”

Bronte O’Neill Cynffig Secondary School

“Everyone’s a star, and deserves the right to twinkle”

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Connor Jobson Cynffig Secondary School

Marilyn Monroe Climbing the mountains on two wheels, lungs close to bursting... the cold of the Pyrenees freezing sweat to his body... every muscle straining... after fighting for his life, knuckles white against the handlebars – pushing himself the limit. Best male athlete, pedalling, just keeping going on and on, over one crest then the next.... optimistic, believing, fearless, relentless. Winning the Tour de France seven times and fighting for his life. Terminally ill, with cancer eating his body away, he fights and fights his way back, against all odds, to the very top. Battling a power almost undefeatable, he is undefeatable and wins. The ambition to be the very best, completely committed. Lance Armstrong – once so weak, with a heart so strong and a will not be broken. He beat cancer and became an inspiration to us all.

Emma Wilkins Cynffig Secondary School

“You have to expect things yourself before you can do them” Michael Jordan Rebecca Adlington. Victory swim. Britain’s most successful swimmer. Gold medal winner. These are just labels, because success is about working to achieve, your drive to win and your passion for victory. It’s in Rebecca’s blood. Every time she hits the water, she’s stepping up to the plate which decides her fate, hitting her goals and coming closer and closer to victory with every stroke. Sheer determination, the power of force

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in every kick, pushing harder and harder. Winning is not a chore for her, nor is it a burden, it’s a craving for life. She is committed to what she does, built and born to win. A trail of opportunity and inspiration floats along the surface with hopes and ambitions long after the last stroke taken or the last splash made. Training is brutal. It’s a chance to prove we have what it takes to make it to the top and stay there. Gliding up and down the length, racing against the clock, opponents side-by-side, heart pumping, everything around blurs away as adrenaline drives us forwards in what could be victory’s waters. But deep down inside, through pain comes happiness, through tears come smiles and through hard work comes triumph. Where one conquers all by mastery and superiority, one will achieve. And Rebecca Adlington has this dream, a dream of victory and triumph over all, where months of gruelling training turn into a movement of motivation and inspiration to all. All to one glorious day of conquest, the 2012 Olympics. This is truly victory swim.

Amy Cross Dumbarton Academy “I'm going upstream to stop whoever is throwing these babies down the river!!” This is a story about a group of people at the side of the river where babies are floating down and more and more people are diving in to get them until someone has the idea of running upstream. People throwing the babies in the first place. The meaning of this is always to get to the root of the problem instead of treating the symptoms. My inspirational figure is my swimming coach Heather, whose best event is the breaststroke. She has a strong personality and encourages people to do their best. I didn't like how strict she was first, but now she's my favourite and her personality is the best thing about her.

Eilidh Mellis Elgin High School Beth Tweddle is an English gymnast who was born in 1995. She is a three-time world champion, having won the 2006 and 2010 World Championships on the uneven bars and the 2009 World Championships on the floor. She was the first gymnast from Great Britain ever to win a medal at the World and European Championships and is considered to be the most successful British gymnast of all time. She was named team captain for the English squad in the 2006 Commonwealth Games, but was forced to withdraw from competition after sustaining an ankle injury whilst training. Beth is an inspiration to me as she is extremely committed in doing whatever it takes to excel in her career as a gymnast. To become a professional in this acrobatic sport you need to be very focused and organised. I'm sure she will do well at next year's London Olympics. Her attitude is summed up in the following words: "all my hard work has finally paid off. A lot of people told me it would come – but I didn't think it ever actually would. It hasn't sunk in yet."

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Ellie McCallum, Forfar Academy My inspirational figure is Rebecca Adlington, she is a swimmer who swims for Nova Centurion in England. She is a freestyle swimmer and a very good long distance swimmer. Rebecca Adlington is Britain’s first Olympic swimming champion since 1988, the first British swimmer to win 2 Olympic gold medals since 1908 and Team GB’s most successful Olympic swimmer in 100 years. Rebecca is an inspiration to me because I swim as well and she is just like me. Rebecca seems like a lovely, happy person. She has won so many medals, most gold! This is such an achievement to make! When swimming is on TV for the Olympics or something I always rush to put my TV on to see her swim. Rebecca has changed the way I live because I try to aim high and set my goals like she does. She makes me think positive during or before a race, she makes me think BIG! …GO REBECCA!!

Anna Ferguson Gardenrose Primary School

“Only surround yourself with people who lift you higher” Oprah Winfrey Rebecca Adlington inspires the most because she is fearless and has won gold medals at swimming. She started swimming at the age of five and has done a huge amount of training.

“By writing my thoughts down, I have learned when I read this over, I find new things about myself” Anna Polson George Heriot’s School

Millie Lewis George Heriot’s School

“Self-belief and self-esteem are absolutely essential in helping us reach our full potential” Sir Steve Redgrave My inspirational figure is Sir Steve Redgrave. I chose him because he has not only had an incredible sporting career, but his charity work should be an inspiration to everyone. Firstly, I will mention his hugely successful Olympic rowing career. He has won 5 consecutive gold medals from the 1984 to 2000 Olympic Games, beating his own target of 3 medals by the end of his career. He has strived for excellence and has not settled for anything less. As well as winning 5 gold medals, he has on gold at the World Championships 9 times in his career as well as becoming a triple Commonwealth gold medallist. Sir Steve has also been named the BBC Golden Sports Personality of the Year 2003 and BBC Sports Personality of the Year in 2000. He has run 2 marathons and competed in a bobsleigh team, so has covered many aspects of sport. For all his great sporting achievements, Sir Steve was first awarded an MBE and then a CBE for his commitment and success in sport. Following his 5th Olympic gold medal, he was awarded a knighthood, making him a sporting legend. Sir Steve was also given an Honorary Degree by the University of Durham. Another reason why I find this man so inspiring is that not only has he given his life to his sport, but he has set up a charity that so far has raised over £5 million for under-privileged children. He is truly an inspirational sporting figure and a caring man who has shaped the face of British rowing.

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Francesca Lidgate George Heriot’s School

“The best way to prepare for life is to begin to live” Elbert Hubbard

“As I grow to understand life less and less, I learn to love it more and more” Jules Renard Oscar Pistorius was born on 22 November 1986 and is a South African Paralympic runner who competes in 100, 200 and 400 m events. He has had a double amputation and is known as the “Blade Runner” or “the fastest man on no legs”. To be able to run at these events, he uses Cheetah Flex-Foot carbon fibre transtibial artificial legs, which are made by Ossur. In 2007, he took part in an international competition for able-bodied athletes. Seeing as though he had artificial lower limbs, the judges started to question that there was an unfair advantage to him over able-bodied runners. In the same year, the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) changed their rules to ban the use of any technical device that incorporates springs, wheels or any other element that provides an advantage over another athlete. Week after week, he was monitored for his track performances and tests were being carried out. After the tests were completed, they found out that Oscar enjoyed an advantage over other athletes without prosthetic limbs. However, on 14 January 2008, the IAAF said that he was not permitted to take part in their competitions and this also included the 2008 summer Olympics, but then suddenly this decision was reversed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport saying that the IAAF had not given enough evidence to prove that Oscar had an advantage over the able-bodied athletes. Now he was able to compete in the Olympic Games held in Beijing. Oscar did not manage to get into the team for South Africa despite managing to achieve third place and a new best personal time of 46.25 in the 400 m held in Lucerne, Switzerland. However on a high note in the 2008 summer Paralympics, he managed to pick up a gold medal in the 100, 200 and 400 m sprint. I empathise with this man greatly because my father had his leg amputated, which means I understand how much hard work is involved in even being able to get to stand up on false legs, let alone run on them. I think that people need to try to understand that we are all in the same society and that you should not judge somebody on how they look. This man lived up to the Paralympic values because after being through a hard time with his double amputation, he stuck with it even though he was getting criticised and rejected by the press and sports associations. I think Oscar is really inspiring to everyone and that you should go for your dreams no matter what happens.

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Robyn Maher George Heriot’s School

“Goals are the fuel in the furnace of achievement” Brian Tracy

“When anyone tells me I can’t do anything, I’m just not listening anymore”

“Through this project I’ve learned a lot more about myself and my personality, and have actually been able to realise aspects I should work on and set myself goals.” Robyn Maher George Heriot’s School

Florence Griffith-Joyner Shun Fujimoto is a Japanese gymnast who specialised in men’s artistic acrobatics. The reason I have chosen to use him as my inspiration is because of the amazing courage and strength he demonstrated at the 1976 summer Olympics in Montreal, Canada. Fujimoto was representing Japan through the men’s gymnastic team when he suddenly severely injured his knee during the floor exercises. Yet, even with a broken knee causing him so much pain, he carried on with the competition, keeping his team mates unaware of his injury. When he performed on the pommel horse and the rings, Fujimoto performed incredibly well, picking up scores of 9.7 and 9.5. When he jumped from 8 feet in the air to the ground, he raised his arms in a perfect finish before eventually collapsing in agony, as his knee became so unbearable. By continuing on with the games, Fujimoto worsened his knee by dislocating the already broken kneecap and tearing the ligaments in his right leg. The injuries were so bad that doctors ordered him to withdraw from further competition, or potentially risk disability. But because of Fujimoto’s courage and determination to keep going, the Japanese team picked up gold medals, defeating the Soviet Union team by a narrow margin. Without Fujimoto’s performance on the pommel and rings, the Japanese team would never have won the gold, which makes his story so much more inspiring. I admire Fujimoto because he shows how when times get so painful and hard to deal with in life, if you carry on showing constant strength you can be so successful and beat whatever is blocking your way. He also gives out the message of no matter how weak or unable to perform you are, you should try to stick with it so you don’t ruin it for everyone else in your team - I’m sure his team mates were taken aback by Fujimoto’s determination to not let them or their country down. His story encourages me to stay strong and focused in life, not letting anything bring me down or get in my way and always to stay faithful and an efficient member to a team. His may not be the most famous Olympic story, but I believe he is up there with heroes such as Nadia Comaneci, Chris Hoy, Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps and many other famous Olympians, and should be given more recognition for his inspiring tale.

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Anna Polson George Heriot’s School “Don’t write your name on sand, waves will wash it away. Don’t write your name in the sky, wind may blow it away. Write your name in the hearts of people you come in touch with. That’s where it will stay.” Sir Chris Hoy in his cycling Olympic sport has great determination. He inspires me a lot because he never gives up and the support behind him is immaculate. He is not only a great person, he is very appreciative. He has worked extremely hard to get to the position he is in. What a good Scotsman he is. He has put so much time and effort into cycling, making it one of his top priorities. He trains so hard so he can achieve to his full potential. This is another reason why he inspires me. He not only won many gold medals, he got a world record, which is a remarkable achievement. He did an exceptionally fast time of 09.815 seconds. This shows how much encouragement he had behind him in the Beijing Olympics 2008. Chris Hoy has achieved and inspired so many people by amazingly getting Sports Personality of the Year 4 times! Recently he was awarded a knighthood, which is an incredible honour. I would be very proud if I was him and I hope that in the near future I will be half as good as him.

Philip Cai The Glasgow Academy

“Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever” Lance Armstrong The athlete I have chosen is Lance Armstrong, from the United States of America. He was a cyclist. He is probably most well-known for winning the “Tour de France” seven consecutive times, although he has won a number of different competitions. Other than being a cyclist, he also got testicular cancer at the age of 25. This spread to his abdomen, lungs and even his brain. The most common cure for this type of cancer is a cocktail of drugs: bleomycin, etoposide, and cisplatin. Armstrong, however, chose an alternative: etoposide, ifosfamide, and cisplatin, which is only for very important people, so as to avoid the lung toxicity associated with the drugs. This decision may have saved his cycling career and shows how committed to his career he is. He got cancer, but he still chose to carry on with what he was doing. It also shows that you should never give up. Lance could easily have given up his cycling career and retired, but instead he chose to keep going and try as hard as he could. Once I start doing a task, halfway through I often get bored, tired and start considering abandoning it. Lance Armstrong could have done this, but instead, he decided that this would be a waste of time and kept going. Normally when this type of thing happens to me, I get very annoyed, very stressed, and I usually give up. However, after reading about Lance Armstrong, I am sure that I will try to keep focused on a topic for as long as I possibly can. Because Lance made such a decision, he went on to become a very famous and very successful athlete. Maybe if I make decisions like him, I too can become successful and enjoy my life. If not, at least I know that I have tried my best, and not held back. And anyway, I’ve got nothing to lose. I don’t have to pay to work harder and I will probably be happier as well, so I might as well go for it.

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Iona Whyte Glasgow Gaelic School “Pressure is nothing more than the shadow of great opportunity” Michael Johnson Kelly Holmes started running from a young age and showed early promise. However she enjoyed many sports and became British Army judo champion at the age of 18. She used the same kind of determination to achieve her later goals as she needed at this time. She returned to running after being inspired watching the 1992 Olympic Games on television. Unfortunately, she was plagued by injuries but continued to compete despite this. She worked hard to overcome a ruptured calf in 2000 and won a bronze medal in Sydney in the 800 m. I admire Kelly's persistence and patience throughout her career, which is what gave her the perfect year at Athens in 2004. She kept a great positive mental attitude, fearless of the other younger athletes she was up against, beating the defending champion Maria Mutola. She was a late peaker and became the oldest woman to win either the 800 m or the 1500 m at the age of 34. She deserved this for the commitment she gave her dreams, which I find inspirational. She has an approachable and enthusiastic personality, which is why she campaigns the children's sport and mentors young athletes wanting to follow her career path. I also want to help others achieve their full potential.

Nikki Macdonald Golspie High School

“I now know that I can “Life is like a achieve anything I classroom – you want in life if I put never stop learning the effort in and new things” give it the right Johnny Kennedy mental attitude.” Johnny Kennedy – what an inspiration! I became aware of how not everyone's lives are easy. But everyone is brought into the world for a reason. As Johnny Kennedy said, "I came into the world for a reason, to learn to cope with frustration." He was born with Epidemolysis Bullosa (EB), and inherited connective tissue disease causing blistering skin and mucosal membranes, which leads to cancer. But that fact didn't seem to bother Johnny. He took his life as it came and made it very positive. Johnny inspires me because he doesn't make other people feel bad for him. He knew he didn't have long to live but his attitude towards death was that he wouldn't have to suffer any more and thought he was going to a better place. He had the courage to plan his own funeral and wanted people to be happy at it. Another thing that inspires me is when he was in huge pain, he just put himself into a kind, quiet, peaceful place where he could relax, and that helped. I think it's wonderful for a person with such a bad illness to put all his emotions away like this. Knowing he had only days to live, he headed down to Downing Street to raise money for his charity DEBRA. Sadly, he passed away on the way home. Everyone can learn a lesson from Johnny. You can make things positive in your life - not everything is bad. Even though he couldn't have fun, playing with friends and doing most things that children just love, he got on with life. I admire that. Johnny's mum still keeps his charity going and is just a step away from achieving her goal of raising £1 million to help those affected by the skin condition that took her son's life. The charity aims to provide respite care and vital equipment to help ease the lives of sufferers of EB and their carers. Iona Whyte Glasgow Gaelic School

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Bethan Nadin Golspie High School

“I have never met Simon but he inspired me and many others as well. I remember the day vividly as we were all astounded at what he did. He just walked up and did it. The first time a route of that grade had been on-sighted.” Andy Birtwistle (took the photo of Simon on the right) The person who has inspired me in my life is my dad, Simon Nadin. When he was 15 he discovered climbing. He loved it so much his school work didn’t matter so much and at school he used to climb on the school wall. His reputation in the climbing world goes back to the early 80s when rumours spread across the Peak to Sheffield about the fantastic Buxton stickman. When he was in his early 20s, his friends entered him for the first ever climbing World Cup. He doesn’t really like competitions and he said, “I don’t really think that competitions have any relevance on climbing whatsoever, or that anyone pays attention to them.” But he still competed in the World Cup and won that year in 1989. I asked him what he thought mentally before the different competitions and he said he didn’t get too nervous because he just knew he could do it. He didn’t have to brag about it because inside he just knew he was good. After the World Cup, he was one of only a handful of people to have climbed a desperate and committing climb called Beau Geste, which hadn’t been climbed in 4 years. He is the most modest person I have ever met. In fact, he’s so modest I probably wouldn’t know how amazing he is if it wasn’t for my mum! He isn’t really famous for his talent in the way Usain Bolt is for his talent, but he is very well known in the climbing world. I really admire his modesty; he let his climbing do the talking and he never saw climbing as training because he loves it so much. I am very proud of him for his achievements, and I myself would like to run for Scotland.

Sarah Dingwall The Gordon Schools

“Even the tallest tower got started from the ground” Chinese proverb I am going to tell you a bit about Kelly Holmes and why she is my Olympic hero. It takes a lot of dedication to get to the Olympics and it isn’t easy to train every day for something, but when you are so good at it then that would encourage you to train hard. It all pays off when you cross the finishing line first and when you receive your medals and everyone is singing your country’s anthem. I chose her as my inspirational Olympic figure as she has done really well in the Olympics, but also as she participates in television shows and also works with charities like Children in Need etc, which shows that she is willing to help people who are less fortunate than she is. Kelly is not selfish or big-headed, even though she won two gold medals and a bronze medal at the Olympic Games. She won the bronze medal at Sydney in 2000 in the 800 m and she won the two gold medals in Athens in 2004 in the 800 m and the 1500 m. Kelly Holmes also won sports personality of the year in 2004, which is a huge achievement as there are a lot of sporting heroes. This shows that if you try hard enough you can do really well in life.

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Brian Aquino Gracemount High School My inspirational figure is Manny Pacquiao a boxer from my country (Philippines) who is a seven time champion in seven weight divisions. He's one of the world's greatest boxers. He's fast, powerful, but most of all is a real champion I look up to even though I'm not a big fan of boxing. He inspires me to aim higher and to realise that with hard work, anything is possible. He used to be very poor, and when I look at how he is now, it makes me think that I could achieve my dreams if I just work hard for it. I’m a big sports fan, mostly basketball. I've always wanted to be a basketball player. When I was a kid, I played for the National Basketball Association in America. Seeing Manny and what he achieved mainly want to go for my dreams too, no matter how hard it would be. What matters is that I tried. My dream now is to pass my exams and gain qualifications I need to get university. Then I can start making my parents proud like Manny Pacquiao did.

Alexandra Clark Grove Academy “When I was 5 years old, my mother told me that happiness was the key to life.” When I went to school, they asked what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down “happy”. They told me “I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life” John Lennon

“I have learned what I need to work on in terms of achieving my goals and being a better person.” Bethan Nadin Golspie High School

One of the reasons that Eric Liddell inspires me is his refusal to give up on his faith and beliefs for the Olympics. Upon hearing that the heat for the 100 m men’s sprint at the 1924 summer Olympics was to be held on a Sunday, the Christian holy day, Liddell decided that the heat was not worth giving up his lifelong beliefs for. I think that this is very inspirational, as not going back on what you believe in is a very difficult, but an honourable thing to do. Liddell believed, as his faith told him, that Sunday should not be a day for competitions, and he refused to go back on this. However, what I think is honestly amazing about this story and Liddell’s actions are the fact that Liddell still won 2 Olympic medals! Approximately 6 months before the Olympics, he had resolved to drop out of the 100 m sprint and compete in the 400 m and 200 m races, having decided that his faith was more important than the medal. Liddell trained incredibly hard in the months before the Olympics, after dropping out of his best event because of his beliefs. He won the bronze medal for the 200 m race and the gold for the 400 m, surpassing his American rivals who were favourites to win. I think this is something that everyone can look up to as it shows that if you work hard enough, you can achieve anything, even if you are set back as Liddell was with the 100 m sprint. Aside from his amazing achievements in athletics and his absolute refusal to compromise his beliefs, there was also the fact that he dedicated his life after the Olympics to helping others, travelling to China as a missionary. He spent his time there teaching and caring for children. Although he made sure to send his wife and children home when the Japanese invaded China, he stayed there to help despite the danger. Even when he was imprisoned in a Japanese internment camp and other people were thinking only of themselves and

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their own lives, Liddell still dedicated his time to teaching children about science and his faith. He remained kind and courageous up until he died of a brain tumour, possibly contributed to by overwork, aged 43. I love the way that Liddell lived his life! The way he always tried to help others, stood up for what he believed in and worked incredibly hard to become one of the best in his sport, even winning 2 Olympic medals are enough to inspire anyone to try and better themselves. Thinking about Eric Liddell’s life inspires me to think of others more, like he did, and never compromise my morals and beliefs just to get what I want. I think if everybody took inspiration from Eric Liddell then the world would be full of kind, courageous people and would be a much better place.

Eric Liddell 1924 The Flying Scotsman

Dana Hutton Grove Academy

“Ever since I can remember I wanted to be the best at something. I really strive to do everything well. When I was eight I was given a notebook, and on the front I drew a picture of me diving and the words ‘Olympic Champion’.” Tom Daley inspires me because he has achieved so much for his age, and is the youngest member of Team GB since 1960. He has so many values and qualities that are great for a sportsman. He was bullied at school after he entered the Olympics, but he had the courage to speak up about it, which I admire a lot. When he didn't win a medal at the Beijing Olympics, he was not sad but respectful of his fellow competitors and set himself a target to win a gold medal at London 2012. This takes determination – Tom is very committed, focused and ambitious in his sport. That inspires me to go back to diving, which I gave up when I was younger.

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Before Tom dives he has to climb a ladder of qualities (excellence, respect, friendship, courage, determination and equality) to get where he wants to be – at the top. And he will keep on climbing. In the future I hope to be like him, and achieve greatness no matter what my age.

Kristie Waugh Hawick High School

“Everyone makes mistakes, only fools repeat them.” I think an inspirational figure is someone you aspire to be like, someone who picks themselves up and perseveres through all the hard things in their life. They don’t have to be famous or heroic figures, they just have to know their dreams and strive to achieve them. Somebody who does the things that they are afraid to do in order to make themselves a better person. However, my inspirational figure is a famous and heroic figure to many. The person who inspires me is Michael Phelps. When Phelps was in the 6th grade, he was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Phelps began swimming at the age of 7, partly because of the influence of his sisters, and partly to provide him with an outlet for his energy. Up until the age of 7, Phelps was terrified of the water. Michael trained with the North Baltimore Aquatic Club under his coach Bob Bowman. He began to excel as a swimmer and by the age of 10, he held a national age group record. Phelps didn’t stop there and plenty more age group records followed. When Phelps reached the age of 15 years, he became the youngest man ever to set a swimming world record beating the previous 400 m freestyle record holder Ian Thorpe of Australia. In 2008, Michael broke 7 world records and 8 Olympic records at the Olympic Games in Beijing 2010, claiming gold in all 8 of his events. Not only beating the record for the most golds won at a single Olympic Games in the pool, but beating the previous record holder Mark Spitz, by claiming the title “Best Olympian of all time”. A few weeks after creating history at Beijing, Michael Phelps had to say sorry after a British tabloid newspaper showed a picture of him appearing to smoke marijuana through a glass pipe, known as a bong, at a student party. “I engaged in behaviour which was regrettable and demonstrated bad judgement,” Phelps said. “I am 23 years old and, despite the successes I have had in the pool, I acted in a youthful and inappropriate way, not in a manner that people have come to expect from me. For this, I am sorry. I promise my fans and the public it will not happen again.” Although Phelps made a huge mistake that night and what he did that night was unforgivable to many, I still admire him. He has to deal with a lot not only has his reputation been damaged by this incident, he has also had to come to terms with the fact that one of his “friends” has sold a picture of this act to the papers! For someone to go behind your back and hurt you is bad enough, but when they try to ruin your career as well, it must be horrible, especially when you have spent years and years of your life training to get there. Even through all the bad things that have happened in Michael’s life, he has persevered and got through them. Someone that is not only hardworking and an excellent sporting hero, Michael has proved to us that he is a human being and that even legends make mistakes.

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Miriam Rodero Hyndland Secondary School

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart” Helen Keller I have chosen Eleanor Simmonds, a British Paralympic swimmer. Currently age 16, she is a true inspiration to many youngsters because of how much is achieved in such a short period of her life. She received two gold medals at the 2008 Paralympics and became BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year. I admire her firstly for making the most of her life and following her dreams, which many people suffering from achondroplasia find it hard to do. She looked towards the brighter side of life and rather than thinking about what she couldn't do, she focused on what she could do. It's her positive attitude that I admire the most and hope to learn from in order to grow as a person. She shows that everyone can achieve what they wish, no matter what their age or physical condition. All they need is perseverance, a positive attitude, hard work and fearlessness.

Shahrukh Khan Hyndland Secondary School

“To do more than the world has done for you, that is success.” Amir Khan is a British boxer of Pakistani origin, who currently holds the title of WBA world super lightweight champion. Khan won the belt at the young age of 22, making him Britain's third youngest world champion after Naseem Hamed and Herbie Hide. He is commonly known by the nickname is "King Khan" and "Pride of Bolton". The reason I chose him as my inspirational figure is because he became the youngest British Olympic boxing medallist in Athens in 2004, which led to a professional boxing career. He is an active charity ambassador and a role model for my generation of British Asians. Khan turned professional in 2005. In September 2008 he came up against Breidis Prescott, who had an outstanding knockout record of 17 in 19 contests. Khan was a huge favourite and was hoping to win a world title by the end of the year. Unfortunately, Prescott came out fast in the fight and landed some powerful shots; Khan was knocked out and couldn't beat the count. It was officially over in 54 seconds. The fight was Khan's Sky box office debut and was held at the Manchester Evening News Arena. Despite this minor setback, Khan was not disheartened and went on to defeat every opponent he was faced with in the ring to this present day. His boxing record to date is 25 fights in total, with only one loss. To conclude, Khan is my inspiration as he embodies the idea that you can be a success no matter what your background is. All you need is determination and drive. He is also proven himself to be a generous person, as he has held various charities and has even donated million pounds of his own money to the Gloves Community Centre and boxing gym in Bolton in order to help get underprivileged youths off the street. I myself want to be someone who people aspire to be, an inspirational figure who can encourage others to be the best they can be by setting an example.

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“Thanks to this project I now have a deeper understanding of what values and qualities I have as an individual. The selfassessment has also allowed me to see what I need to work on in order to achieve my goals.” Shahrukh Khan Hyndland Secondary School


Brogan Bowie Inverurie Academy

“What doesn't kill you makes you stronger” Sarah Storey Sarah Storey is the Paralympian I picked my inspiration, because she tries so hard. To me, Sarah is an inspiration for anyone even if they aren't involved in sport. She has never let her disability of having only one hand get in the way of her ambitions. She is the kind of person who never gives up on their dreams, and if obstacles get in the way, you just have to deal with them. She seems to have all the qualities required to get through life. She seems very nice, smiley and not overconfident, happy with anything good in life. She's won so many awards in both swimming and cycling and I think that, even though I'm not interested in sport myself, I could follow her attitude to life and do what she did - follow my dreams, no matter what.

Danielle Jade Robertson Inverurie Academy

“Be a good animal, be true to your instincts” D H Lawrence

“I have learned that you can be a good person with whichever qualities you have.” Danielle Jade Robertson Inverurie Academy

Jane Sowerby is a Paralympian. Growing up, Jane was always lively and competitive until she had an accident which changed her life in 2003, when she broke her back leaving her completely paralysed from the waist down. She was initially in shock, but with incredible support and consideration from her friends and family, Jane quickly realised that sitting around feeling sorry for yourself is no fun; she had to find something to compensate for the things she’d lost. So she began to look for a new sport that she’d enjoy doing in her condition. Jane took a trip with the Back-Up Trust to try disabled skiing and was instantly hooked. She said the feeling of leaving her wheelchair behind and hitting the slopes was indescribable! At the time she had a great job working for MTV, but after much deliberation, she decided to leave her job to focus on becoming a ski racer. The Back-Up Trust taught Jane how to mono-ski. After 3 years of dedication, her passion for skiing intensified and she had decided that her future lay in skiing for Great Britain. In November 2006, she attended a BDST assessment and camp which took confidence to do. She showed instant skill and ability and was selected to join the Development Squad for the British Disabled Ski Team. From then on, she disciplined herself and trained as hard as she could to become “race fit” for the new competitive ski season that started in December 2007. She was so committed that her first year was a success with 6 podium finishes and over all Female British Champion. She is incredibly passionate about the sport, she has proven that she can go all the way and succeed whether you are an Olympian, Paralympian or just a regular person. Jane Sowerby is an inspiration to me because she coped through a hard time in her life when she had her accident,

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but she had the courage to understand that she can’t just do nothing with her life, so she decided she would take up a new suitable hobby for her condition. She had the determination and excellence inside herself to become the overall Female British Champion after all her hard work and respect towards those who helped her and to herself.

Louise O’Rourke Inverurie Academy

“If something isn’t impossible, there is a way to do it” Sir Nicolas Winton, the Bri sh Schindler My inspiration is Lance Armstrong. He has won 7 Tour de France races and was ranked number one cyclist in the 1990s. At the height of his career, Lance was diagnosed with testicular cancer. I find his ambitious way of thinking amazing, as he was told he had one year to live, yet continued to cycle and beat the doctor’s predictions. He is inspiring to me because within months of his diagnosis, he founded the Lance Armstrong Foundation to help and support others going through the same as him. I would love to be as fearless as Lance – his fearless attitude towards cancer is amazing. Since recovering, he deems himself not as a cancer victim, but a cancer survivor. His positive outlook on life inspires me to have the same outlook. Since recovering, Lance has won every sports award available, due to his admirable, hard working nature. Lance also founded the LIVESTRONG Foundation. This “I think I have learned charity supports cancer survivors. He produced yellow gel wristbands that what kind of person I sported the words LIVESTRONG and to this day, he has raised over 55 million dollars. I wear a LIVESTRONG band to show I support the want to be as I go charity, but also to show I support Lance’s positive, hardworking and through my life. I have ambitious attitude to life.

Ashley Woodcock Ysgol John Bright

“If you run you stand a chance of losing, but if you don’t run you’ve already lost” Barack Obama

“A quitter never wins and a winner never quits” Napoleon Hill My inspirational figure is Tommie Smith, who won the 200 m at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. When he was awarded his medal, he raised a black gloved fist into the air, creating one of the most highly politicised images of the Olympics. In his autobiography, Smith reflected on how this 'silent gesture' redefined him not only as a runner but also a leader in the civil rights movement and beyond. I admire the courage of this gesture. I would like to be respected and admired as much as Tommie but in order to do that I must focus on my goals, believe in success, never give in and be myself.

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never really thought about this in so much depth, and I think it’s encouraged me to live my life with qualities that I think are important.” Brogan Bowie Inverurie Academy


Stephanie Barron Kemnay Academy

“You become strong by defying defeat and by turning loss into gain and failure into success” Napoleon My inspirational person is Paula Radcliffe. Paula was born on 17 December 1973 in Davenham, England. This makes her currently 37 years old. Despite having asthma and anaemia, she took up running when she was just 7 years old. She was influenced by her father who was an amateur marathon runner. Paula started off running by competing in cross-country events. She then started to compete in more high class events such as the world championships at the young age of 19. Unfortunately, Paula suffered a foot injury in 1994, which meant she would have to miss all her running until recovery. In 1995 she started her career again and this is one of the reasons she inspires me because she never gives up even though her injury slowed her down. When Paula started up again she was better than ever. Another reason why she inspires me is because she always improves the more she tries and she sticks to her tactics for running. Her biggest success in her career was when she set a world record at the London Marathon. She showed that even though the marathon is tough (when you have to run approximately 26 miles) there is still a chance and anyone can tackle it. She also won a gold medal in marathon running (her highest point in running) at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. Paula had her first child in 2006. Then after two years she carried on with her marathon running despite her young child. The reason Paula Radcliffe inspires me is because she is successful in something she loves (running). She does not give up and she always tries to improve her racing times. I think she is a good inspirational figure because she shows others that you can achieve something in life by being determined and persistent.

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Jo Macintosh Keith Grammar School I find Derek Redmond inspiring, because when he was running for the semi-finals his hamstring snapped, which caused him to stop. But he never gave up and still went on to reach the finishing line. He was devastated that he couldn't keep going because the injury was serious - he has had 13 operations and missed quite a few championships. However he believed in what he was doing and has turned into a very good coach himself.

Billie McGregor Kinross High School

“I do believe I can back it up”

“I have learned that I am a good person inside and out, I have achieved my goals throughout the project.” Jo Macintosh Keith Grammar School

Shane Watson My sporting hero is the Australian cricketer Shane Watson because he is dedicated to the game and never gave up in spite of his many injuries. He is one of the most famous cricketers in the world as a medium-fast bowler and right-handed batsmen. He started his first class cricketing career with the Tasmanian Tigers before going back to his native Queensland. Shane also played for Hampshire in the English County Championships. He played 27 tests, scoring 1953 runs with an average of 41.55. He also took 43 wickets with an average of 31.41 and caught 27 catches. His last match was the fifth Test in 2010 against England in Sydney, and he was awarded the 2010 Allan Border Medal for his lifetime achievements.

Clodagh Beattie Kirkcudbright Academy

“Before any wonderful and long-lasting changes can take place in your life, you have to accept just that: this is your life. It is your responsibility. The buck stops with you. This might seem tough but it's also liberating” Sally Gunnell My inspirational figure is Sally Gunnell, whose peak Olympic years were between 1988 and 1996. During this period she set six world records in three different events and was also Olympic champion in the 400 m hurdles in Barcelona 1992. Sally is a great role model as she consistently demonstrates the traits of motivation, dedication, self belief and confidence. She is also a motivational speaker, and one of her quotes is that winning is 30% physical and 70% mental. I myself want to be someone who doesn't follow the crowd, and who stands up for what they believe in. I want to be good at working in a team and contribute to other people in my job in later life, perhaps as a doctor, missionary or teacher.

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Callie Herd Kirkland Community High School

“It is my on-going commitment to create life chances for the young people.” The person I have chosen for inspiration is Dame Kelly Holmes because she made history at the Athens Olympics in 2004 by winning the 1500 m and 800 m gold medals. She became the first Briton in 84 years to achieve the Olympic middle distance double. I admire her because now she does a lot of charity work and has her own charity called The DKH Legacy Trust. She wants to use her skills and experience to make a difference to others. She set up her Trust in January 2008 and it is her mission to inspire young people and unlock life chances for them by improving their skills, knowledge and self-belief. They do this through support and mentoring projects with sporting champions. They have recruited a whole host of top sports performers who are working with young people in projects up and down the country and also helping them further develop their career in sports.

Daisy Melnyczuk Sgoil Lionacleit “I have learned what values are important in life and what I need to improve on. It made me think about myself and my future.” Laura Halliday Mary Erskine School

“As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same” Nelson Mandela

Thomas “Tom” Robert Daley (born 21 May 1994, Plymouth in England) is an English diver, who is in the 10 m platform event. He is an inspiration to me because he started diving at the age of 7 and is now an amazing FINA world champion diver; he’s now only 17! I admire him because he used to be bullied in his old school and his bullies used to bully him about who he was, but now look where he is – a world champion! I think that he does have ideals, values and characteristics that I would like to live up to, like being involved in places that he has used in the past, that have helped him, like Childline; he is now a very good celebrity supporter because they helped him when he was bullied. Back when he was younger, he didn’t have many friends and I suppose that they thought he would never be where he is now, so I think that he would have wanted to be a famous Olympic diver and prove those mean people in his past wrong; I think he’s achieved it with lots of practice and support from his family and friends.

Rachel MacIsaac Sgoil Lionacleit “It's not how much you do, but how much love you put into the doing” Mother Teresa Ellie Simmonds has inspired me as she has achieved so much even though she has achondroplasia. She is a British Paralympics freestyle swimmer from Birmingham and won two gold medals at the Paralympics engaging at the age of only 13. At the world Championships in Eindhoven in the won four gold medals and set three world records. She has received 20 gold medals in all. She doesn't let things bother her when she swims, and she also has to keep up-to-date with her GCSEs. She said that she is on grade E, but is working hard to get

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up to a C. She trains very hard every day, which is how she has achieved success. She has good coaches to keep her going and a good diet which she keeps going herself in and out of school!

Liam Porter Lomond School

“If you don't try to win, you might as well hold the Olympics in somebody's backyard” Jesse Owens Jesse Owens lives up to the Olympic values because he showed determination and courage during the Berlin games 1936, which enabled him to win four gold medals. He is inspiring because he went to Berlin at a time of great racial prejudice. I admire his values of teamwork, excellence and perseverance, and he achieved his success through hard work and giving 110%.

Laura Halliday Mary Erskine School

“Obstacles can’t stop you. Problems can’t stop you. Most of all, other people can’t stop you. Only you can stop you” Confucius The inspirational figure that I have chosen is Bethany Hamilton. She was born in February 1990 in Hawaii and has a great passion for surfing. She started surfing at the age of 3 or 4, and started competing from the age of 8 years old. She became an extremely talented surfer and her love for surfing grew. By 2003, she was ranked 8th in the world for amateur surfers at the age of 13. However, on 31 October 2003, on an early morning surf with her friend, Bethany Hamilton was viciously attacked by a shark. Her left arm was so badly hurt, it had to be amputated.

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I find Bethany Hamilton inspiring, as she never gave up on her dream of being a professional surfer, no matter how many setbacks she had. Bethany lost 60% of her blood and had to go through multiple surgeries, but, amazingly, just one month after the attack, she was back in the water on her sur oard again. I find her inspiring, as she never dwelled on what had happened to her, but, instead, overcame it. She never questioned, why me? And she believes she recovered so quickly due to her faith and belief in God. She tried to go back to normality quickly and she didn’t hold back in entering competitions after her attack. She entered her first one in January 2004 and she excelled in competitions again. She won her first national title just one year after her ordeal. I find her inspiring as she always had her final goal in mind – becoming a professional surfer – and she didn’t let anything stop her. In 2007, her dream became a reality and she became a professional surfer, however, that has not been the end of her dreams as once she has achieved one, she embarks on achieving more. She now wants to be inspirational and give hope to those who have been in situations like hers. She also wrote an autobiography, which has been seen as a highly inspirational story to everyone. She also competed in the USA and Hawaii surf team. Her selflessness is a characteristic that thousands admire; Bethany Hamilton has definitely shown this. She has never dwelled on what happened to her and she always puts others before herself. She has now set up a foundation to support shark attack survivors and amputees; she hopes to help them by using her inspirational story. Determination has been a big part of Bethany Hamilton’s life and many followers, who have read her story or heard it, would aspire to have determination like hers. Bethany Hamilton used determination to make her dream a reality. She has also used determination to get back on the waves after her traumatic attack. She also used inspiration from others to get through her ordeal and her main one was Jesus. She has achieved success by persistence and never letting her dream fade. She has achieved her success by overcoming balance issues and learning new techniques on the sur oard to make it easier for her due to the loss of her left arm. Bethany Hamilton has used trust in God and courage to go back to the waves even after such a horrendous attack. She has never let herself feel any different to her friends due to her disability and lives life to the full.

Kerri McIver Deans Community High School

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself” Theodore Roosevelt Ellie Simmonds is my inspirational figure as she won gold medals at the Paralympics in Beijing when she was only 13. She now trains that the Swansea High Performance Centre and is working to defend her two titles in the 2012 games. She's inspirational because she still put a lot of effort into her training in spite of her disability. She is not that this interfere with her dreams and she just gets on with life.

Kayleigh Jessica Alaszewski Portlethen Academy

“I have learned about a true sporting great. I have achieved the determination to be as inspiring as him.” Cameron Chris e Portlethen Academy

“So often times it happens that we live our lives in chains. And we never know we have the key.” On 27 April 1969, Darcey Andrea Bussell was born. Right from a young age, she would always love taking part in sports whether it was a game of football with the boys or competing in swimming competitions. At the age of thirteen, this Londoner realised she had a talent and passion for dancing so grabbed the chance to audition for the Royal Ballet School. Her potential shone in the eyes of the judges and she was given one of the 8 places to board and attend at this school situated in her city. However, when Darcey arrived, she soon discovered almost all of the other girls had attended the school for a long period of 3 years. This meant Darcey was behind in the technique the school was looking for. She was pushed to the back of the class

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almost every lesson and was made to feel like she was nothing. Older students would look through the window and laugh at her. The teachers were far from supportive and would shout at her until tears were rolling down her cheeks. But she was determined to do well and she got stronger every day, both mentally and physically. After dance or school class she would stay behind and keep practising ballet while the other girls would lounge about and rest up. She felt like giving up and going home where she knew she would get the support of her family, but she had to prove to herself and others she could do it, she could make it as something big! Only 3 years later in the year of 1985, she was accepted to attend the Royal Ballet’s Upper School programme. It was here she really fulfilled her potential and was given solo parts in performances! She even got to take a dance lesson with the wonderful and famous Rudolf Nureyev! As time went by she attended a different school today known as Birmingham Royal Ballet before being invited back to the Royal Ballet School where she was given the role of soloist. She was then quickly promoted to first soloist and after a phenomenal performance she was promoted again to the highest possible role of principal. This was a huge and very rare achievement because she was only 19 years old! Darcey then led on to becoming a very famous and inspiring ballet dancer who was voted the nation’s favourite ballerina. I was eager to write about Darcey Bussell’s life because dancing is my passion too and I would love to take it up as a future career. I am 13 years old and was anxious when I read that Darcey was behind the other girls at my age when she went to a professional dance school. I can only imagine how she must have felt while she was bullied and fought to catch up with the other girls. I know I would find that hard, but knowing she had the determination and strength to pull through gives me hope. I am aware there is a lot of jealousy and competition at a dance school, but look at how big Darcey Bussell has become! After finding out more about her, it has made me even more determined to make it to the next level through dance. And I would know that it is possible to achieve your goals, you just can’t let other people stand in your way!

Cameron Christie Portlethen Academy “Champions aren’t made in the gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them – a desire, a dream, a vision” Muhammad Ali Severiano “Seve” Ballesteros is my sporting inspiration. He is considered by many to be the best golfer of all time. Seve was born on 9 April 1957 in Cantabria, Spain. He learned how to play golf at the nearby beaches when he was supposed to be at school. He mainly played with a 3 iron his brother gave him. Seve isn’t the only one from his family who is a gifted golfer. His uncle Ramon Sota, 4 times Spanish champion, and Manuel Ballesteros, his brother, was one of the top 100 golfers in the world between 1972 and 1983. Manuel later went on to be Seve’s manager. His brothers Vincente and Baldomero were professional golfers along with his nephew Raul.

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Severiano won 50 European Tours, the most of all time, 9 PGA Tours and won the Japan Golf Tour 6 times. He also won The Open three times and the US Masters twice. He has also taken part and won many Ryder Cups and captained a winning side in 1997. He was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1999. Since then he has suffered a brain tumour of which he had to have surgery for. He was diagnosed on 12 August 2008 in Madrid. The surgery took 6½ hours to complete and was successful. He had a rehabilitation course in hospital before he was discharged on 9 December. In June 2009, he made his first public appearance since the surgery and said it was a miracle he was still alive and thanked everyone who helped him through surgery and rehabilitation. In 2009, he received the BBC Sport Personality Lifetime Achievement which was presented to him by former Ryder Cup team mate José María Olazábal. This is one of the only pieces of TV that has brought a tear to my eye. Severiano Ballesteros is my inspiration as he is a great golfer and a great man. Most sports people are big headed and gloat about what they have, but not Seve, he was a great person and I would have loved to meet him, but sadly he just died. To me Seve is definitely one of the greatest sports people that have ever lived.

Matthew Lai Radyr Comprehensive “I’ve got 4 or 5 months before the next Slam. I need to get physically stronger, improve my game and then I’ll give myself the chance to beat him” Andy Murray I admire Colin Jackson because of his achievements that he has won for his country. He is Welsh, like me, and has competed in competitions like I did at my age. I would like to become like him and achieve the

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amazing things that he has trained for. I respect him and try to live up to his standards, not just because of his medals or speed, but his friendly and nice attitude towards people, the way that he respects others and, therefore, is treated the same way. Over his career representing Great Britain and Wales, he won an Olympic silver medal, became world champion 3 times, went undefeated at the European championships for 12 years and was a 2 time Commonwealth champion. His world record of 12.91 seconds for the 110 m hurdles stood over a decade, and he remains the 60 m hurdles world record holder.

Bethan Taylor Radyr Comprehensive School

“How far is far, how high is high? We'll never know until we try.” I find Leon Taylor inspiring because he won the first British synchronised diving medal for 44 years with his partner Pete Waterfield. He is one of a handful of divers capable of performing the hardest dive in the world, which is a backward two and half somersault with 2 1/2 twists piked. He invented this incredible dive in 1988. I think Leon Taylor has achieved fame and success because of his passion and commitment for diving. He has also been helped by his motivation, enthusiasm and confidence, training every day. I'm inspired by what he is done but also by his characteristics that I would like to live up to - perseverance, patience, cooperative skills and commitment.

Christy Farrell Ross High School

“When you cross the line, it is such a wonderful feeling it’s hard to describe” Dame Kelly Holmes

“I have learned more about my qualities and reflected on my values.”

Dame Kelly Holmes is a retired British middle distance athlete. She specialised in the 800 and 1500 m events. She has won 4 gold medals, 5 silver medals and 3 bronze medals in her career. She was born on 19 April 1970 at Pembury in Kent. She has 3 brothers; Kevin, Stuart and Danny and 2 sisters; Lisa and Penny. She started running when she was 12 years old after being encouraged by her school PE teacher. Holmes then Christy Farrell joined the British Army, but she continued to compete at Ross High School the organisation’s athletic events. She then turned to professional athletics circuit in the early 1990s. In 1994, she won the 1500 m at the Commonwealth Games. Her interests outside sport are all related to sport. She also takes an interest in interior design and taking on new challenges. In 2004, Holmes set a new British record for 1500 m at 3m57.9sec. The awards she has won since the 2004 Olympic Games include: Dame Commander of the British Empire, BBC Sports Personality of the Year and European Female Athlete of the Year. On 6 December 2005, Holmes announced her retirement from athletics after a death of a close friend. I think Dame Kelly Holmes is a role model for me because she is strong-willed and ambitious.

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Abby McConnell Ross High School “Every day, in every way, I’m getting better and better” Emile Coué Lee McConnell was born 9 October 1978, which makes her 32. She is a Scottish athlete who competes in the 400 m. She attended Holyrood RC Secondary School in Glasgow before graduating from Loughborough University in 2000 with a degree in sports science. She became the Scottish 200 m champion in 2003 and 2005. She also won the 400 m in 2001. In 2002, she won the AAAs 400 m championship. She has also won an individual bronze medal at the 2002 European championships, then added a Commonwealth silver in the 400 m in that same season. Her personal best time for 400 m is 50.82 s. She was originally a high jumper before turning to her current event and the 400 m hurdles. After 2007, McConnell decided to give up hurdling as her transition from the flat had not been as successful as she intended and she has, therefore, returned her focus to the 400 m flat. It was revealed in August that McConnell will be the face of the BT phonebook across Scotland. Lee McConnell is an inspirational person to me because she does well in every race. She is always in placing 1st, 2nd or 3rd and is Scottish, so represents Scotland; she has the same last name as me!

Rachael Lamond St Columba’s School

“We all have dreams. But in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline and effort” .

Jesse Owens

“I have learned more about what I aspire to do when I get older and how hard you have to work to get where you want to be in life.” Rachael Lamond St Columba’s School

For my Olympic hero, I have chosen James Cleveland Owens, who is more famously known as Jesse Owens or JC. Jesse competed in the Berlin Olympics in 1936. He was the first American in Olympic track and field history to win four gold medals. Owens first began running in Junior High School during track practice. Apparently, the coach was so amazed at the time on the stopwatch, he checked to see if it was broken! His athletic performance continued throughout High School and University. Jesse attended Ohio State University and broke three track records. After many years of training, he travelled to Berlin for the 1936 Olympics. Adolf Hitler was using these games to show the world how strong Nazi Germany was. During these Olympics, Owens surprised many by winning four gold medals. However, Hitler was not pleased. He said with a shrug, “Their physiques were stronger than those of civilised whites and hence should be excluded from future games.” These comments and the discrimination against Owens did not hold him back, however. He had talent and had trained almost all of his life for these moments. He didn’t let other people’s opinions stop him from achieving his goal. This is an important quality because even though people were against him and even discriminated against him, he still tried his hardest, and ended up succeeding.

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Katie McLean St Columba’s School The faster they go, the higher they get, and the higher they get, the stronger they become. Track cyclists are the very definition of the Olympic values. Though there are many of them who have tried, and failed, at the Olympic Games, I think there is one who stands out. He was not victorious, finishing in 8th place in Beijing 2008 and, therefore, I do not admire him for victory, I admire him for how he got there. Growing up in the Isle of Man, Mark Cavendish (aka Cav), would have struggled with any hopes of becoming a track cyclist to begin with because there are no tracks on the island, but had always wanted to be a cyclist. He started off going to mountain biking races with his friends at age 10. He won his first gold medal on the day after his 13th birthday, when he replaced his BMX for a real mountain bike. But this was not enough for Cav. He was dreaming of bigger things, wanting to be a track and road cyclist, and achieve his ultimate aim, the Tour de France. So Mark Cavendish did something inspiring. After receiving a track bike for his birthday at age 14, every weekend he would collapse his bike, get on the ferry to the mainland, get on a train and then travel on two buses on his own to the Manchester track, where he trained hard; soon after this, his career as a cyclist began. The British Track Team picked up Cav just before he was 16, and he became a world track champion as a teenager. He represented Britain at many world cycling events in the Madison race, and won gold at the 2006 Commonwealth games in the scratch race for the Isle of Man. In 2008, he was entered into the Olympics, with friend and champion Bradley Wiggins, in the Madison team event. However, it was one of his worst ever races, and, probably because of this, Cav has stopped track racing, and has found comfort on the road. He has now achieved his biggest dream, winning 15 stages of the Tour de France and 5 of the Giro d’Italia for the HTC Columbia team. So his victories mean nothing to me. It is his sheer and utter determination to get to where he wanted to be, which makes him my one and only sporting hero.

Meera Patel St Columba’s School

“The first rule of sailing is, you see someone in trouble, you help them” Lawrence Lemieux Lawrence Lemieux had a choice, but at the same time, he had no choice at all. Lemieux is a Canadian sailor who competed in the 1988 summer Olympics in South Korea. On September 24, the sailing competition was underway at Pusa. Suddenly it became very windy, escalating from 10-15 knots to 35 knots. Joseph Chan and Saw Her Siew, sailors from the Singapore team in a separate race were thrown overboard, and they couldn’t get back to their boat as it was capsized and the strong current was carrying them further away. Lemieux was sailing alone near the halfway point of his race, and he was in 2nd place. Upon seeing the capsized crew in the

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distance, he broke away from the race and sailed to rescue them, this wasn’t easy; for one thing, the wind was going in the opposite direction of the current, which caused four metre waves to break. For another thing, he had to abandon his boat as he jumped in to rescue Chan and Her Siew. This meant his own boat started taking on some water. After he pulled them both on board he waited for, and transferred them both onto an official patrol boat. Then he finished his race 22nd. Had Lemieux not done what he did, Chan would probably have drowned along with Her Siew. Lawrence said, “I could have won gold, but in the same circumstances I would do what I did again.” Soon after the race, the International Yacht Racing Union unanimously decided that Lemieux should be awarded the silver medal he would have received had he continued the race. The President of the International Olympic Committee awarded him the Pierre de Coubertin Medal for Sportsmanship too. “By your sportsmanship, self-sacrifice and courage,” the President said, “You embody all that is right with the Olympic ideal.” He should be proud to call himself a hero, he risked an Olympic medal to save two complete strangers. He’s the perfect role model.

Kirsty Bain St George’s School for Girls

“Experience is the name every one gives to their mistakes” Oscar Wilde

“Taking part in this project has taught me self-reflection.”

Alexander Popov is from the Russian Federation. He inspired me by having such determination, as he started swimming from the age of 8. At that point he was scared of water, but he overcame his fear, which to me is very brave. He has also won so many Olympic medals and does really well in his chosen sport of swimming. He moved all the way from Russia to Australia for his coach, which to me is inspiring as it shows he pulls out all the stops and takes his swimming very seriously. Popov won the men’s 50 m and 100 m freestyle in the Barcelona Olympics in 1992. He repeated his achievement in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and became the first man to do so since Johnny “Tarzan” Weissmuller, which is an outstanding achievement. All this shows to me a true athlete that overcame his fear and is now very famous for doing what he does! Alexander presented Touretski with his 1996 Olympic gold medals from the 100 m freestyle, which is very impressive and inspiring to young swimmers. He lives up to Olympic values as he has won many medals; he is also respectful, achieves excellence and understands people despite their differences - this shows true friendship. Alexander got into International Olympic Committee. I think Alexander has achieved all his success as his dad pushed him to carry on and get over his fear of water. From then on all his sheer determination and effort led him to who he is today, a worldwide swimming champion!

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Lasya Karthikeyan St George’s School

“I went out to show the world I wasn’t just a boy with big ears” Michael Phelps I’ve never exactly been very sporty. Never exactly jumped for joy when my sports teacher mentions sports day. Never properly enjoyed running around the frost dusted hockey pitch at 9 am. So I’ve always been just a little bit nervous of those incredibly sporty people who always have loads of energy (even first thing on a Monday morning! Wow!) and just generally make sport look so easy. One sportsperson I really admire is Michael Phelps, an Olympic swimmer who, over the years has won many gold medals. The reason I especially admire him is because of his difficult childhood. Phelps had a medical condition that meant he had a very short attention span (ADHD), and his teachers have even told his mother that “He will never succeed”. He worked so hard on school and on swimming despite his medical problem. Phelps was also bullied because he was so gangly looking and also because he had big ears and a lisp. Dealing with bullying was never easy and Phelps coped so well. His home life wasn’t perfect either. His parents divorced and he lived with his mother and his two sisters. His sisters were both accomplished swimmers and they encouraged him to swim as well. So Phelps started to swim. He enjoyed it and it helped him release his pent-up energy, and from the start he began to excel his peers. A quality of his I really admire is that he believed in himself and kept his self-esteem up, even through all of the bullying. He didn’t let anything anyone said or use his parents’ divorce as an excuse to stop him excelling at swimming. I think this shows incredible courage, going through all this - I would certainly have broken down. I also admire him for being so focused on swimming and being so tolerant with the bullies. Most kids would have just fought back, but Phelps simply stayed calm. Phelps is also extremely determined, trying to get a better PB (personal best) and being positive. I think an Olympic value I really need to follow is being more forgiving and also more tolerant, as I always take a while to forgive someone. Even though I almost always say you’re forgiven, mentally, it takes me a lot longer. Phelps has succeeded through struggle, and he really went out to show the world he was a champion.

Alexander MacLaren St Mary’s Music School

“The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential.... These are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence” Eddie Robinson This is the closest I think I've ever got to the way my personality operates in a nutshell. I have huge belief in this approach to life, and I think I become more in touch with my urge to reach my full potential every day. I'm inspired by many different people for different reasons and would like to be a combination of these people including my parents, James Watt and Sir Chris Hoy. Both my parents are university educated, and both are intelligent, interesting, kind, loving and generous people. James Watt may seem familiar and not particularly inspiring name but I'm fascinated by his determination and genius in science. He succeeded in many different projects that turned out to be hugely successful, despite them not immediately working out. He is most famous for his reconfiguration of the design of the steam engine, which at the time was hugely inefficient. Not only did he succeed in rectifying this, but he revised the design to such a level that today he is mistakenly

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credited with having invented it! I find his influence and determination inspiring, but also his ability to make lasting and successful partnerships, such as that with John Boulton, which was the basis of his success. I also admire Sir Chris Hoy, partly because he is a successful sportsman who is determined and prepared to work for his success. He has a BSc in Applied Sports Science as well as three Olympic gold medals and two honorary doctorates. Although I'm not a particularly sporty person, I can take the qualities required in sport: determination, perseverance and desire to be successful (as well as talent, which is different, but inspirational nonetheless) and apply it to my work. The final quality which I see in Chris Hoy and would like to improve in myself is his intense ability to focus on what he wants and persevere until he gets it, without letting this translate into fierce competitiveness. I find his ability to sound relaxed about defeat - in spite of his hard work - an admirable characteristic, and I can certainly learn from this.

Michelle Glancy St Mun’s Primary School “After Sydney I said I wasn't going to run another race for Jamaica because I felt like the Jamaicans were trying to push me out of the sport, and I really needed to prove my point. I might be 40, but I can still run.” Merlene Ottey-Page is an inspiration to a lot of people including myself because she never won a gold medal until the World Championships 1995, making her the oldest ever female gold medallist at the age of 35. This showed that the matter what age you are, you can achieve any goal in life if you believe in yourself and put your mind to it. Throughout her career, she has won nine Olympic medals, the most by any woman in track and field history. In 1999, during a meeting in Lucerne, Merlene was declared guilty of using a banned anabolic steroid and was barred from competing in the World Championships in Spain. She was determined to clear her name and in the summer of 2000 all the charges by the IAAF and the Jamaican Amateur Athletic Association were dropped and the laboratory that tested her sample came under severe criticism. This incident shows that no matter what people put against your name, you can turn it around if you fight for yourself.

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Courtney Whyte St Rochs Secondary School

“I told you all I was going to be number 1 and I did just that” Usain Bolt Usain Bolt is an Olympic world champion. Bolt is a famous Jamaican 100 m track sprinter. He holds the 100 m world record at 9.58 seconds. I find Usain Bolt inspiring because he always tries his hardest and never gives up. He has self-belief, motivation and determination. I would like to become famous by playing women’s football. I think Usain Bolt has become successful because he was always inspired to run since he was a young age by his primary school teacher. I think it has been hard for Usain Bolt to get where he is because he came from such a poor family and country. I am inspired by the belief Usain has in his ability. This inspires me to achieve my dream of playing for Glasgow Celtic Ladies Team.

Euan Campbell Stewart’s Melville College “Sure, it was desperate and fraught at the end, but we never doubted we would win. It has been 4 years of hard work. It was close, but that doesn’t matter. Second best is not good enough; it’s who crosses the line first.” The athlete I have chosen as my inspirational figure is 5 times Olympic British rowing gold medallist, Sir Steve Redgrave. Sir Steve was born on 23 March 1962 and has never stopped working for a cause. He grew up in Buckinghamshire and went to school at a state secondary comprehensive school in Marlow. At the start of his career, Sir Steve set out to win 3 gold medals, but ended up winning 5 gold medals in 5 consecutive Olympic Games. After an exhausting race in Atlanta, Sir Steve Redgrave said to the British audience, “If you ever see me in a boat, you have permission to shoot me.” He said these famous words after winning his 4th Olympic medal. Since completing his professional rowing career in 2000, he has raised large amounts of money for charity. One of the things I find inspirational about him is that although he was diagnosed with diabetes and sustaining several injuries during his training for the Olympic Games in Sydney in 2000, he persevered and claimed the 5th for his collection. One of the most recent activities Sir Steve has helped in is the preparation for London 2012. Sir Steve, since retiring as Britain’s most successful Olympian with 5 gold medals, has raised an amazing total of over £5 million for charity. Other fund raising challenges he has done include racing across America by bike and running in the London Marathon. The large amounts of money raised by Sir Steve has gone to The Steve Redgrave Fund and for Sport Relief. The Steve Redgrave Fund’s main aim is to use sport to bring happiness into the lives of disadvantaged children, young people and their communities. The Steve Redgrave Fund supports schools and community groups in areas of economic or socially troubled situations, mostly in Great Britain. The fund uses sport to encourage physical and emotional health. Even though I don’t have any interests in rowing, I find Sir Steve Redgrave’s story inspirational because even after he retired from competing Euan Campbell professionally, he continued to help and inspire people with his Stewart’s Melville College charity work. His story of conquering illnesses and injuries is an inspiration for any sportsman or woman.

“I have learned a lot about myself, which I otherwise wouldn’t have discovered.”

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Armin Eggerstedt Stewart’s Melville College “You are never really playing an opponent. You are playing yourself, your own highest standards, and when you reach your limit, that is real joy” Arthur Ashe Many were astounded. People did not expect a tropical paradise island to know enough about bobsled, let alone to field a team and compete. Jamaica’s entry into the Winter Olympics started with the idea of two Americans who decided to make good use of the island’s sprinting talents. The two Americans turned their attention to the Jamaican Defence Force. The first 4 members of the Jamaican bobsled team were Devon Harris, Dudley Stokes, Michael White (all from the Jamaican Defence Force) and Samuel Clayton (a railway engineer). The bobsled team were selected in September 1987 and did their initial training in Jamaica, practising the push start on a flat concrete surface on the military base in Kingston using a makeshift sled. From there they went to Calgary, Canada, where they went down a bobsled track for the first time. In the first games in 1988, the team were seen as a novelty, as they had technical difficulties, injuries and crashes. In the Olympic Games in 1992, the team were ready. They had practised hard for 4 years and were confident and focused. The four-man team came in an amazing 14th, ahead of the United States, French, Russian and Italian teams! However, this was just the beginning. In the two-man event, the Jamaican team shocked the world by beating the Swedish national champions on their way to a 10th place finish. The team continued to improve and in 2000, they took gold at the World Push Championships in Monte Carlo in 3 events, and at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City, they posted the fastest start time at the World Cup. There has even been a popular Walt Disney movie made about it; Cool Runnings, which was released in 1993. This first Jamaican bobsled team has not only created a new interest in the sport here, they inspired a lot of people to chant new frontiers, aim higher and seek to achieve even more.

David Sharkey Stewart’s Melville College

“I have learned to reflect on myself and my life. In “God made me fast. And when I this way I am able to run, I feel His pleasure” Eric Liddell know on what I need to work on.” I have chosen Eric Liddell as my inspirational figure, a Scottish Armin Efferstedt athlete and rugby player. I have chosen to write about him because Stewart’s Melville College he was a fantastic athlete and role model, who was also defiant and refused to compete on the Sabbath when pressured to do so as he was a devout Christian and he believed that his running ability was his gift from God. He was born in January 1902 in Tianjin, China to Scottish missionaries and was raised there until the age of 6, when he was sent to boarding school in Britain - Eltham School for Sons of Missionaries. It was there that Liddell showed his immense potential for sport, being captain for the 1st XI for cricket, the 1st XV for rugby and was branded the best athlete in Scotland. He represented Scotland at rugby union in the 1922 and 1923 Five Nations alongside greats of the game like Gracie. Liddell was a devout Christian throughout his life and took his religion very seriously, famously at the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris. Liddell blatantly refused to compete on Sunday, the Sabbath day, and was forced to withdraw from the 100 m, his best event. He received a lot of criticism for his ‘outrageous’ decision to pull out of the event from the public, the press and many of his fellow athletes. Following this decision, he went on to win bronze and gold medals in the 200 m and 400 m events respectively, breaking the world record in his 400 m victory. He graduated from the University of Edinburgh and continued to compete in Scotland and the British Empire before leaving to follow his parents and become a Christian missionary in China. During his time in

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China, he worked in schools teaching English, mainly to Chinese children from wealthy backgrounds, and he preached Christianity to the people of China. He continued to compete sporadically and was victorious over the Japanese and French Olympic teams. When the Japanese invaded China during WWII, Liddell was sent to a concentration camp where he spent most of the rest of his life. He died on 21 February 1945 at the young age of 43. His inspirational life was remembered in the 1981 film “Chariots of Fire” which is about Liddell’s actions at the Paris Olympics. I find Eric Liddell a very inspiring figure and Olympian because even though he was a fantastic athlete and competitor, he always stood up for what he believed in and he stayed true to his religion and to God, which I find very inspirational as a Christian.

Richard Lewis Bevan Studio 34 “I have never really been held back by my disability. I had no problem getting into Boys High, always been accepted by my peers and excel at all types of sport. I think that people perceive themselves as disabled, meanwhile forgetting they have so many abilities overpowering their one or two disabilities. It all depends on your attitude towards them” Oscar Pistorius Oscar Pistorius, AKA “Blade Runner”, is a South African Paralympics runner whose legs were amputated below the knee when he was 11 months old. He has been competing in athletics and runs with the aid of Cheetah Flex-Foot carbon fibre transtibial artificial limbs made by prosthetics and support manufacturing company Ossur. He is the fastest man with no legs. Though Oscar has no legs, he performs at an athletic level that leaves a majority of “able bodied” athletes in the dust. From 2007-2008, Oscar has taken part in various Paralympic events, where in most he raises the bar of athletic ability and leaves with the gold. He has won 18 gold medals out of the 21 events he has taken part in. His ability and determination most definitely shows; people have generated claims saying that Oscar has an unfair advantage over able bodied runners because of his artificial legs. I think these claims are ridiculous and are spawned from the jealous and threatened minds of less talented runners. I had never heard of “Blade Runner” before this, but form the short time I’ve been reading up on him, I have developed a huge respect and a strong sense of admiration towards the runner. From having no legs at such a young age, growing up to be a runner must have felt like a distant dream and, to most people, would have seemed impossible, but Oscar followed his heart and against all odds stacked against him not only found the ability to walk, but to run 100 m in 10.91 s and smash a world record, to run 400 m with able bodied athletes and come third with a time of 46.24 s; that to me is sheer willpower and shows the incredible drive, strength and soul of human beings and should inspire anyone and everyone to be the best that they can be with whatever life throws at them.

Samiha Chowdhury Central Girls Foundation School Erik Weihenmayer, who was the first blind person to climb Mount Everest, wrote in an essay that Oscar Pistorius was:

"on the cusp of a paradigm shift in which disability becomes ability, disadvantage becomes advantage. Yet we mustn't lose sight of what makes an athlete great. It's too easy to credit Pistorius's success to technology. Through birth or circumstance, some are given certain gifts, but it's what one does with those gifts, the hours devoted to training, the desire to be the best, that is at the true heart of a champion."

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Nathan Lee Gregory Studio 34

“I can’t imagine living and not running.” Paula Radcliffe is an English long-distance runner who has achieved 12 gold medals over the years of her career. I find her inspiring because she goes for it. No matter how hard it gets, she just pushes and pushes herself and that’s amazing for an athlete. She is also the kind of person who could push me to do something I’ve always loved and wanted to do. The thing that I admire about Paula is that she keeps pushing herself to finish each race/marathon, and that is a great thing. I wish I could push myself as much as she can because sometimes it’s a good thing to push yourself when you’re off track. I think Paula Radcliffe achieved success as first she must have wanted to be in the Olympics to start with.

Josh Sierra Studio 34 I find Marie-José Pérec inspiring because she won three Olympic gold medals during her career - 400 m in Barcelona in 1992 and the 200 m and 400 m in Atlanta 1996. She won a further four gold medals in World and European Championships, only falling short of gold once. I really admire her determination, which I sometimes lack when things get too hard – I would like to be more determined to carry on and have the selfbelief that she had.

Kelly Anderson Queen Anne High School I'm inspired by Team Hoyt. Rick has cerebral palsy, and at the age of 15 he told his dad that he wanted to run a marathon. He learned to write using a special machine, and his first words were 'Go Boston' (as they were playing that night) on a special computer. When he was born, doctors told his parents to put him in an institution and that he would only ever be a vegetable. They ran the marathon. Dick (his dad) ran (the body) and pushed Rick in his wheelchair (the heart). His first race was 5K, and together they have travelled over 3,350 miles and completed almost 1,000 marathons. They've also done triathlons, including the biggest 'The Iron Man' in which real athletes also compete. Rick has graduated from high school and college, and now lives on his own in an apartment. A saying that comes to mind about Team Hoyt is 'It's not about winning, it's taking part that counts.' They never knew that Rick would even speak let alone run marathons, so it's a great achievement. Among the things I'd like to achieve in life is to conquer my fears, help people less fortunate than me, do a walk for charity and write a book. I'm also aware of how lucky I am with my family and friends.

Megan Burrow Woldgate College “If you don’t enjoy what you are doing when it is raining and you open the curtains in the morning, and you don’t want to get on your bike or put on your running shoes, then you’re not going to do so for me, you know the day I stop enjoying the sport is the day I will retire.”

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Shanaze Reade is 19 years of age, and she does the Olympic sport of BMX bike racing. She lives in her hometown of Crewe. She was born on 23 September 1988. Shanaze Reade came across BMX racing when she was 9, when she went to watch her cousin’s race. When it was finished, you could hire out a bike for a while and have a go, so she went and had a go; she referred to it as the best pound she had ever spent. When she went, she said there were as many guys as girls and she was saying that you don’t have to be worried if you want to try it out. That means to me that she was scared about doing it, but she was ambitious and really enjoyed it. When Shanaze went for her first lesson, she was worried about going, but after her first go, she wasn’t scared anymore. I think this means that if you really want to do something, just go and do it because if you are worried, you might never get the chance in doing it again, so don’t be afraid just go and try it out. Before a big competition she gets really excited and doesn’t get much sleep because she knows she worked hard for it and couldn’t wait to show everybody. I think that is inspirational because if you have self-confidence and are not too big-headed about it, then you deserve what you win. Shanaze’s Grandma said to her that there is always someone around the corner faster than you, which motivates her to do even better, to be the best possible and also not having anyone beating her. In every spot you have to be committed and Shanaze is, so she has to get up at 7.30 am and be training for 8.30 am, which is her first session, then she has lunch and starts her second session; 2 sessions of training a day for 2 hours. When you look up to your role model, they don’t necessarily think they have their own role model, but Shanaze mentioned Kelly Holmes because she didn’t win the Olympics the first time. She kept trying and eventually reached her goal. She wouldn’t stop and people said that she would never make it. Shanaze said you have to fight to win and you have to have the courage and determination to do it.

“I have learned more about myself , who I want to be and what I need to do to achieve that.” Kelly Anderson Queen Anne High School

Emma Collier Woldgate College

“I didn't think I would ever be able to do that. It's been amazing, breaking my own world record in Beijing and going on to break it again in Sheffield.” I have chosen Eleanor Simmonds as my inspirational person. I admire everything about her because she just gets on with things in spite of having achondroplasia. She always seems happy with herself and just keeps going. Her timetable is very busy what with 3 1/2 hours training along with school and homework. Some of the things I would like to live up to are being very committed, hard-working, determined and never giving up. These are the qualities that Eleanor has which have enabled her to win all her medals.

Lindsay Etherington Woldgate College Jessica Ennis was born on 14 January 1986 in Sheffield. She was educated at King Egbert School where she did her GCSEs and got 3 A levels. Her father is Jamaican; her mother was from Derbyshire. She has a younger sister called Carmel. She was first introduced to athletics at the age of 10 when she was taken to Sheffield’s Don Valley Stadium. It was at the Don Valley Stadium that she met her future coach. Jessica has won a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne in 2006. She has also won 3 gold medals; one at the IAAF World Championships in 2009, one at the IAAF Indoor World Championships in 2010 and one at the European Athletics Championships also in 2010. Jessica has also been 3rd for the Sports Personality of the

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Year in 2009 and 2010. Jessica is inspirational because she is excellent at the heptathlon; currently number one. She is always respectful and polite on camera and appreciative of her fans. She is friendly and loyal to her country. She is courageous and resilient because she always comes back from injury even if it means she must change her take-off leg. She is very determined because it takes a lot of self-discipline and commitment to train hard and get to world number one. She is selfless in her active support of the children’s hospital. She spends some of her free time visiting children in hospital to cheer them up.

Bronte Harrington Woldgate College

“It will be an honour to represent my country, get all the kit, stay in the Olympic village and, when I’m old enough, get a tattoo of the Olympic rings”. Tom Daley Tom Daley specialises in the 10 m platform diving event and is currently FINA World Champion. He started diving at the age of 7 and is a member of Plymouth Diving Club. He won gold in the World Championships in Rome 2009. He won gold in the European Championships in 2008. He won 2 silver medals in Junior World Championships. He also won 2 gold medals in the Commonwealth Games. Tom Daley inspires me because he is a high achiever. All of his medals have come from hard work and determination and those are two qualities I would like to have. His hard work and courage got him to Olympic level in only 7 years. I would like to follow Tom Daley’s determination, courage and hard work in a hobby I enjoy, like ballet, and I think those qualities are the key to his success as a diver.

Nathan Smith Woldgate College My inspirational somebody is called Jo Willoughby. She is 32 and has a life full of problems; she is paralysed from the chest downwards and she has one arm and one leg due to lots of operations. Despite this, she skis for Great Britain in a sit ski. She has skied in several Paralympics and lives just outside Barnsley. I am lucky enough to know her and she knows me. We have attempted to raise money for her. My family have managed to raise £1,800 for her. You might think this is a lot, but to her this is nothing for the money she needs. She is one of the most amazing people I know and I think this is because she comes to every race I have been in, is always cheering me on and there for me. She is a great person. She gets along with her life like any other person, even though she has difficulty with her life and she insists on people treating her normally. She is just so caring and reliable and is always there for you, which is unbelievable. She deserves a medal not for her skiing, but for being the most amazing person! I myself want to be a professional slalom skier, inspired by Jo.

Erin Brown Woodmill High School

“Obstacles are things a person sees when he takes his eyes off his goal” E Joseph Cossman My inspiration is Kirsty Balfour. She’s from Edinburgh – not far away from me – and she’s a breast-stroke swimmer, although she retired from swimming in 2008. My favourite/best stroke is also breast-stroke (I train with a swim team)! She once came second in the 200 m breast-stroke at the World Championships and has competed in the Olympics twice. This is such an amazing achievement! I have been lucky enough to meet

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her in person and knowing I was shaking hands with somebody who has achieved so much made me want to train harder! When I’m tired in training I think of all the best swimmers, but Kirsty Balfour the most as she is Scottish too and amazing at breast-stroke. This puts me in a positive state of mind and makes me really determined to get faster. When she retired she decided to help out more at her local church. She must be really selfless to give up the thing she worked so hard for! I admire Kirsty Balfour because she is an inspiration to me as a swimmer and as a person.

Eilidh Reid Woodmill High School

“In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock” Thomas Jefferson My inspirational figure is Jessica Ennis, the Great Britain pentathlete. She's had outstanding success for someone as young as 24. She was World Heptathlon Champion in 2009 and World Indoor Champion in 2010, where she set a championship record. She is also European Champion and championship record holder. She's inspirational to me as an all-rounder, excelling at different disciplines. This relates to being a good person as you have to be an all-rounder. She is constantly achieving, and I can relate on a small scale to the pressure she must face. In my own life, I'm going to stay focused and hard-working, and I will frequently evaluate my circumstances to see what I can do to improve things.

“I think I have been able to ask myself why I am all the things that I am and found the answers. I have also learned lots of interesting statements made by people when I was looking for my inspiring quotes.” Erin Brown Woodmill High School 67


Inspire

Aspire

LIGHTING THE TORCH

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Inspired Vol 1