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I have learned what InspireAspire means. Inspire means you think that someone has done something special. Aspire means you try to be like this. Innes Macdonald,

generation

How young people are writing the Games legacy www.inspire-aspire.org.uk

Aged 14


www.inspire-aspire.org.uk

This is an award winning Inspire>Aspire poster. We call it ‘Inspire>Aspire’ because it leads young people through a process of discovering more about themselves and about others to help define their own aspirations. Every poster completed in this way is first hand evidence of how the London 2012 Games have left a lasting legacy in young people. Inside the magazine we capture some of the most compelling content from inspirational young people across the UK who have shown us that they have been inspired and have the aspiration to lead a generation.


Supporters SUPPORTERS

We would like to thank the following organisations for making the values poster programme possible 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 scientic research and related scholarship. The Foundation’s motto “How little we know, how eager to learn” exemplies 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 signicant 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 Gareld Weston Foundation was established in 1958 by Willard Gareld 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.gareldweston.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 xed 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 nancial services rm addressing the needs of institutional investors, nancial advisers, market participants and individuals. Over the course of its history, Russell’s innovations have come to dene 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 Scientic 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 elds 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 scientic 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 likesupport to thankinthe MacRobert Trust for supporting programme. We would also like to thank New Park Trust for their helping meet the costs of producingthe this publication.

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Contents

We would like to thank the following organisations for making the values poster programme possible 9 10 12 14 15 17 20 23 23 24 25 26 28 29 30 31 31 32 32 33 34 36 36 37 37 41 43 44 44 45 46 47 51 52 53 54 55 55 57 59 60 61 62 63 64 66 67 74 76 77

Aberdeen Grammar School Albyn School Amman Valley School Baldragon Academy Balwearie High School Banff Academy Bishops Blue Coat School Braes High School Bridgend College, Studio 34, Further Education Bridgewater Middle School Broughton High School Bryngwyn School Cleveden Secondary School Deptford Green School Elgin High School Errol Primary School Glasgow Gaelic School Glenlee Primary School Golspie High School Gracemount High School Grosvenor Grammar School Grove Academy Henry Compton School Hillpark Secondary School Hyndland Secondary School Inverurie Academy Kinross High School Lumen Christi College MacLaren High School Oxford High School for Girls Portlethen Academy Putney High School Radyr Comprehensive School Ross High School Roundwood Park School St Colm’s High School St Columba’s School St George’s School for Girls St Gregory’s Catholic High School St Joan of Arc Catholic School St Leonards School St Pius X College St Thomas Aquinas The Harefield Academy The Latymer School The Royal Masonic School for Girls The Tiffin Girls’ School Vyners School Wallace Preparatory School Watford Grammar School for Girls

7 Welcome 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.

8 Character Legacy Inspire-Aspire UK programme co-ordinator Gemma Clark talks about the legacy of inspiration generated by the London 2012 Olympic Games.

9 The Legacy Begins... 74 pages of incredible insight and inspiration from young people across the UK who have reached the national finals in 2012.

Edited by DAVID LORIMER Designed by JON GILL (www.playfulcommunications.co.uk) 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 Olympic Torch Relay, St Andrews Beach, Scotland Press Association, p9 Mo Farrah Press Association, p10 Nicholas Hamilton Press Association, p11 Jesse Owens Press Association, p12-13 Usain Bolt Press Association, p14 Dick McTaggart Press Association, p16 Caitlin McClatchey Press Association, p18 Helen Turner Press Association, p19 Cindy Klassen Press Association, p21 Amy Williams Press Association, p22 Ade Adepiton Press Association, p23 Sir Chris Hoy Getty Images, p24 Nathan Stevens Getty Images, p25 Aimee Mullins Getty Images, p26 Kim Clijsters Press Association, p28 Anna Ross Davies Press Association, p29 Natalia Partyka Press Association, p30 Michael Phelps Getty Images, p31 Chemmy Alcott Press Association, p32-33 Kelly Holmes Press Association, p34 Carl Lewis Press Association, p36 Simon Richardson Press Association, p38-39 Paralympic Opening Ceremony London 2012 Press Association, p40 Eric Liddell Getty Images, p42 Natalie Du Toit Press Association, p43 Sasha Cohen Press Association, p44 Muhammad Ali Library of Congress, p45 Ben Ainslie Press Association, p46 Ellie Simmonds Getty Images, p47 Tom Aggar Press Association, p48 Nadia Comaneci Press Association, p49 Jessica Long Press Association, p50 Shawn Johnson Press Association, p51 YuNa Kim Press Association, p52 Yelena Isinbayeva Press Association, p54 Lee Pearson Press Association, p55 Viviane Forrest Press Association, p56 Jessica Ennis Getty Images, p57 Bethany Hamilton © Noah Hamilton, p59 Sir Steve Redgrave Getty Images, p60 Amy Williams Press Association, p61 Mary Peters Press Association, p62 Oscar Pistorius Press Association, p63 Wilma Blanche Press Association, p65 Bonnie Blair Press Association, p66 Tom Daley Getty Images, p67 Eleanor Simmonds Getty Images, p68 Jesse Owens Press Association, p69 Shawn Johnson Press Association, p70-71 Derek Redmond Press Association, p72 Anthony Robles Press Association, p73 Keri Strug Press Association, p74 Sean Swarner Press Association, p75 Grace Bowman Press Association, p76 Sir Chris Hoy Getty Images, p77 Mo Farrah Press Association, p78 Jessica Ennis Getty Images, p79 Louis Smith Press Association, p81 Monique van der Vorst Press Association. 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 for their support and flexibility in helping to make the programme a success. Thanks to Jon for stepping in to help bring the magazine to life. Last but not least a HUGE THANK YOU to all the TEACHERS who take part. 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 2013 www.inspire-aspire.org.uk © 2012 Character Education Scotland Ltd. All rights reserved.


Endorsements from the

Children in school are used to being asked exam questions with right or wrong answers. What was impressive here is the way they responded to different sorts of questions, very personal questions about their strengths and also their weaknesses, and their ambitions and attitudes, with an astonishing freshness and frankness – suggesting personal outcomes for the exercise which are truly educational and even life-changing. Joe Elliot

I was impressed by the depth of thought that each of the finalists put into their work. They had explained carefully the reasons why the person they had chosen inspired them. Clearly these stories had a significant impact on how the young people wanted to lead their lives from now on. Their honest reflections on their own qualities and values were excellent and demonstrated the contribution this project makes towards achieving the outcomes of Curriculum for Excellence. I hope the Games leave a lasting legacy on the young people’s learning and that the aspirations they have for the future all come to fruition. Professor Kay Livingston Director, Education Scotland

The quality of the entries were way beyond my expectations. The young people showed a remarkable insight into themselves and a real appreciation of what can be learned from the inspiration provided by role models. It was a great pleasure to read this work. Sir Menzies Campbell, CBE, QC, MP Chancellor, University of St Andrews

I found judging the schools poster competition a complete eye-opener. The effort and imagination that had gone in to every one was astonishing, and often the complete honesty of the participants was both moving and illuminating.  I congratulate all the prizewinners – choosing them was not an easy task among so many excellent contributions. Lady Elspeth Campbell

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Judges

It was truly a most memorable experience to have been able to read these most eloquent and inspirational presentations. Each of them helped me to understand the thoughts of students and their many ideas and future goals. Reviewing each presentation of the national finalists made me confident of the next generation Galvin Weston, Chairman, Charbonnel et Walker

It was an honour to have the opportunity to participate in the judging of this competition. It is, indeed, a challenging task, because of the high quality of the posters. I felt totally fascinated by how young people explored Olympic and Paralympic values and used these for their personal inspiration. I was amazed by the richness of the contents and their sharp and ambitious views on their future. I really hope that now their outstanding contributions will continue to inspire the wider society and raise awareness about the vast potential among young people. Dr. Ornella Corazza

It was a privilege to see the wonderful array of comments and inspirations that the students took from the Olympic Games. Their submissions showed honesty, understanding, good self-examination, a strong sense of ethics and a desire to play a part in the future. The presentations were well organised and designed, and the Olympic and Paralympic heroes chosen were shining examples of the values the children aspired to - drive, perseverance and  hard work culminating in personal success.  Judging this competition has given me great hope for the future, and the results are a tribute to the up and coming generation. Dr. Peter Fenwick, President, Scientific and Medical Network


Welcome from the programme Director

Olympics – a lifetime of training for just 10 seconds Jesse Owens Welcome to our second Inspire-Aspire Magazine, which features the reflections of young people from around the country on their Olympic and Paralympic inspirational figures. All this was written just before the recent hugely uplifting London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, which caught the imagination of the entire country. As Lord Coe movingly remarked in his closing speech, the Games proudly expressed the quality and creativity implied by the timehonoured insignia ‘Made in Britain.’ We are equally proud in this legacy year to play a small part in recording the reverberating message of London 2012 – Inspire a Generation. However, in our case, you will find that it is the young people themselves who will inspire you, the reader. If you think idealism has all but disappeared, read on and you will find it alive and well. The content of this magazine is extracted from student posters and consists of quotations chosen by the students along with their reflections on inspirational athletes. The exercise also helps them to deepen their selfknowledge and become more self-aware, as well as challenging them to define their aspirations for the future. This year, we had over 37,000 students and 250 schools registered, which is more than in any single year of the project so far. We also held award ceremonies in five locations and attended by around 900 people: Hampden Park in Glasgow with Liz McColgan MBE on the day the Olympic Torch came through, Stormont in Belfast with Paralympic champion Michael McKillop, the National Pool in Swansea with Paralympian David Roberts CBE, The Lowry in Manchester and finally Forman’s Fish Island opposite the Olympic Park with Derek Redmond MBE. The transformational impact of the project is eloquently summarised by the London Gold Medal winner, Guilia Battaglia-Trovato from Putney High School, who writes:

David Lorimer “I have learned many things with this project. It has given me the chance to make a thorough analysis of my character, my strengths and weaknesses. This is important so that I have a wider picture on the aspects of my personality that I would like/need to improve. Researching the life of an inspirational athlete (Nadia Comaneci) has also been extremely useful for me as it highlights all the qualities a person should have in order to achieve great things. I have also been able to reflect on my future, the goals I want to achieve and how I’m going to achieve them. They have always been at the back of my mind but this is the first time I have actually written them down, which makes them seem more achievable.”

Many different Olympic and Paralympic athletes were chosen by students this year, including the stars of Team GB like Sir Chris Hoy, Mo Farah, Jessica Ennis, Tom Daley, Eleanor Simmonds, Nathan Stephens, Rebecca Adlington, Beth Tweddle, Ben Ainslie and Louis Smith. They are star exemplars of Olympic and Paralympic values such as excellence, courage and determination. Students write about the importance of focus, commitment and hard work in achieving their goals. 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 continued confidence in the programme through their generous support. I am also most appreciative for the support of my colleagues Ronnie and Kath Davidson, National Co-ordinator Gemma Clark, Inspired Apprentice Nicola England, film-maker Daniel Harkness and for the transcribing skills of Julie Falls. Looking forward, this year we are asking students who inspired them at London 2012 – there is a wealth of inspiration to choose from! We are also working on a version of the poster with an emphasis on Global Citizenship for the Commonwealth Games taking place in Glasgow in 2014. In these pages you will find that students have taken a significant step towards defining and realising their goals, demonstrating how inspiration can be transformed into aspiration. May you be inspired in your turn!

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Character Legacy

by Inspire-Aspire UK programme co-ordinator Gemma London 2012 will be remembered for the incredible summer of sport. The big question many are asking is whether hosting the greatest show on earth will have a lasting legacy which will inspire young people for years to come. The Inspire-Aspire project is fantastic evidence that the legacy has already begun. London 2012 helped to develop character in young people and will change the way they think, feel and act. Watching the closing ceremony of the Paralympic Games it was clear that London 2012 has changed the way people think and feel, but can this change last? The need for a change in attitude was made apparent by the events of August 2011. Riots across the country sparked ongoing debates about strategies needed to tackle the behaviour of its young people. Lack of character was blamed for vandalism and violence in cities across Britain and the Government desperately searched for ways of tackling the problem. In this era, where the character of our young people is being called into question, an emergence of character-building programmes can be seen across the U.K. The focus is now starting to turn away from achieving excellent exam results to implementing values-driven education programmes in schools as they invest time and money in character education in the hope of developing the person as a whole. Inspire-Aspire plays an important role in doing just that. As programme co-ordinator for the project I have had the opportunity to witness first-hand the positive impact it is having on young people across the U.K. When speaking with teachers the initial feedback on the programme is always positive. By helping young people to develop their own aspirations and goals through the exploration of the Olympic and Paralympic values, pupils are encouraged to look at themselves in a different way and very often one in which they have never done before. The process of studying one’s character in depth can be quite challenging initially but when done well is also very rewarding. The Inspire-Aspire Programme is seen by many as filling a void in education and has been used as a way of implementing values-driven education into the curriculum. The feedback we get from pupils undertaking the project is the best evidence we have to show the

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change the programme is having on the attitudes of young people nationwide. One of the most poignant moments for me happened earlier this year when I was delivering an Inspire-Aspire workshop at a Games Legacy event with the help of Catriona, a pupil at Glasgow Gaelic School, who was asked to share her experience of the programme with a room of teachers. On concluding her presentation, she turned to the assembled group and said, quite simply, “I can honestly say, taking part in Inspire-Aspire has changed my life”. In my eyes, that said it all. It was clear to everyone present that she meant every word and as I swallowed down the lump which had formed in my throat, I thanked her for sharing her account of what has clearly been a life-defining experience for her. I feel that moment alone really demonstrates the worth of the programme and the good it is doing in our schools. At our Awards events I was able to speak to others like Catriona and the adults who play such important roles in the lives of these young people. These teachers and parents were filled with nothing but gratitude; firstly, for recognising the achievement of their young person and secondly, for the process their child had to go through in getting there. Asking young people to explore their own character is tough, but feedback from all involved say it is hugely beneficial and, at this time, much needed. The work produced through the programme shows you that all young people have high hopes for the future. Reading through the thousands of entries we received this year has certainly renewed my faith in humankind and reminded me of the good found in young people. I hope that you, too, will be encouraged on reading the many inspirational pieces in this magazine. London 2012 invested wisely in making their education programme such an important part of the Games. Recent events suggested that young people lacked hope and aspiration and the promise to ‘Inspire a Generation’ is one which was desperately needed. Using the Olympic and Paralympic values, London 2012 has shown the importance of having good character to succeed, and this is the message which has permeated the minds of millions of people across Britain, partly through our Inspire-Aspire Programme. The Games are now over but it is clear from the words of Catriona, and the millions of inspired young people like her, that the legacy is only just beginning.


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Daniel Hume

Aberdeen Grammar School

“We are all motivated by a keen desire for praise, and the better a man is, the more he is inspired to glory” Unknown

“Stand up for what is right even if you are the only one standing” Martin Luther King My inspirational figure is Mo Farah, who runs in the 1005 m, 5000 m and 1000 m races for Britain. He came here from Somalia at the age of 8 with his skills in speaking the English language going as far as ‘hello’. Somalia, Farah’s country of origin, is now one of the most povertystricken countries in the world. On a trip back to his homeland, Farah saw how bad the situation had become, especially for children. He had this to say, “If those kids got the chance, they could do something completely different with their lives, as I was able to do myself.” The way Mo Farah speaks about how people who feel so small can become bigger than they ever dreamed makes him an influential, inspirational person. However, this Olympian must have had some inspiration to achieve such great running skills. Almost any inspirational person must have been inspired by someone else.

This diagram shows how to keep inspiration alive in our community - we ourselves need to be inspiration to someone else. Inspire. Aspire.

Lucy McLeod

Aberdeen Grammar School

“You will never find time for anything. You must make it” Charles Buxton The person that inspires me is the track and field athlete Mo Farah. He was born on 23 March 1983 in Somalia and moved to the UK when he was 8 years old. When he started his new school, he did not know any English at all and he © Press Association was one of the only dark-skinned pupils at his school – a target for bullies, and he was bullied at school because of this. But when he was playing football in PE, his teacher noticed his gift, running. The teacher decided to start training him and soon enough he became a club runner. His natural talent became obvious as he started winning prestigious titles and as he progressed he became more and more famous. At the moment he is training hard in America along side Galen Rupp – another professional athlete. He has also recently set up his own charity called the “Mo Farah Foundation” and is organising events to raise money to buy

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food, water and clothes for children living in treacherous conditions in Africa. Mo Farah inspires me because he always tries his best no matter what. He is determined, focused, ambitious, he never thinks that anything is impossible - he is very gracious and has amazing sportsmanship. He is also very resilient, which showed at the IAAF world championships last year when in the 10000 m he got beaten on the line, yet 2 days later he ran a phenomenal 5000 m that won him a gold medal. I also love the fact that he has set up his own charity. This shows that he is a very generous, caring and kind person and that he puts others before himself, which is what everyone should be like.

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Euan Gregory Albyn School

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” Wayne Gretzky Nicolas Hamilton is the younger brother of the Formula 1 star Lewis Hamilton. Nicolas suffers from cerebral palsy. This means that some of the muscles in his body are tight, stiff or weak. It also means that he has difficulty controlling his movements. He joined his brother in motorsport in early 2011. He said when asked why he was doing this, he said “I am my own person. I am doing this for myself, no one else, and to help inspire other disabled people or people with some challenge in their life.” I believe that Nicolas has shown amazing determination because he has had many setbacks in his life, but he has always bounced back. Nicolas’ first driving experience was not a success. He was driving his dad’s car while still quite young. It ended in a serious accident. This considerably knocked his confidence and kept him well away from driving for quite a while. Yet at the age of 15, he overcame his fears and started karting. Nicolas has lived life to the full making sure that his disability does not get in the way. Nicolas, when asked about his joining of motorsport said “I know this will not be an easy task, but I hope my doing this will give inspiration to others who have challenges in their lives.”

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I also think that Nicolas has shown excellence because as we know Lewis Hamilton is an amazing driver, but at a test session in February 2011, Nicolas was only one second behind his brother’s time. Also in the 2011 season, Nicolas came 14th in the championship. He also achieved 2 results that were in the top 10. This is excellent because he was competing against able-bodied people. I find Nicolas Hamilton inspiring because of all of these things put together. I believe that he is an

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inspiration because he has never given up and wants to be known for what he has done. He once said, “I’m doing it for me. From now on I’m not going to be known as Lewis’ brother, I want to be known as Nicolas Hamilton.” He has achieved some amazing things, but like everyone, he is still learning. At a practice session, he was driving a specially adapted Renault Clio fitted with specially extended pedals and a hand-operated clutch to help him cope with his disability. Even with this he still fell victim to inexperience and hit the wall, so he pushed the boundaries, but it went horribly wrong and now he has learnt not to rush, but to progress slowly. If everyone had one per cent of the courage he has then the world would be much better off and this is why he inspires me.

Sara Jane McGuckin

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Albyn School

“Don’t walk in front of me, I may not follow; don’t walk behind me, I may not lead; walk beside me, and just be my friend” Albus Camus

“The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time” Abraham Lincoln

“The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me” Ayn Rand My inspirational person is Jesse Owens. He was a track and field athlete. He lived from 1913 to 1980. He won 4 gold medals and set 3 world records. Owens was born in Alabama. He had 10 siblings of which he was the 7th. His family was poor, sometimes barely able to afford food. When he

was 7, his parents decided to move out of their small home to Ohio. Here, Jesse was able to go to school. The track coach for the school spotted Jesse racing with his friends and started teaching him before school. He did this before school so that Jesse could still have a part time job and provide for his parents. When he went to high school, he set the 100 m, 200 m and long jump (back then it was called the broad jump) record nationally. He never even considered going to college because he needed to support his family and his wife financially. He would not even leave his family and follow his dream and his talent because he could not leave them without any support. He only went to college after his dad got a job. He had to work 3 jobs to pay for his tuition. He did all this whilst training. I find Jesse Owens so inspiring because he had a pretty bad start in life, but no matter what was thrown at him, he overcame the difficulties. He was not just about good enough to overcome these obstacles; he overcame them whilst setting a world record or whilst training and holding down 3 jobs. He never complained, he knew

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what needed to be done and he did it to the best of his ability. I admire how good he was at what he did. He achieved 4 gold medals in the 1936 Olympics doing track and field events, his highest (PB) world record was first. He was so respected by people all over the world, so much so that an asteroid was named after him in 1980. He was a true athlete; he represented what the Olympics are about: giving people a chance no matter where they come from or how much money they have.

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Allen George

Amman Valley School

“You cannot build character and courage by taking away a man’s initiative and independence� Abraham Lincoln Usain Bolt is my inspirational athlete because he is the Olympic record holder for the 100 m, 200 m and runs in the relay race too. He has got the fastest time in the 200 m of 19.75 sec and for

I think that Owens is an example of the following values: determination, because he did not give up on his talent and his dream until he had achieved it, and excellence, because he was focused and hard-working. I would love to be as patient as he was and just keep on going whenever things get hard; I only keep going if I feel like it, if I do not feel like it, I give up. I wish I could say I did not, but that would be a lie. That is one of the reasons I like him so much, I look up to him as a person more than an athlete. I think that Owens achieved success not just because of himself, but with the help of many people, for example, his trainer for believing in him and his parents for letting him pursue his talent too. I think that whilst his efforts to get where he did were elephantine, he could not have done it without the support of the people around him.

the 100 m sprints 9.64 sec. Usain Bolt inspires me because after I heard about him, I thought I could be a sprinter. He really inspired me to be just like him after I read about his past and he was just like me only thinking about sports like cricket and football. Usain Bolt is always determined to use everything he has got to win the race and he

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By taking part in this project, I have learned how to find a good source of


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always pushes himself to come first. In Usain Bolt’s childhood, he only thought about sport and was a big sports fan. One day, his cricket coach noticed his speed and told him to do some sprints; from that moment on, he trained himself with his coach and started winning all the junior championships. He got to the Olympics and he is the record holder for 100 m and 200 m. Could Usain Bolt be a record holder for another year? Usain Bolt is my hero because I want to learn from him so some day, perhaps, I could also be an athlete.

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Ffion haf Jones

Amman Valley School

“If you aren’t going all the way, why go at all?” Joe Namath My hero is Kelly Holmes. She is an inspirational runner. What I admire about Kelly is that you need stamina to run, which many people have to constantly train to gain. And that is exactly what she did. She worked hard to balance out her schoolwork and her running and she got faster and stronger over time. She started running when she was in secondary school and really enjoyed it. She started running clubs and then when she was older, she got to the best she could be, and competed in the Olympic Games where she won double gold.

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My weaknesses are I do not face it when the going gets tough, but she carried on after all of her injuries, knowing she could get even worse ones, but she put it aside and carried on. I could learn from her and carry on through every challenge and then maybe I could reach my goals. One of her qualities is being fearless. I wish I was fearless because after having an injury doing hurdles, I do not do them because I am scared, whereas Kelly got through her injuries and was brave enough to do it again.

As well as having talent, he has to push himself to be good enough for the Olympic team. He listens to his coach, Glen Mills, and gets feedback from him, while I do not always listen to my teachers. I learned that to be the best athlete, you need to listen and work hard every day. Usain Bolt trains for 4 to 5 hours to be fit and ready to be in the

information and how to achieve my goals. - Lucy Campbell, Balmullo Primary School

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Zach Isabella

Baldragon Academy

“For me, it is showing the light. There are people who want to put Christians down I try to tell them Jesus loves you. It is just a way to be strong in my faith.” To me, Bubba Watson Junior is a great inspiration because he is a self-taught golfer – he has never had any lessons from anyone. Bubba is an American professional golfer. He turned professional in 2003. Bubba is one of the world’s few left-handed professional golfers. He won his first PGA tour competition on 27 June 2010 when he beat Corey Pavin and Scott Verplank in an epic sudden death playoff. Recently, he won one of the most coveted titles and gained a green jacket, which symbolises that the wearer is a Master’s Champion. His win was not plain sailing as he had to play extra holes against Louis Oosthuizen. These players had to play 74 holes before Bubba succeeded in finishing one stroke ahead.

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is earning a lot of money at the moment. Yet he is not going out buying expensive land and building a flashy house or buying expensive cars. He is living in an ordinary house and he is thinking about others as well as himself. He has also given generously of his time and skill to raise money and awareness for some very important charities. If I am successful in life, I want to follow his example and remember the needs of others. I hope Bubba has a long and fruitful career; I look forward to seeing him play more good golf.

As you see, nothing comes easy for Bubba. He has had to work hard, but he seems to remain calm and focused because when the pressure is on, he seems to step up to the mark and achieve his goal. There is not a selfish bone in Bubba’s body either. He cares very much for other people. In every golf tournament, Bubba dresses in white (replica clothing is available to buy via the Internet at $200 per set). The reason why he dresses like this is because he is trying to raise $1 million during 2012 for Military and Children’s charities. He also plays with a distinctive set of pick golf clubs because he is raising money for Cancer Research (this is in memory of his father who died from throat cancer just over 2 years ago). I think there is a lot we could learn from Bubba. He is a very talented golfer who © Press Association

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Darren McTaggart Baldragon Academy

“He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life” “Happiness, I have discovered, is nearly always a rebound from hard work” “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear – not absence of fear” “Without self-discipline, success is impossible” Dick was one of the McTaggarts from Dens Road in Dundee. The family was described as ‘not a family you wanted to pick a fight with’. Why? Among the family were 18 children all with boxing in their blood. One brother was in the army and had become a champion boxer, well known in the Middle East in the 1950s as a dangerous man to cross. Another brother, named Peter, was serving in the Navy – he had been as successful there as a boxer too. But the brother I am interested in was Dick McTaggart – my uncle. He was known as ‘Dandy Dick’ in the 1950s, as he worked as an RAF cook while doing his national service. Yet a growing number of people knew of his other skill – boxing. In 1956 as the other RAF service men prepared for armed conflict in the Middle East, Dick travelled to Australia to represent the UK at the Melbourne Olympics. On his return he brought with him a gold medal. Four years later, he picked up a bronze at the Rome Olympics. 1961 saw him return from the European championship in Belgrade with more medals and the title ‘Supermac’. Throughout the 1960s his medal collection grew. Today, he is 73 years old and a legend in his hometown. Recently, when Abertay University gave him an honorary degree, he told the Courier

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r e newspaper afterwards “Of course I’m delighted – today I was promoted from ‘Super Dick with quick hands, quick feet and even quicker wit’ to ‘Dr Dick’. His commitment to boxing and to the city of Dundee spans more than 60 years. I admire his uniqueness – he is described as being top of the class scoring a win in 610 out of his 634 bouts. He has the determination of a champion and the evidence is seen in his 32 cups, 57 plaques and 49 medals, which I have seen. Awesome! In 2000, he was added by vote to the boxing international hall of fame. He is by far this sport’s greatest amateur. After retiring from competitive boxing, he trained others, including the Scottish Commonwealth Games teams from 1970 to about 1985. He is to me a great hero and friend.

Rebecca Brown Cooper Balwearie High School

“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you fail by default” J K Rowling

“A single dream is more powerful than a thousand realities” J R R Tolkien Maritza Correia was an Olympic swimmer whose story is truly inspiring. She was diagnosed with scoliosis at the age of 7 and advised by her doctor to take swimming lessons to build up strength in her back. Scoliosis is a condition of the spine in which it curves to the side and can cause problems during growth. Most cases of scoliosis are now caught and monitored from an early age in case of developing problems. I find her story inspiring because, as a person who has been diagnosed with scoliosis myself, it shows that even with limitations anything is

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possible and that the condition can be overcome. I really admire her strength and determination that she has managed to be one of the best swimmers of her time, even though it may have been suspected that she could not achieve her goals in life. I’d really like to be as determined and as ambitious as her, so that maybe I could achieve my goals in life too. Another thing that I find truly remarkable about her story is the time she went through depression after failing to make the American team for the

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2000 summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia. She was given help, however, by a friend who had qualified for the Sydney Olympics and a psychologist, who helped her to come back and become the amazing swimmer that she is. Below are just some of her sporting achievements; • She was an Olympic silver medallist in the 400 m free relay in the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece • She was the first African American female to make the US Olympic swim team. • In 2000 she was a world record holder in the NCAA championships.

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• In 2006, she was a silver medallist at the World Championships in 100 m free relay. She retired from swimming 6 years ago in 2006.

Mhairi Laing

Balwearie High School

“Enjoy what you do and have fun” Caitlin McClatchey An Olympian who inspires me is Caitlin McClatchey. She is a swimmer who was born in Portsmouth, and swims for the Scotland team, following in the footsteps of her parents John and Louise (McClatchey). Caitlin made her debut into the Olympics in 2004, at the age of 19. She helped take the British 4 x 200 m relay team to 5th place in Athens, and continued to shine in Montreal, becoming a World Championship medallist, winning freestyle bronze. However, Caitlin’s highest achievement has to be in the 2006 Commonwealth Games, where she won gold in both the 200 and 400 m freestyle. Her most recent achievement was when she won silver in the 200 m freestyle at the British Championships. She inspires me because she has made a big impact on people, and I think she has shown people that swimming is cool. I enjoy swimming too, so I am hoping that I can maybe come close to where she is (or at least be

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half decent)! She has won medals and let the world know her name, just by going and doing something she loves and is good at. She says that after being an Olympic athlete she would like to go into politics and be the Minister of Sport, so she is not stupid either!

Cory Gibson Banff Academy

“If there is a will there’s a way” English proverb The inspirational figure I chose is Derek Redmond. He was born in Bletchley on 3 September 1965. He has won 3 gold medals and one silver medal. In the 1992 Olympics, he tore a hamstring in his right thigh. When the stretchers gathered, he thought to himself “I can’t give up now!” so he stood up and started to hobble along the track with pain etched on his face. A man pushed through security, this man was Derek’s father, Jim. Father and son hobbled 175 m before reaching the finish line. Many people do not remember who won that year, which in fact was Steve Lewis, more people remember Derek for his heroic actions. I chose Derek as my inspirational figure because he never gave up on his dream and learning about him made me realise that I have to never give up on my dreams and ambitions. I have learned that even if I am going through a really tough time or I have been badly hurt, that none of that is any match to some of the pain and hurting that people have gone through. I now realise that I cannot let anything stop me from doing what I want to do. When I hear the name Derek Redmond, the words ‘fighter’ and ‘bravery’ spring to my mind. I will now tell myself that I cannot give up no matter what I face. After learning about Derek, I have started to act like a better person, because I am telling my friends everything I know about how you have to be strong. I realise that if you fail you must not

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r e give up, but keep trying until you succeed. Now when I look at a picture of Derek and his dad on the race track, I know that I have to be brave, also that I have to live life to the full. Learning about Derek has also inspired me to do more athletic things like basketball, football, hockey and biking. I am doing this because I want to try different things, go out of my ‘comfort zone’ as some might say. Doing this has made me realise that I am quite good at the different things I have chosen to try out. I have also tried swimming and running. I hope that one day I will do something amazing just like Derek did and that it will inspire many young people. One thing I would like to do to inspire people would be to go to Africa, Kenya or Asia and help the people who live in poverty by helping to build schools and houses, help feed the children and help to vaccinate the children dying from disease. To conclude, I have chose Derek Redmond because he has inspired me to never give up on my dreams and ambitions, to help others through their problems and to become a better person.

Caitlin McInnes Banff Academy

“You are never a loser until you quit trying” Mike Ditka Kelly Holmes inspires me because even though things stopped her from reaching her dreams, she got there in the end. She also inspires me because she started up her own charity “The DKH Legacy Trust” – she said “I wanted to create a legacy from my career that would benefit the young people who look up to sports performers like me, having seen first hand the difference that world class sports performers can make to kid’s lives.” Kelly also supports 6 charities including ‘Variety Club of Great Britain’, ‘Beyond Sport’ and

always try your best and always believe in yourself. - Emma Wilkie, Glenlee Primary School

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‘Hospice in the Weald’. I am greatly encouraged by her because she has taught me never to give up when things get tough and that I should never let go of my dreams. Kelly has shown me how I can contribute and how I can change people’s lives, as well as my own. She has taught me to always persevere in everything I do, and even if I have problems or worries, they are no match to some of the things other people go through. Ever since I started learning about Kelly Holmes, I have begun to be more helpful around the house with tidying up and cleaning. I have been more respectful to my parents and have overall been a better person. I have started thinking more about developing values, qualities and wider variety of skills. From learning about this, I took into account what these people have to go through which really got me interested in the Olympics, which I had never done before because I was not a very sporty person. When I watch the London Olympics this year, I hope to see all these

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inspiring Olympians and Paralympians that we have all been learning and writing about and to see some new athletes who are likely to go on and inspire the world. I am glad there are people out there in the world like Kelly Holmes for young people to look up to.

Ellen Oldman Banff Academy

“Life consists not in holding good cards, but in playing those you hold well” Tom Lehrer My inspirational athlete I have chosen is Helen Turner. She is a Paralympic athlete at 34 years of age. After an accident in which she broke her back leaving her partially paralysed, she turned to sport to rebuild her life. In 1999, she joined her local basketball team and has never looked back. The mother of one has encouraged me to be more active because of her determination to keep playing basketball despite her slight disability. She has influenced me so much that I have even started to take an interest in her speciality, something I had never dreamed of doing as it has nothing to do with my career choice. Even though she was in a lifethreatening accident that could have affected her whole life, she did something about it, something that she wanted to do with her life and stuck to it - that inspired me greatly.

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After reading through Helen’s story, I have started to develop an interest in basketball by watching every game I can and cheering on both teams, because I know that it is good to reassure other teams as Helen has told me through her life story. I have also started playing basketball at school with my friends and in my free time


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at the park, because Helen has taught me that it is very, very important to always get fresh air, be active and to keep fit and healthy throughout your childhood. But she has not just motivated me, she has encouraged young children from the age of 6 to start playing not just basketball, but other popular sports to help them work in a team and accept other people for who they are, with her new club called the ‘Young Sports Trust’ where she works as an athlete tutor. This has cheered me up to hear about her inspiring young adults through something that she loves the most. Another thing that inspires me about Helen is that being partially paralysed could have limited her life, but instead of sitting down, crying and feeling sorry for herself, she decided to make a difference to the lives of the young children that she is now teaching. Throughout my life, I admit that I have made mistakes and that I have sometimes said the wrong things at the wrong times, but by looking through Helen’s story, it showed me that she made a lot of mistakes too. She mentioned in her story never to give up. That powerful message has stuck in my mind and affected me so much that whatever I do now, whatever challenge, I always keep trying and trying until I reach my goal and I am proud of what I have done. She has also taught me to be brave and keep my head held high at all times because there will always be ups and downs and the road will be bumpy, but as long as you are optimistic and you never let anyone put you down, you will get on fine and you will end up wanting to take the road of life again.

Jodie Stevenson Banff Academy

“See how high you bounce when you hit the bottom” George S Patton

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Cindy Klassen is a Canadian long track speed skater who has won one gold, two silver and three bronze medals in the Winter Olympics. She currently holds three world records. This inspirational woman caught my eye when I found out how determined she was about the things that she loves. In July 2008 she had to have surgery in both her knees. Her doctor explained that the only way her knees would stop degenerating would be for Cindy to stop speed skating. This didn’t stop her; I admire her courage as she worked against her health as she wasn’t ready to give up one of her passions. She didn’t give up, and this inspires me never to give up on my dreams or on something I love and care about. She is very inspirational and I hope to follow in her footsteps by loving life and not wasting a minute! About the same time she needed surgery in both her knees, she found out that her sister was in a near fatal accident. Her life basically stopped, as she tried to take care of her sister while taking care of herself. Nothing stopped her, and her family, friends and doctor tried hard to stop her and calm her down. The doctor tried to get her to concentrate on her own health, but she didn’t listen as she never thinks of putting herself first. This motivates me to be a selfless person - she is so caring, thoughtful and considerate. I would love to be like her with the same qualities. When I hear the name Cindy Klassen the word fighter springs to mind. When I read about her I feel like I have the chance and possibility to be someone

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great and to be remembered for the right reasons in life. You only live once, so make your life matter and do extraordinary things with it!

Jennifer Willis Banff Academy

”He who asks is a fool for 5 minutes, but he who does not ask is a fool forever” Chinese Proverb

“Curiosity is the answer to creativity” Akio Morita James Cleveland Owens, also known as Jesse Owens has won 4 gold medals all in Berlin, in the 100 m, 200 m, 4x100 relay and lastly in the long jump. He was very good at sprint and long jump. His highest world ranking is 1st. I chose Jesse Owens as an inspirational figure because he believed in himself. He would follow his dreams and aim to do his best. Even when he was rejected, he pressed on. He never gave up. He took a step towards an achievement. This inspired me to do my best and follow my dreams. I should take everything in little steps to get a big achievement. No one can put me off no matter who I am, where I am, or what I am doing. His story inspires me to aim to do my best. No one should have to stop following their dreams because someone tells them to. They should carry their dreams to the highest they can. I hope Jesse Owens inspires kids to do their best and aim high. Even the racist view Hitler had did not put him down. Hitler did not hand him his medals, but he had followed his dreams and that is what he came for. I have never had to go through racism, but if it ever happens to me, I hope I will do what Jesse Owens did. He ignored it and carried on with his dreams. He was never put down and it inspires me to do the same.

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After researching about Jesse Owens and reading his story, I have started trying to do better at school. I aim higher with my work and try to do my best. I also have improved at home. I help more with the tidying because I know that if I do not tidy when I am older, I might not be able to carry on with my dreams. I also try to be a kind person to my family. I do this by helping my mum with the tidying and cleaning. I help my dad by getting him cups of tea when he is sick or busy. I help my big brother if he is sick or if he wants someone to talk to. I help my younger brother and sisters by looking after them so they can go out and play. These are just some of the things I do. I keep my room tidy, I help keep the living room tidy, I go to hall with my mum almost every night for company. Mostly I am there if they need me. I do all this because Jesse Owens inspires me never to give up and if I give up on my family, they might give up on me when I am older and need help. I just need to carry on and never give up. For Jesse winning was not everything, taking part and just being there were the things he really stood for. Even if I do not win my dreams, I would have taken part and been there, that is all that matters. So this is what I have learned from Jesse Owens, that I should aim high, press on with my dreams, never give up, let no one stop me, be a helpful person and know that taking part and being there is a dream come true!

Emma Reynolds

Bishops Blue Coat School

“If you’ve got that dream in front of you, you want to go to the Olympics or you want to achieve something, write it down as your goal and do everything possible to try and get it.”

I have learned lots about Mo Farah and other athletes and how much they have


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r e cheerful, confident and enthusiastic. These are the Olympic values and qualities that Amy Williams needed to succeed in her goal to win a gold medal in bobsleigh. She is very driven and is always striving to do better and achieve more. I think Amy achieved success because of how ambitious and committed she was to her sport. Without her drive she would have never achieved what she did. Also I think if Amy wasn’t fearless then she could never have done it. I find Amy Williams an inspiring person as she is very determined and has a kind heart. I admire Amy’s bravery when she is travelling so fast on the bobsleigh. I would like to live up to how caring and kind Amy is and also by how determined she is. She knows what she wants and is not going to give up until she gets it. I would also like to be as fearless as her. This quality would be good for me as I sometimes chicken out of things.

Courtney Roberts

Bishops Blue Coat School

“The more you dream – the further you get” Unknown Derek Redmond is a retired British athlete, He always dreamed of being n tio ia oc ss in the Olympics and when the chance © Press A finally came he had been forced to withdraw from the 400m at Seoul in 1988 because of an Achilles tendon Th e re’s injury! He underwent eight operations before a lot of pressure on young people. People the next Olympics in Barcelona. When they came are telling you “Don’t do that, do this,” and when around in 1992 this was his time, his moment I was at school there was so much pressure to go and his stage to show everyone how good he out and drink and to party and I just said no to really was and who he was! all of it. I was the boring one in bed at 9 o’clock or half nine. If you really know what you want to achieve, don’t let anyone else stop you, work and train hard. Amy Williams Olympics Values - focused, good at listening, fearless, reliable, committed, reliable, caring/kind, ambitious,

Everyone had bets on Derek Redmond to win this event, and as the pistol went, the race started. Everything was going well when suddenly just 200 metres to go, he fell to the ground in pain – his hamstring had snapped.

to do before they start a competition. - Gemma Montgomerie, Crosshouse Primary School

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As the race ended paramedics ran to his side as he got back onto his feet and began to hobble down the track with his one good leg. With 100 metres to go a man came running past security and put his arm around Derek, this man was Jim Redmond – his father!

of the Great Britain team that won the bronze medal at the 2004 summer Paralympics in Athens and the gold medal at the 2005 Paralympic World Cup in Manchester. Ade also commentated on wheelchair basketball for the BBC at the 2008 Beijing Paralympics.

His father asked him to stop yet Derek wanted to finish so one painful step at a time he limped onwards to the finish. A couple of steps from the finish line his father let Derek go and finish the race himself – he won a standing ovation. Today he does motivational speaking, inspiring people with his story of triumph at the Barcelona Olympics. As one of Britain’s greatest athletes I think Derek is able to bring a unique perspective to what it takes to set goals and succeed!

Wheelchair basketball is a unique sport. Basketball is played by disabled and able- bodied people. It is considered one of the major disabled sports. The International Wheelchair Basketball Federation (IWBF) is the governing body for this sport. IWBF has 82 National Organisations for Wheelchair Basketball actively participating in wheelchair basketball throughout the world with this number increasing each year. It is estimated that more than 100,000 people play wheelchair basketball from club play and as elite national team members. People often think that having a disability has a negative impact on someone’s life, but through sport you have a chance to turn it around. Sport helps you be successful and leave the past behind.

I have chosen Ade Adepiton because he inspires me in my tion © Press Associa disability to participate in a sport I can access, to enjoy and achieve at a higher level. Ade motivated me to be a successful person in life and conquer challenges. For example, I climbed Snowdon for Jenny Wilson a charity which helped other disabled people. Bishops Blue Coat School He did the same! I admire Ade’s determination and commitment to the sport and the people Ade Adepitan is a TV presenter and Olympic around him. I would like to become an inspiring wheelchair basketball player who is an inspiring and motivational speaker in sport, just like Ade, motivational and sporting conference and as I know this could change someone’s life, like keynote speaker. Surviving childhood polio has Ade changed mine! Ade has achieved his success gifted Ade with the tools to uplift his audience because of his own disability. on subjects such as hard times, success, peak performance and teamwork. Ade was a member

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Andrew Angus Braes High School

“A quitter never wins and a winner never quits” Napoleon Hill

“Champions aren’t made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them – a desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have the skill and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill” Muhammad Ali Sir Chris Hoy is able to live up to all of the Olympic and Paralympic values. I find him inspiring as he has had continuous success on the track and has been able to perform at the very highest level. He has had so much success as he has worked extremely hard to develop his talent for cycling. Sir Chris has shown great courage and determination to get to where he is today. His performances on the track are inspiring and are enough to make anyone believe that if they try hard enough, they can make it to the top. I would like to become a more determined and courageous person and show the characteristics that Sir Chris has. Sir Chris Hoy will be looking to achieve great success once again at the London 2012 Olympics.

Chloe Jones

Bridgend College, Studio 34, Further Education

“Your friend is your needs answered. She is your friend which you sow with love and reap with thanksgiving. And she is your board and your fireside. For you come to her with your hunger, and you seek her for peace”

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r e I find Marie-Jośe Pérec inspiring because she was world champion in the 400 m in Tokyo and 400 m champion at the Barcelona Olympics. She has also won more events. She inspires me because I like to run 400 m or 200 m and to see her running these laps and achieving her 7 gold medals. I admire her inspiration within herself and her determination. I also admire her lifestyle and the way she looks after herself. I wish I was as determined as her then I could maybe become like her one day, but I need to improve on my determination and with this I could carry on and be able to run like she can. I believe she had enough courage in herself and believed that she had enough determination to follow herself through and came first so many times that she must have had more than her competitors.

Jonathan Shane Quill Bridgend College, Studio 34, Further Education

“If it weren’t for me losing my legs, I don’t think I would’ve continued with my sport” Nathan Stephens I would have to say my sports inspiration is an old friend I went to school with who changed my perspective on a lot of things. He taught me a lot from the time I have known him and until this very day, he still impresses me and has taught me right from wrong. Nathan Stephens was born on 11 April 1988.

Kahlil Gibran

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Before his accident he used to play football and if his accident had never occurred, he would not have continued with his sport, which he has stated on many different occasions. On his 9th birthday, Nathan was involved in a terrible accident when a train ran over his legs and I would say this invented a new person, because of him competing in sports he became the youngest ever champion of his generation. He trained his butt off and showed maturity and understanding beyond his years. He never let his disability get in the way of anything and he is always positive. If you tell him he cannot do a certain sport, he will refuse that statement and prove you wrong. It is because his love of sport goes beyond the boundaries of his limitations due to his disability, he always likes to keep active and take part in many other activities.

Annabel Hunt Bridgewater Middle School

“It is a home Olympics, it’s a great opportunity� The person that I have chosen to write about is Jessica Ennis, a heptathlete, who competes for Great Britain. I chose her because she has done many inspiring things that have made me want to become a professional athlete even more. Jessica Ennis goes to a running club, just like I do. She has progressed immensely throughout the years and is now a professional athlete, competing at

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an international level. She has proven her immense talent by showing commitment and determination throughout everything that she is faced with. She has also put her name into the history books by becoming a double world champion. This has inspired me because she is very young, but she has shown that anything is possible. In 2006, Jessica achieved her first medal at her first major championships. In 2007, she equalled the 25 year-old British high jump record, which stands at 1.95 m. She must have been extremely hard working and committed at her training sessions in order to have done this. She has shown me that you have to put the effort in, in order to achieve great things. After the IAFF World Championships in Japan, she suffered from a nasty injury that prevented her from competing in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. However, in 2009, she made an amazingly successful comeback, by setting her own personal best and winning the event that she was competing at. This is probably the most inspiring thing, in my eyes, that she has done, because she kept calm and was patient when she was waiting to recover. I really admire her mostly for this because she did not let it get to her and she was determined to do her best at the next thing she did. It does not stop there though, because in 2010, she won a European Championship gold medal to add to her ever-growing collection. By doing this, she has shown

I have learned that even if you have a disability you can still achieve anything as long


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me that you can always do better and you cannot stop at anything, you just have to keep on going. In 2011, she won the Hypomeeting in Gotzis, and in 2012 we can expect great things from her in the London 2012 Games. She is an inspiration to me and to many others because she is a determined, hard working and committed athlete who always does her best.

Isobel Meaney Bridgewater Middle School

“Forcing to face your fear makes you realise that true bravery is not the absence of fear, but the ability to conquer it” Aimee Mullins’ coach Aimee Mullins was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania, USA in 1976. She was born with fibular hemimelia and had to have both of her legs amputated when she was one. She grew up in Ireland. Aimee signed up for the able-bodied people’s track for disabled people in High School because she felt it was unfair that disabled people could not run against able-bodied people. She won the track event and then went on to win the long jump, even though people with two legs amputated were not supposed to enter. She went to Georgetown University and became the first disabled athlete to compete in NCAA Division in track and field. Even though she has physical disabilities, she participated in many sports including softball and skiing. She broke the world record for long jump. Aimee wanted to go to the 1996 Paralympics in Atlanta, Georgia. She got her first pair of sprinting legs, but one of the legs slipped off and she lost. She did not get to the Paralympics because of it. Her coach pushed her to do 200 m and she broke the time, she also swept the Paralympic trials a month later. Aimee set Paralympic records for the 100 and 200 m dash.

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r e She was named USA track and field disabled athlete of the year and the national association of women in education’s 1997 woman of distinction. Mullins inspires me because she has achieved so much in her life and her amputated legs did not get in her way. Aimee has had a few roles on television and has been in numerous magazines. She has also been a runway model for Alexander McQueen.

Flora Reid

Broughton High School

“When I race, my mind is full of doubts – who will finish second, who will finish third?” Noureddine Morceli Billy Mills was to everyone just a runner that could run a decent race. This South Dakota-born Native American was not particularly special, he had not won many races and the chance of a medal seemed remote. But at the 10,000 m final in the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games, Billy Mills became the first and only American Olympian to ever win the 10,000 m gold medal. During the race, Billy ran nearly a whole minute faster than he had in any other race, he stayed out at the front of the race

with the leaders, but became boxed in until at the final moment he went wide and took a strong hold on first place, breaking

as you believe in yourself. - Teigan McCann, Crosshouse Primary School

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through the finish tape and winning the gold medal. Growing up, Billy had a less fortunate life. He lived in poverty and when he was 8 years old his mother died. Billy’s father told him that he should not let his emotions “destroy him”. All through his life Billy remembered his father’s words. As he got older, Billy became more vulnerable to racial comments. In many photos taken he was asked to stay out of the shot and this led him to a mental breakdown. Very soon afterwards, he decided to commit suicide. Billy came so close to killing himself, but just before he did, he remembered his father’s words and decided to keep on going. He soon discovered he had a passion for running and this helped him through his emotional phase. He trained for years and finally made it to the Olympic Games. Billy ended his athletic career and became focused on supporting the Native American youth, encouraging them to keep on going, no matter what happens. He now works with his charity Running Strong for American Indian Youth and shares his words of wisdom with people all over the world. What caught me most about Billy was that even when he was at breaking point, he never gave up, it did not matter that he had no parents, lived in poverty and was racially abused, he just took it all and kept on going. Then, even at the age of 74, Billy still pushes people forward to help them reach their goals. Sometimes it is easier altogether to just give up and stop, but Billy Mills showed us that achieving something after working so hard to get it, takes great pride and strength, something that Billy has caused me to aspire to accomplish.

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Marie-Julie Cnudde Bryngwyn School

“I’m just glad I’m healthy and moving well, … looking back, the injury was the best thing that could have happened to me. I had time to learn about myself. Now I have friends and a life off the road. This victory means more to me than the other wins here because of the injuries I’ve had in the past” Kim Clijsters will be playing for the first time in the Olympics this summer of 2012. Although she started her professional tennis career in 1997, she has not taken part in any of the previous Olympics for various reasons. Although Kim

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has recently suffered from an injury and she is still recovering, she will be attending the London 2012 Olympics, after sheer determination. She will be missing Roland Garros, to focus fully on Wimbledon and the summer Olympics. Kim Clijsters is an inspiration to me because she made a comeback. She showed the world that she might not be the youngest player anymore, but that she could still play tennis to the best of her ability and win a grand slam title. She retired on 6 May 2007 and came back on 11 August 2009, after getting married and having a daughter. This shocked Belgium and they were gobsmacked when in 2010 she won the world championships and the US Open. This shows that by just having determination, you can achieve anything. She is also very close to fellow Belgian and professional tennis player Justine Henin, whom she has faced many times in grand slams. This shows true friendship and respect.

Chelsea May

Bryngwyn School

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you strength, the patience and the passion to reach for the starts to change the world” Harriet Tubman Every four years the Olympics come around and thousands flock to the new venue that will hold these prestigious games. This year, 2012, the Games are held in London. The equestrian competition at London this year is made up of three disciplines: dressage, eventing and

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r e jumping. Each discipline requires different skills from the riders and horses competing. My family and I are big equestrian fans and own several horses ourselves. I love to ride and jump fences and I would love to represent Great Britain in the Olympics, as riding is one of my passions, like my role model Anna Ross Davies. Anna started riding when she was 9 years of age at a local riding school where she became a very enthusiastic ‘pony helper’ and she rode a great variety of horses and ponies. When she reached 20, she took her BHSA; her examiners suggested that she took the intermediate exam, but she needed more training, so she began a course with Sue Payne FBHS. She could not pay for it, so she started trying to find a way to make the money. She got a job making sandwiches starting at 4 am. Sandwich making was followed by teaching, and then she did bar work in the evenings. She worked 7 days and nights a week, but her riding improved greatly. This is one of the things I look up to Anna for - she pushed herself to get where she wanted to go. She then went to Talland School of Equitation and had several dressage lessons, and eventually she was allowed to ride Pammy Hutton’s retired grand prix horse, Blazeaway. That is when Anna knew she wanted to make it to the Olympics. Anna is most known for one dressage horse that she trained with several years trying to tame him, the Holstein gelding called Liebling. She rode with the British team on him for 2 years and he was the non-travelling reserve for the Beijing Olympics in 2008. In 2007, she won the British equestrian award for outstanding achievement and in 2008 the British dressage personality of the year. This is why I admire Anna. She has made so much for herself out of nothing and nothing has stopped her reaching for her dream no matter what the cost. One day, I want to be like Anna,

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living my dream, showing other people, like Anna did, that they can get where they want to go no matter what. I want to be the person younger people aspire to be!

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He entered the Beijing Olympics. He had been working so hard to do this and he never gave up. He was training for a very long time to achieve this goal. In this competition he made it to the top quarter-finals, which he never expected. He also won the gold medal at the 2005 World Badminton Olympics.

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Joni Dalziel

Cleveden Secondary School

“I am thankful I didn’t quit” Howard Bach

“The will to win is important, but the will to prepare is vital” Joe Paterno

“The great pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do” Walter Bagehot I have chosen Howard Bach, who is a professional badminton player. He has been playing since he was 5. His dad has inspired him to play, as his dad was also a badminton player. His dad wanted him to follow in his footsteps and become a champion. When Howard was 16, he knew that he wanted to dedicate his life to badminton.

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Excellence is another value that Howard has shown. He has been focused on badminton since he started playing, which is a good quality to have if you want to pursue your dream of becoming an Olympic athlete. He was very ambitious when he was young. He did not know what he wanted to be until he started playing badminton. Once he got started, he never stopped. He is also very resilient. He kept on trying when he lost at the world championships. He never gave up.

Howard has not stopped practising. He has never given up on anything and that is a great way to do things. He has always been so positive in whatever he is doing. If he loses in a game of badminton, he will keep going and he will not get himself down. He will try his best whatever happens. If he is losing during a game he will keep playing the way that he should. There is nothing that will stop him from trying his best and nothing will ever get in the way of him. I think Howard Back is very inspiring. I would love to have a life like his. I would love to be as focused as him and as ambitious as him because I do not know what I am going to do with my life, but when he was as young as 10, he knew that he wanted to dedicate his life to badminton. He has a great life and is doing something he loves to do and he enjoys.

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Rachel McGurk

Cleveden Secondary School

“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, learning from failure” Colin Powell

“It is never too late to be what you might have been” George Eliot I have chosen Natalia Partyka, born without a right hand and forearm, Paralympic and Olympic gold medallist. Partyka achieved two gold medals and a silver medal in the 2008 Beijing Paralympics and was one of two Paralympic athletes to compete in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Growing up with a sister four years her elder helped Partyka achieve the determination that is now so much a part of her athletic life. Starting at age 7, Partyka took on sibling Sandra on the table tennis court. Although at first she was beaten over and over again, she never stopped dreaming of the day that she would defeat her older sister. When she finally did win, it was not just her sister she toppled. At only 11 years old, Partyka represented her country in the 2000 Sydney Paralympics, the youngest player in any sport to compete. Four years later, after battling in Athens, Partyka returned to Poland with the gold. Natalia competed in both the 2008

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r e summer Olympics and the 2008 summer Paralympics in Beijing. They were her third Paralympics Games and her first Olympics. Natalia showed many qualities during her training and competitions. For example, she was ambitious when she tried table tennis for the first time, she was patient when she could not beat her sister, she was loyal when training because she did not give up, she was fearless when she entered the Paralympics and the Olympics, she was hard working when she won gold medals and she was modest when she first entered the Olympics. I find Natalia very inspiring as she managed to achieve her dreams and all these qualities with only one arm. I would like to be like Natalia when she is patient because she managed to get where she is today by being patient. If I am impatient I will get annoyed easily and give up fast, but if I am patient I will keep trying until I achieve my best! I also want to be ambitions because she would not be in the Paralympics and Olympics if she was not ambitious to try table tennis. I am not very ambitious and I am reluctant to try new things, but if I were ambitious I might find something I really enjoy doing and I might be very good at it!

Oscar Cartwright Deptford Green School

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“I wouldn’t say anything is impossible. I think that everything is possible as long as you put your mind to it and put the work and time into it” Michael Phelps I have chosen swimmer Michael Phelps as my inspiring athlete. He was born on 30 June 1985 in the state of Maryland in the USA. He has won 16 Olympic medals making him the most successful Olympic athlete ever. He won 6 gold

best in everything I do. - Andrew Graham, Hamilton School for the Deaf

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and 2 bronze in the 2004 Athens Olympics and 8 gold in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Before the 2008 games, he had a target to win 8 gold medals to set a new record. He stuck by his hope and look where he is today, a 16 time gold Olympic medallist. He started swimming at 7 years old. By the time he was 10, he held the record for the best in his age group and was the youngest male swimmer to break a world record aged 15 years and 9 months. I chose him because he gave up everything to follow his dream. He trains 6 days a week and 5 hours a day. He had to give up going out with his friends and train all day instead of maybe going to a party or other social events. After the Beijing games, Michael Phelps received a $1 m bonus from his partner Speedo, which he used to found the Michael Phelps Foundation. The foundation encourages children to start swimming and promotes healthy living. It is hard to believe that at age 7 Michael was afraid to put his head under water! Yet by age 16, he was an Olympic standard swimmer in all 4 strokes! The Foundation also provides funding for talented

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swimmers so that they have a chance of achieving Olympic standard whatever financial background they come from.

Roseanna Kendall Elgin High School

“To bloom freely – that is my definition of success” Gerry Spence I think Chemmy Alcott is a very inspiring winter Olympic athlete because when faced with many physical setbacks, she has not let them have a negative effect on her mentally. She has bounced back to become stronger and with more determination, willpower and courage to keep on going. When she was just 18 months old, she skied for the first time. At just 8, she was competing in skiing competitions. Unfortunately, when she was 12, she sustained a serious neck injury. Over her teenage years, she built up her strength again and became part of the GB ski team. Between 2006 and 2010, she had operations to remove bone spurs from her feet, broke her ankle, unexpectedly lost her mother and had her worst fall yet. She fell during training and broke her leg in 2 places. She has refused to watch the footage of the fall so she can keep a positive mindset. She had been enjoying many non-ski related activities and challenges, including skydiving, windsurfing, performing on ‘Dancing on Ice’, mountain climbing and supporting many charity events and campaigns to help build up the strength to ski again. I think these steps taken away from her fall have been taken in a hugely, bright, optimistic manner and shows that even though you can be knocked back, that is no reason to give up.

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Jessica Thorburn Errol Primary School

“Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail to begin again” Ralph Waldo Emerson Derek Redmond inspires me because when he was running in the Olympics in Barcelona in 1992 for the gold medal, he was expected to win, but he pulled a hamstring in his left leg. As he saw the other runners go past him, his Olympic dream ended, but Derek refused to give up and kept on going. Some people tried to stop him completing the race, but he was determined. His dad came on the track and together they got to the finish line, but before they got there though, his dad let him go so that he could cross the line himself. 65,000 people were clapping and cheering him on as he finished. Derek inspires me because he did not give up. He inspires me never to give up on the things I want to finish or on the people I love. When I am older, I will not give up on my goal of making an Olympic centre for children and being kind and helpful. I do not know Derek personally, but I have read about the work he has done since 1992. He loved athletics so much that he has spent the last 20 years working with young aspiring athletes.

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r e He tries to pass on knowledge, enthusiasm and love for young children and sport. We all know that it is a good thing to keep fit and be active. There are too many children who cannot keep safe and active. In the world there are not enough parks and safe play areas. My Olympic centre will be open for children to keep them safe and have fun and be active. As we anticipate, the excitement offered by the Olympics in England this year, let us not forget all the athletes competing and striving to achieve gold. I hope that those who do not will not give up and rise like a phoenix from the ashes to begin again. Let their motto be “Next time in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, I will succeed.”

Tabitha Freeburn Glasgow Gaelic School

“Life is no brief candle to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got a hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations” George Bernard Shaw The person I admire is Kelly Holmes. She is an inspiration to us all, as she continues to represent Britain’s sporting legacy abroad and campaigns for children’s sport. Kelly Holmes is a long-distance runner who received double Olympic gold at the age of 34. In the 800 m final at the 2004 Athens games, she moved past defending champion Maria Mutola. The finish was so close that she did not know she had won. In the final of the 1500 m, she burst into the lead at the final turn and earned her second gold medal. At 34, she was the oldest woman to win the 800 m or the 1500 m, let alone both of them.

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She is very inspiring because in 2008, she created the DKH Legacy Trust to support young athletes and help the lives of young people across the UK. She thinks of others before herself, which is what I find admirable, as well as her determination despite her injuries. Not only is she inspiring me, but she is inspiring many young athletes that will probably aspire to be like her too. Everyone gets inspired including Kelly Holmes. She was inspired by an Olympian too and she aspired to be like that Olympian. Without inspiration or aspiration, we would not be who we are now. Inspiration can come from anyone and anything; from that we get aspiration. I was inspired by Kelly Holmes’ determination and so I will aspire to be as determined as she is.

Emma Wilkie

Glenlee Primary School

“Every day, in every way, I’m getting better and better” Emile Coué

“To do more than the world has done for you, that is success” Napoleon My figure skating coach is called Sylvanna Reid. She won the Olympics when she was only 19 years old. She is now 28 years old. When she was only 6 years old, she and her coach worked really hard to pass all of her figure skating badges, so that her coach could enter her into competitions and win medals and trophies. She won her first trophy when she just turned 7 years old and from then on the harder she worked, the more medals and trophies she won. Her coach was so proud of her. She kept training and worked so hard that she managed to get into the Olympics. She was determined to succeed in her routine and because she did not give up, she managed to achieve her goal and win the Olympic figure skating.

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My figure skating coach inspires me because when she was just a little girl, she was just like me. She started off as a little girl that could not ice skate very well, but when she joined the figure skating club, worked very hard to pass all of her figure skating badges. She then became a member of the Nisa Club so that she could enter competitions and win medals and trophies. She inspires me because I want to be just like her and represent my country in figure skating.

Kirstin Mackay Golspie High School

“Creativity + persistence + fearlessness = nothing is impossible” Jessica Cox was born in Tucson, Arizona. She was born with no arms and so had to learn to do with tion her feet what others do © Press Associa with their hands. Doctors did not, and still do not know why she was born like this. Although she is very unfortunate to be born with no arms, she has never let it stop her from doing the things that she wants to do or be the person she is. The way she has got on with her life and made the best possible life with her condition makes her a huge inspiration to not only me, but for others all over the world. Jessica’s mother, Inez Cox, inspired Jessica. She showed her that it is not what you look like, it is what is on the inside that counts. From a young age Inez wanted Jessica to have the best possible chance in life. She used to put toys in Jessica’s feet and Jessica would play with them like that.

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Although Jessica had no arms, she found a way to make doing things, though impossible for her, much easier. At the age of 3, Jessica was enrolled in gymnastic classes and doing things any normal child could do. By the time she was 6, she was swimming in the backyard pool and tapping out rhythms in dance classes.

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r e hands. She took 3 years instead of the usual 6 months for her to complete her lightweight aircraft licence. She needed 3 flying instructors and practised 89 hours of flying before she was able to take the test. Jessica is an inspiration to me because she has not let her disability get in the way of her life and she has gone out into the world and done what she wanted to do and be the person she wanted to be.

Ezgi Denli

Gracemount High School

“We cannot be sure of having something to live for unless we are willing to die for it” Ernesto Che Guevara Jesse Owens: the legend who is remembered around the world as the best athlete in Olympic history for his stunning achievement of 4 gold medals in the 1936 Olympic games in Berlin under the Nazi controlled Germany.

Jessica started wearing prostheses when she was 2, but stopped using them as much by the 7th grade because she had found her own way to do things. Amongst other things, she has also learnt to drive a car (she has an unrestricted licence and drives a car with modifications), to type on a keyboard (25 words per minute), to pump her own gas and to put in and remove contact lenses. She also likes to swim, ice skate and is a certified scuba diver. Today, she cooks, eats, washes dishes, curls her own hair, writes and types with her feet. Jessica earned her pilot’s licence this year by taking the test in a special, modified plane called ‘The Ercoupe’. This plane is one of the few planes to be made and certified without pedals. Without these pedals, Jessica was free to use her feet as

Jesse Owens born in September 1913 inspires me in many ways. Firstly, being an African American, he was a grandson of a slave and despite the inequality and discrimination (that still even exists today), he achieved what no Olympian before him had accomplished. His promising athletic career began in 1928. Throughout Junior High School and High School, Owens signed his name under many amazing achievements (resulting in him being called up by dozens of colleges). One of those achievements was that he got the world record in 220 yard dash by running the distance in 20.7 seconds! To make it even better is that when he started the Ohio State University, they could not offer a track scholarship and yet Owens never gave up! He worked in many different kinds of jobs to support himself and his young wife, Ruth. These were jobs such as a night elevator operator, waiter, he pumped gas and many more.

goals and achieve them. - Stephanie Anderson, Colinton Primary School

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Personally, I think living in the early 20th century in America and working at these jobs already seems very challenging and the fact that Jesse Owens did these between practice and record setting on the field intercollegiate competition, makes him inspiration once again. The turning point for Jesse Owens was after his success at the 1935 big 10 championships, which gave him the courage and confidence to enter the 1936 Olympics. They were held in Nazi Germany under the control of Adolf Hitler, the dictator who ended 6,000,000 innocent lives in extremely brutal ways. The leader who had the atrocious thought that his pure, clean “Aryan” race was superior and that any other race would be considered inferior and seen almost not human.

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Stuart Nelson

Grosvenor Grammar School Carl Lewis was an amazing American sprinter and long jumper. He won 9 gold medals and one silver medal in the Olympic Games from 19841988. He was also very successful in the World Championships achieving 8 gold medals, one silver medal and one bronze medal. He frequently topped the world rankings in the 100 m, 200 m and long jumping events from 1981 to the early 1990s. He set records in the 100 m, 4 x100 m and 4 x 200 m relays. His world record

In my opinion, there should not be anything or anyone questioning Owens’ bravery. He became the first American track and field athlete to win 4 gold medals in a single Olympiad. There might be others that have won more gold medals that Jesse, but his space will always remain untouched as an astonishing inspiration. He discredited Hitler’s master race theory! Jesse is an inspirational figure to be looked up to, because during a time of deep-rooted segregation, he proved to the world that no matter what the struggle is, dreams can come true. Even when he faced, in my opinion, the most painful issue: racism. Jesse has given hope to millions, as a speaker, as a brilliant athlete and through all his actions and achievements. He did everything to help people with the little wealth that he had. He worked with youths, giving them courage and support to not give up on life. Long live Jesse; you will always be a hero within our hearts!

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in the indoor long jump has stood since 1985 and his 65 consecutive victories in the long jump achieved over a span of 10 years is one of the sport’s longest undefeated streaks. His lifetime accomplishments have led to numerous accolades, including being voted “Sportsman of the Century” by the International Olympic Committee and being named “Olympian of the Century” by the American sports magazine “Sports Illustrated”. He also helped transform


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track and field from its nominal amateur status to its current professional status, therefore, enabling athletes to have better and longerlasting careers. I have chosen Carl Lewis as my Olympian because he epitomises everything that I want to achieve in sport. He was determined to be the best in everything he did. He practised and practised and worked hard to achieve his goals. All his hard work paid off by winning 9 gold medals in the Olympic Games, something that not very many other people have achieved. I want to achieve in sport as well and I want to play to the best possible standard. I think that it is important that you set realistic goals for yourself and try your very best to meet them. Lewis was also helped by the fact that his mum and sister were both athletes and Olympians; they helped him and encouraged him to train hard. This is the same situation with me, although my dad is not a famous sportsman, he still helps me and encourages me when I play sport. He will praise me when I do well and achieve, but he will also tell me my weaknesses and what I need to improve on. In my opinion having someone to help you and encourage you is extremely important if you want to achieve in anything, not only in sport and athletics. I want to win medals and trophies like Lewis did, although I may not be up to the same standard as him.

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Katie Taylor

Grosvenor Grammar School

“I feel lucky that I have found my talent, what riding has given me is respect” Robert Philip The Paralympic athlete I have chosen to write about is Lee Pearson. He is a Paralympic games gold medallist in dressage. He was born on 4 February 1974 with arthrogryposis multiplex congenital, which is a rare disorder that is known as multiple joint contractures and can include muscle weakness and fibrosis. When he was born, his right foot was wrapped around his left knee, his left foot wrapped around his right knee, his arms and hands were horribly twisted and he had a birthmark covering half his face and the top of his head. But he went from that to a 9 times Paralympic games gold medallist representing Britain in Sydney, Athens and Beijing. Also he has 6 World Championship, 3 European titles, a notable victory in an able-bodied national championship event at Hickstead and being voted BBC Midlands “Sports Personality of the year”. I find Lee Pearson inspiring because he did not let being disabled hold him back and he was determined enough to do this, and achieve lots of great things. I admire the way he knew that he had to just get on in life and not let his disability get in the way. I think Lee Pearson is ambitions, appreciative, confident, hard working and committed. If he had not been hard working and committed, he would not have got where he is today and would not have stuck at it and tried as hard. He is appreciative because he knows he does not have the best, but he still does what he wants to do. He is very inspiring because of all that he has been through and that he still did very well for himself; he deserves those gold medals.

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Bonnie MacRae Grove Academy

“All our dreams can come true – if we have the courage to pursue them” Walt Disney Simon Richardson was born in 1966, which makes him 46 years old. He grew up in a small town in Wales called Porthcawl. In 2001, he was involved in a car crash leaving him with serious back and leg problems and no feeling down the left side of his body. Before the accident, Simon was a keen cyclist and in order for his injuries to heal, his doctor advised him to start training again. In 2008, Simon competed in the Beijing Paralympics and won a gold medal for the men’s 1km cycling time trial. He broke the world record for this event and later won another gold and a silver medal for his achievements. On 31 December, it was announced that Simon was to receive an MBE for services to disabled sport.

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Sadly, in August 2011, he was injured once again as he was struck down by a hit and run driver leaving him with a fractured spine, broken pelvis and breastbone, cuts to his leg and a detached lung. This incident means that it is very unlikely we will see Simon at the 2012 London Paralympics, despite being a top contender for the games. I find Simon’s story very inspirational because no matter what he keeps on trying and succeeding. The terrible events that have happened to him give him even more determination to carry on. Simon’s story makes me think that no matter what, you can do anything you want if you try hard enough. I would like to be as inspirational as Simon, never give up and always follow my dreams.

Ershad Ahmadi

Henry Compton School My inspiration is someone called Rohullah Nikpai. He is a taekwondo Olympic bronze medallist. I have seen that he is very loyal due to the fact he came from a country with no hope, and that country is Afghanistan. He brought hope to Afghanistan and everyone was proud. What led to him be a champion is commitment, determination and courage. From when he was 10, he started training; this during the bloody conflict over the capital, which is why his family left the city and went to Iran’s many refugee camps. Even though this had happened his commitment kept him where he was and now he is the first Olympic medallist in Afghanistan. Also he was very determined as he spent most of his day practising and little did he know that he would be an Afghanistan Olympic achiever. He was very courageous to go to Beijing and fight 16 fights; his courage helped him beat a twice time world champion Juan Antonia Ramus of Spain. I am inspired by him due to the fact he is a peace bringer and he brought hope. He does

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taekwondo, which I do not know about, but I am determined to try hard even if one day I am not like him I will still be proud of what I have achieved. I am saying this due to the fact that not everyone is going to be a winner, there will be always someone standing in your way. One day you are a loser, but even a loser can go to an extent to be a winner. At the end of his fight, he kissed the floor, which meant he was thankful. He was not selfish and he never judged. I think this is what made him a winner. He is a star on my wall and I will always remember what he has achieved. If I am never like him, I will always look up to him.

Maryam Salim

Hillpark Secondary School

“Don’t tell me what you think I can do, tell me what you think I can’t and I will do it anyway” In 2009, I injured my wrist and I was devastated; no more gymnastics for me, I thought. Then one day I was on the Internet and I saw breaking news that read, Shawn Johnson, who won gold and 3 silver medals in the 2008 Beijing Games, was on a vacation to celebrate her 18th birthday. She wrote about the injury on a blog posted Sunday to her website. Johnson wrote … “The one thing that scared me the most when this happened was the possibility I could not return to gymnastics even if I wanted to.” Johnson said “Up until now, I’ve always had that option so I’ve always been comfortable. The thought that option might be gone, killed me!” Then I thought, why can I not still be a gymnast, get to live the life she did and – you never know – maybe even make it to the Olympics. After all, she started off the same way as I did. Ever since I’ve been following her footsteps hoping to reach the top and completely forgetting I even injured myself. That is why I think Shawn Johnson is a star. Shawn had a

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r e passion from a very early age to climb she could always be found on the jungle gym at a day-care or shimmying up the sides of swing sets to reach the top. With an obvious interest in anything physical, from ‘riding’ the vacuum cleaner to wrestling with her cousins, mum and dad were challenged early on to find activities that would satisfy Shawn. After attempts at dance class and group tumbling classes, Shawn found happiness in gymnastics. With padded floors and plenty of things for Shawn to safely climb on during gymnastics class, life was very good at the Johnson house. Mum and dad were thrilled to turn her loose. From tot to teen Shawn was eager to try almost anything. A daredevil at heart, she would always gravitate to activities that were physically challenging.

Sam Eccles

Hyndland Secondary School

“The greatest disability is a bad mindset” When I think of a hero, I think of someone who is courageous in overwhelming situations and has the strength to persevere through it. A hero should have certain qualities such as leadership, courageousness and responsibility. When I think about heroes, the first person who comes to mind is Johnny ‘Sticky’ Budden who ran 1,000 miles from the top of Scotland to the South of France. I also think of him because he is a practitioner of the sport parkour which is one of my favourite sports. He also inspires me because the reason he was doing this challenge was to raise money for a charity supporting motor neurone disease, which is an illness that paralyses the body. Knowing that some people have this disease makes me very grateful for the freedom of movement that I have. It is important to have heroes and good role models because they inspire you to achieve more and give you hope in difficult circumstances. Having a hero

people out there. - Zowie Norton, Craigentinny Primary School

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Celebrating Aspiration

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“I think that because of this project, I have been able to recognise my strengths, what I need to work on, and what I want to achieve in the future.”

“It is hard to imagine a programme that captures more precisely the spirit of the Olympics than the Inspire-Aspire programme. It was a privilege to present the awards and to be reminded of the extraordinary talent waiting to be unleashed in our young people.” Rt. Hon. Dame Tessa Jowell MP

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The Inspire-Aspire Awards events were hosted in five different venues across the UK including Hampden Stadium in Glasgow, Stormont in Belfast and Forman’s Fish Island in London in June and July 2012. Hundreds of national finalists were chosen from over 37,000 young people who participated in the programme and invited to attend the Awards ceremonies with their parents and teachers. Shadow Olympics Minister Dame Tessa Jowell MP, Olympic heroes Derek Redmond and Liz McColgan, and Paralympic legends David Roberts and Michael McKillop were among our keynote speakers who delivered inspirational speeches at the events.

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can also provide guidance and it can give you a better understanding of life. I think adults and teenagers have different attitudes to heroes because there is a difference in the maturity of each group. Adults admire people because they show certain qualities that make them a hero. However, teenagers choose their role models based on what a stereotypical hero is portrayed to be, which can be things such as preventing crime or saving somebody from a fire. Young people tend to look to the music, film and sports industries to choose their heroes. I think this is because these three factors are an important role in teenagers’ lives. The media could affect the heroes people choose because they tend to focus on famous people. But at the same time they can introduce us to unheard heroes. An example of a media hero who is admired for his wealth is someone like Sir Richard Branson who started the company Virgin even though he was dyslexic.

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big - not even diseases and illness can hold you back and they still fight on when most people would give up.

Nathan McCann

Hyndland Secondary School

“In the dust of defeat as well as the laurels of victory there is a glory to be found if one has done his best” Eric Liddell

We have been taught in school about heroes of the past, these are people like Eric Liddell who despite being the fastest man in the world, decided to go to China and become a missionary. Everyday heroes are usually overlooked, but ordinary people commit acts of bravery every day. For example people who have jobs like the police, the army or the firefighters have to be brave every day because they never know what dangers they will have to face. It is possible that we all know someone who has done something very brave - it could be a member of our own family or a close friend. For example, my grandfather once helped a man who was being attacked by over five people. In my personal opinion a real hero is someone who is brave in dangerous situations no matter how big or small the situation is. To conclude, the heroes of the new millennium are people like Johnny Budden and Richard Branson, as they both prove that no task is too

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Eric Henry Liddell throughout his life showed great determination, perseverance and dedication in religion and sport. Liddell was a Scottish athlete and rugby union international player for the national side who was born on16 January 1902 in Teintsin, Northern China. Liddell was the second son of two Scottish missionaries. Liddell attended school in China until the age of 5 and at the age of 6 was enrolled in Eltham College in England for the sons of missionaries.

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When his parents visited Britain from China regularly, they lived in Edinburgh. At Eltham, Liddell was an exceptional sportsman winning the Blackheath Cup, a prestigious prize for the best athlete in his year. As Eric grew older, he became captain of the cricket and rugby union teams. Liddell became well known for being the fastest runner in Scotland and newspapers spread the stories of his great feats on the track and tipped him for future Olympic greatness. After leaving Eltham, Liddell then went to study science at the University of Edinburgh whilst playing rugby and being part of the athletics club at the University as well. Through hard work, Eric then made the Scotland rugby squad and played several internationals in the strong back row. He then represented Britain winning the 100 yards in a record of 9.7 seconds, which would stand for 35 years, and the 220 yards in 21.6 seconds at the AAA international championships. In 1924, Eric Liddell rose to the greatest event of his life, the Paris Olympics. As Liddell was a devout Christian, he refused to run in his specialised 100m event as the heats were on a Sunday, which was the Christian Sabbath. Liddell put his beliefs before himself and withdrew from the event several months early. Instead he began to train in Scotland to run the 400 m. When the day of the 400 m race came, Liddell placed his trust in God and received a note from

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r e an American athlete at the starting block which said “those who honour me, I will honour”. This was a motto Liddell adopted and held tight as he began to race. With God and bagpipes spurring him on, Liddell won gold in a record time of 47.6 seconds, which was an Olympic record which stood for many years. He won bronze in the 200 m a few days earlier. Eric continued racing and gained a Bachelor of Science degree at University. After this, he then became a missionary in Teintsin, China where he was born, teaching science, Christianity and sport to children. Sadly Liddell only lived to the age of 43 after suffering from a brain tumour and died on 21 February 1945. He was mourned hugely in China and in Scotland. His last words were “it’s complete surrender” in reference to devoting his life to God. Inspired by Liddell 56 years later in the 1980 Moscow Olympics, Allan Wells won gold in the 100 m and proudly stated that “This one was for Liddell, Eric Liddell” with tears in his eyes. Eric Liddell lived a short yet purposeful life. He spread the word of Christianity and put his religion and others before himself. He was a selfless and determined individual who gave his best and tried his hardest for other people. Eric Liddell is the greatest Scottish athlete to ever have lived and was as hugely loved individual then as he is today. He makes me proud to be Scottish.

Beth Aitken

Inverurie Academy

“Always aim for the moon, even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars” W Clement Stone Natalie Du Toit is a very inspirational South African swimmer. As a teenager in Cape Town, Natalie was an outstanding young swimmer and

things go wrong. - Jessica Thorburn, Errol Primary School

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many people had their eyes on her as a potential Olympic athlete. She set multiple national records at the age of 14 and qualified for the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur, which is an amazing achievement in itself. After this, her focus was firmly set on a 2002 Commonwealth Games medal, but this dream was tragically cut short. In February 2002, as she had just finished her morning workout, she set off for school on her scooter, but before she got there, she was involved in a horrific accident in which her left leg was seriously injured. The doctors tried to save the leg, but there was no hope. They amputated at the knee a few days later. Everyone was devastated, but being the kind of woman she is, Natalie was back in the pool just three months after her operation – she was still unable to walk. Her goal was to compete at the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games, and she did, but not as a disabled swimmer. Natalie became the first athlete with a disability ever to compete in an able-bodied final at the Commonwealth Games. In 2004, she competed in the Paralympic games in Sydney and won 5 gold medals and one silver medal. tion However, Natalie’s © Press Associa goal had always been to compete at an Olympics and after narrowly missing out to the 2004 Olympics, she set her sights on Beijing. In 2008, she realised her dream and became the first amputee ever to compete at an Olympic Games. Natalie Du Toit is an inspiration to me because she has shown me that if I work hard and am focused on what I want to achieve,

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I can reach my goals no matter how many or how big the setbacks are on the way. She never gave up and always believed in herself. Some people might have sat there and felt sorry for themselves, but Natalie did not; she took the positive out of life and put what she does have to great use. She showed the world that even with her disability, she can be as good as any able-bodied person. Natalie is always smiling and has a positive attitude towards life. This is an inspiration to everybody and we could all learn from her, that you should never say that something is impossible. She has shown me that anything can be achieved if you put your mind to it.

Amber Neil

Inverurie Academy

“Nothing is impossible, the word itself says ‘I’m possible’!” Audrey Hepburn When it came to picking an Olympian that inspired me, I must admit I found the task quite daunting seeing as I myself am far from sporty and in all seriousness, sport is all that comes to mind when the word Olympian is mentioned to me. Exactly how would someone whose goal in life is to compete in sporting events for a living inspire me in my own life, which I can guarantee you is practically sport-free? But upon researching, I came across a familiar name and found there was more to being inspirational that I had not thought about before.


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J C Owens, more commonly known as Jesse Owens, was most famous for his stupendous win of 4 gold medals in Berlin at the Olympics in 1936. He was born the 7th child in a family of 11 in Alabama and, as a child, Owens was prone to sickness, but throughout his life and his training, he managed to overcome this and become one of the greatest Olympians of all time. That instantaneous moment of standing before the world, a black man in a Hitler-ruled Germany, winning gold; persistence, fearlessness and courage all being showcased in that one moment, everything I could ever dream to be. He has inspired me to be me, regardless of the outcome, because in the end we are people, not labels, as labels are for clothes. We are all worth gold, no matter our background. If he could face the world, stand against the prejudice of a corrupt society while doing what he loved and still pull through the other side as a hero, then there is hope for us all.

Amelia Mah

Kinross High School

“I’ve stopped trying to be perfect. When I train, I’m not afraid to make a mistake. I train harder and make more mistakes, but I feel more prepared. I am not holding back and becoming a better athlete” “It’s when you don’t win that you learn things about yourself. Everything I’ve gone through has made me who I am today” Sasha Cohen was born on 26 October 1984 in Westwood, California. She started as a gymnast, but switched to figure skating at the age of 7. As of 2011, Sasha is enrolled as a student at Colombia University and speaks Russian. Like Sasha, I am also a competitive figure skater and I

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compete internationally, so this is why Sasha inspires me… Sasha inspires me because she does more than just figure skating. She has done commercials for “Simply Saline” and “Got Milk?” She also appeared in episode 7 of the second season of “Project Runway” where designers were challenged to design a skating dress for her. In 2005, Sasha published her autobiography called “Fire on Ice”. She also starred in a movie called “Moondance Alexander” as a main character. The movie was about horse riding, which I enjoy as well as figure skating. In 2007, she appeared as herself in “Blades of Glory” and later that year she also had a role in Bratz: “The Movie on Ice”. I love Sasha because she has many talents and not just skating. She acts, sings, dances, teaches yoga and pilates, skates, rides and she is also an author! Sasha is the first skater to have received a level of 3+ for her spirals with the new judging system and is known as the most flexible skater alive. Sasha has won many gold medals, including the 2006 winter Olympics and World Championships.

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medals in a single Olympic games. This success won her many other awards.

Lumen Christi College

“To create more positive results in your life replace ‘if only’ with ‘next time’” “I believe that everything happens for a reason. People change so that you can learn to let go. Things go wrong so that you appreciate them when they’re right. You believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself, and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together” Marilyn Monroe

“Why fit in when you were born to stand out?” Amy Van Dyken was an American swimmer who competed in the 1996 Atlanta and 2000 Sydney Olympics coming off both with an array of medals. She was born 15 February 1973 in Englewood, Colorado and suffered from severe asthma as a child and as an adult. A doctor suggested swimming as a way to strengthen her lungs and prevent future asthma attacks. In the 1996 Olympics, Amy became the first American female athlete in history to win 4 gold

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She continued to compete after the 1996 Olympics, but after having a shoulder injury that needed several operations, she was unable to train for more than a year. However, she made an amazing comeback and in 2000, she made the US Olympic team and added 2 more gold medals to her collection bringing her total up to 6 gold Olympic medals. Amy also won several World titles and set many American and World records. She now lives with her husband and is actively involved with several charities, including the Make-A-Wish Foundation. I find Amy Van Dyken inspirational because she overcame asthma and injuries to compete in the Olympics, and even after retirement she is actively aware of other peoples suffering and involves herself in charity work.

Thomas Madden Carter MacLaren High School

“It is better to be hated for what you are than loved for what you are not” Andre Gide Muhammad Ali grew up in a time where African American people were treated really badly and some basic human rights were not given. Then when he was older, he refused to go to war in Vietnam; Ali said some quite controversial things about the war. He said “I am not going 10,000 miles to help murder, kill and burn other people to continue the domination of white slavemasters over dark people the world over. This is the day and age when such evil injustice must come to an end” Strong words, but he was right, 58196 American soldiers died as well as 1.7 million north Vietnamese were killed. Ali had an amazing boxing career with 56 wins and 5 losses. These are some of the amazing things he has done with his life:

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r e really value Ben Ainslie because he started his career in Optimists, which is the boat I sail now. I aspire to be like Ben Ainslie and have his determination to succeed and win.

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• 1960 – He won an Olympic light heavyweight gold. • 1990 – Visits Iraq and negotiates the release of 14 US hostages from Saddam Hussein. • 1996 – He lit the flame at the Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia. • His gloves sold for 1.1 million dollars. • He has had a 30 year long battle with Parkinson’s disease. He is surely one of the most inspirational. He inspires me because he helped people and stood up for what he believed in.

Eleanor Elder

Oxford High School for Girls

“Happy are those who dream dreams and are ready to pay the price to make them come true” “You can’t cross a chasm in small steps” I am inspired by Ben Ainslie because he is a 3 time Olympic gold medallist, but he also has many other strengths which make me look up to him and respect him. Ben Ainslie started sailing at age 8 and raced Optimists, although he never won the Optimist National championships. I

Not only has Ben Ainslie won 3 Olympic gold medals, he also won a silver in the 1996 Olympics and gold in the laser class 2000 Olympics. Since then, Ben Ainslie gained 18 kg and moved to the Finn class for 2004 where he won another gold and then yet again in the 2008 Olympics. Ben Ainslie was the first sailor to be named in the 2012 Olympic team, this will be his 5th consecutive Olympics, and he will be trying for a 4th gold. Ben Ainslie is Britain’s most successful sailor ever, but still never gives up. He trains really hard, but also works with young sailors to inspire them. I met him at the Optimist Nationals where he signed my buoyancy aid.

Lily Hawkes

Oxford High School for Girls

“They can because they think they can” Virgil This quote inspires me because it makes life seem so simple. If you just think of your goal, you can do it,

“A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds” Francis Bacon This quote shows you should not just sit there and wait for opportunities to come to you, but to go out and find them for yourself. Brian McKeever is a Canadian Paralympian who is a cross-country skier and biathlete. He has won many medals at the Vancouver and Torino winter Paralympics. He was born on 18 June 1979 in Alberta. He was first put on a pair of skis at the age of 3. From then on he continued to get better and better and at the age of 13, he first started to compete in small competitions that, as

what I want to be when I’m older.- Anna Milne, Timmergreens Primary School

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he got better, got bigger and more important. However, at 19 he started to lose his sight due to Stargardt’s disease. Still determined, he eventually decided to qualify for the Olympic team and succeeded by winning the 50 k trial. He also became 21st in the men’s 50 k against able-bodied men. Having been accepted in the team, he competed at the 2002 and 2006 Paralympics and biathlon and won many medals. Because of his blindness, he has to use his older brother, Robin McKeever, as his guide. He has now become the first Canadian athlete to compete in both Paralympics and Olympics and he almost became the first person ever to compete in both in the same year. However, his coach took him out at the last minute and replaced him with his 4 best racers that were more able-bodied.

Brian inspires me because even though he went through a really hard time, he was determined to get through it and with the valuable encouragement of his friends and family, he made it through. Hopefully I will never go through something as horrific as this, which

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means when I think my day cannot get any worse and I am really stressed with everything going wrong, I will get through it and everything will work out. This thought is very comforting and will stay with me forever.

Chloe Wilson

Portlethen Academy

“Happy are those who dream dreams and are ready to pay the price to make them come true” Leon J Suenes

“Experience is the child of thought, and thought is the child of action” Benjamin Disraeli At the age of 13, Eleanor Simmonds became the youngest ever Briton to win a medal at the Paralympic games in 2008. She was born on 11 November 1994 and she started swimming when she was just 5 years old. She liked swimming and she knew she was fast and always liked to win. But there was one problem, she was born with a condition called dwarfism, which meant she was small, but this did not stop her and now look where she has got to in life. Eleanor has been to a free workshop called “Staying Positive”. This workshop is for young people aged between 12 and 18 living with a longterm condition. She says: “Staying Positive is a workshop with a difference. It is a 6-week course run by young people aged between 15 to 25 who actually live with a long-term condition. For young people – making you feel part of the group from day one. Just spending time with people


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that understand you makes a huge difference to your confidence and it gives you the feeling that anything is possible. I train extremely hard and don’t let anything get me down, and if the Staying Positive workshop helps just one young person to feel like me, then I think it’s brilliant!”

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“I always prefer to believe in the best of everybody – it saves so much trouble” Rudyard Kipling

“Keep your eyes on the stars, and your feet on the ground” Theodore Roosevelt

“The measure of success is not whether you have tough problems to deal with, but whether it is the same problem you had last year” John Foster Dulles Tom Aggar was born on 24 May 1984 in England. He was quite tion © Press Associa a sporty kid and wanted to join the Royal Marines, but first he studied biological sciences at the University of Warwick. But on 12 February 2005, his life changed forever. He was at university and decided to go Look where Eleanor is now, she is an Paralympic to a party, the venue of the party was up a street swimmer and has won a few gold medals. She drive, and had a long drop to a concrete drive inspires me with not just her swimming, but she below. Tom felt crowded in the house, so stepped does not let her condition stand in the way of her outside to look for his friend. It was pitch black. sporting talent. He tripped over something and found himself tumbling 12 feet onto solid concrete. He had a mobile on him and eventually dialled 999, but Emma Andrews being a biology student, he already knew what Putney High School had happened to him. He had broken his back “When I was 5 years old, my and was paralysed from the waist down. He had an operation to stabilise his back, but was still mother always told me that in constant pain; even small movements were happiness was the key to life. challenging. But he never lost hope; he started When I went to school, they asked small, learning basic things like how to dress me what I wanted to be when I himself, and then moved up. His competitive grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. spirit and determination never died away, and in They told me I didn’t understand 2006 he took up adaptive rowing as a way to keep the assignment, and I told them fit. It was soon obvious he had a natural talent they didn’t understand life” in the sport and was scouted by the London Regatta Centre. Only a year later he competed in John Lennon

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the 2007 Munich World Championships and got gold in a world record time for men’s single sculls adaptive rowing. He went on to get gold in the Beijing Paralympics, and 2009, 2010 and 2011 World Championships. He has now lowered the world record 6 times and is still unbeaten in an official race, in only a 5-year career. Tom Aggar is an inspiration to me for many reasons. Firstly he did not let his accident get to him, he never complained or gave up, he also kept going, trying to be the best he could be whatever the circumstances. I would like to be like that if anything bad ever happened to me, but it looks really difficult and I admire him for that. He is also very humble about all his achievements and seems like an all round nice person. I think being humble is very important, the accident and his new career have not changed who he is, which is a very good thing. The final reason he inspires me is I currently row for my school, and am quite new at it. I really enjoy it and I think his achievements are brilliant for such a short career. I think Tom Aggar should be an inspiration for his success, but also for his positive attitude and determination.

Giulia Battaglia-Trovato

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Nadia Comaneci is arguably one of the greatest gymnasts of all times, the youngest gymnast ever to score a perfect 10 in the Olympics and winner of 9 Olympic medals. During her lifetime she has shown both determination and courage needed to achieve her goals and to strive for perfection in all aspects of her gymnastics, one to name but a few aspects of her character that I admire. Nadia Comaneci is a truly inspirational athlete. Her career shows me that if you work hard, persevere and never give up, you can achieve your goals and dreams, however impossible they may seem. You have to pour all your resources into fulfilling your dreams, even if it does mean sacrificing others; Nadia trained long, hard hours and gave up her childhood for her career in gymnastics. She also showed me that if you want to ‘be the best’, you have to prepare thoroughly whether that means training, studying or practising a musical instrument: this reinforces the saying ‘practice makes perfect’. During competition, Nadia was also known for her ‘stoic, cool demeanour’, teaching me that even though you may feel nervous and tion © Press Associa

Putney High School

“I don’t run away from a challenge because I am afraid. Instead, I run towards it because the only way to escape fear is to trample it beneath your feet” Nadia Comaneci

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

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anxious inside, to do well you have to learn to control your emotions and to look upon a difficult matter calmly and coolly. Nadia has also shown me that when you encounter difficult times in your life, you have to keep your head high, fight back and carry on no matter what. She has taught me about true loyalty towards others and about supporting one’s friends: she returned to a competition to help her team mates achieve the gold medal. All athletes have qualities I admire, but Nadia Comaneci has the ones I value most and can relate to as I used to do gymnastics myself and know how hard it is and the dedication needed to reach such a high level in this sport.

Evie McAvoy

Putney High School

“What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal”

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r e to walk with prostheses, a challenge in itself, but did not fail to take part in all sorts of sporting activities, including ice skating, cheerleading, trampoline, biking and rock-climbing, of which were somewhat harder to fulfil due to her disability. It is safe to say her journey began, when learning to swim in her grandparent’s swimming pool. In 2002, 11 years old, Jessica joined her first competitive team, then in 2003 she was selected as Maryland’s swimming female swimmer of the year with disability. Then in 2004, she shocked many with her brilliant ability when she burst onto the international radar at the Paralympic Games; at just 12 years old, she was the youngest member of the US team winning 3 gold medals. Later she continued to collect a series of fantastic achievements of which the list is endless . Two of which I find especially impressive are firstly being named swimmer of the year by the swimming world magazine in both 2006 and 2011 and also her 4 gold medals awarded and 3 world records set in the Paralympic Games in Beijing 2008.

Albert Pine

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid” Albert Einstein Jessica Long is an inspirational figure. Her life so far has thrown numerous challenges of which she has adapted to these difficulties, and successfully converted negatives into valuable positives. She achieved more than the average athlete would dream of in their whole lifetime and career, before she even reached adulthood. Jessica is a Paralympic swimmer, who was adopted from a Russian orphanage at the age of 3 months. At just 18 months old, Jessica had lower leg amputations due to anomalies. She learned

- a real eye-opener! Fraser Leonard, Knox Academy

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The reason I have chosen Jessica Long as my inspirational figure is not something I can simply compose into a short sentence, which could not possibly do her justice. I genuinely admire her courage and have great admiration for her

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vast and indeed extraordinary success, which requires absolute determination and strength. I am able to take a great deal from my learning of Jessica’s sporting success and courage, in order to model myself against her in order to ensure I have near to full faith in myself. I hope also to inspire others with my own actions, which may not be as remarkable as those of Jessica, but indeed will prove my own fortitude to succeed in life. Not once in Jessica’s story did she give up. This also promotes the fact that the need for perseverance is fundamental, to journey, to experience, to fail, to try again, and then hopefully to achieve. I have a great deal of respect not only for Jessica, but also any other person who has persevered through a storm of negativity and great challenge, but has come out smiling. I want to be this kind of person; I want to share with them that smile, similar to that of Jessica, knowing I too have attained something, small or large still, that smile is a gold, silver or bronze medal.

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enrolled her to gymnastics classes after noticing her climbing and jumping off things around the house. Shawn first started competing at age 7 after starting training with her coach Liang Chow a year earlier. Her first major win was at the junior Olympics national championships when she was 10 years old, where she finished first on beam and second on floor. Surprisingly enough, Shawn was not scouted by the USAG and her coach had no connection with national staff. But in 2005, Shawn’s coach, Chow, sent in a video of Shawn performing to the national team coordinator with the comment “I believe this kid will help the US team”. Johnson was soon invited to train at national team camps.

Noa Sturgeon

Putney High School

“If you can dream it, you can do it” Walt Disney 1901-1966

“Success is not the key to happiness, happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful” Albert Schweitzer 1875-1965

“After the game, the king and the pawn go in the same box” Italian Proverb. Shawn Johnson is a 20 year-old American artistic gymnast. Shawn was born to Doug and Teri Johnson on 19 January 1992, in Des Moines, Iowa. She is an only child. She started gymnastics off at an early age when her parents

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After this, Shawn qualified for the junior international elite on her first attempt, and placed third at the 2005 US classic. But after falling off the beam on the first day of competition at the


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US nationals, she finished 20th overall. This really encouraged Shawn to up her game, and in 2006 she learnt many new tricks, many of top difficulty. She then proceeded to win the national all-round championship that year. In 2007, she represented America alongside five other teammates at the world artistic gymnastics championships, where she won gold in all-round, making her the 4th American woman to win this in history. This all may seem a lot, but is only what led her to her dream – competing at the Olympics. In the summer of 2008, Shawn travelled with the American team to the Beijing Olympics. She competed in all four events and took silver in the all-round competition, silver on floor and gold on the beam. This helped the US place 2nd overall, winning silver. After this amazing experience, Shawn was even keener to compete at London 2012. This dream could have been crushed when on a family skiing vacation in 2010, she had a bad fall and had to have surgery on her knee the next month, luckily her knee has recovered very well, and she will hopefully be competing at the 2012 Olympics in London. I find Shawn Johnson an inspirational athlete because, not only is she so young, but she has also overcome difficulties in her career, such as her recent knee injury. I also find Shawn inspirational because I have been through something similar to her, although on a much smaller scale. I broke my wrist 4 weeks before I was supposed to represent London at the national gymnastics finals in Stoke on Trent. Stories like Shawn’s helped me get through my injury and I was able to compete on floor, helping my team place 4th overall in the country.

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Aira Gonzales

Radyr Comprehensive School

“It’s more important for me to approve my own performance and be immersed in the process of it. Winning over someone comes after that” YuNa Kim YuNa Kim has never been placed off the podium in her entire career. She either places 1st, 2nd or 3rd. She began skating at the age of 7. She is the 2010 Olympic champion in ladies’ singles, the 2009 world champion, the 2009 four continents champion, a threetime (2006-2007, 2007-2008, 20092010) grand prix final champion, the 2006 world junior champion, the 2005-2006 junior grand prix final champion and four-time (2002-2005) South Korean national © Press Association champion. Kim Yuna or YuNa Kim is very inspiring to me as she has broken records and won many medals. Of course hard work is needed to win a medal and she seems to be a very hard working person and also very determined. She is also very passionate about what she does and I admire her passion for skating. She represents her country South Korea and she does her country proud. Many look up to her and hope to have the skill and passion that she owns. I wish to be as determined and passionate as her about what I do. She does not

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forget where she comes from and who she was before her success and fame; I admire that. I also admire how she does not want to win win win, but instead she just wants to do what she loves, develop her skills and do her best in every aspect.

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Katie Belton

Ross High School

“I’m criticised, but your bullets ricochet. You shoot me down, but I get up” Titanium – David Guetta

Radyr Comprehensive School

“I haven’t failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work” Thomas Edison Usain Bolt is the world’s three-time Olympic gold medallist. He holds the world record in the 100m, 200 m and, with his teammates, the 4 x100 m relay. Although Usain Bolt has achieved this great standard, he was brought up in Jamaica in a small town called Trelawny. His family was not rich, but not poor either. His mum and dad run the local grocery store, but Bolt was always with his brother playing sports. He inspires me because even though he grew up in a small town, he rose to the challenge, he works hard and always tries his best. I am also inspired by the way he always wins even if he has an injury. Not only this, but Bolt always improves, even now he tries to improve and beat his world record.

“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, stand a little taller … what doesn’t kill you, makes a fighter” Stronger – Kelly Clarkson

“I’ll spread my wings and I’ll learn how to fly. I’ll do what it takes ‘til I touch the sky” Breakaway – Kelly Clarkson Yelena Isinbayeva trained as a gymnast from the age of 5 until at 15 she grew too tall to be

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Usain Bolt has definitely achieved his best! From the knowledge I have of him, I think he must be very self-disciplined, hard working and committed or he could not achieve such a great standard. I think that he is very inspiring and he inspires me to work hard and try my best at everything.

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competitive in the sport. She turned to pole vaulting, a sport where her height, strength and gymnastic training were an advantage. Six months later, at her third competition, she had her first major victory, taking gold at the 1998 World Youth games. She took her second gold the next year at the 1999 World Youth Championships. Yelena continued to improve and set her first world record of 4.82 m in 2003. She kept increasing this record every time her compatriot Svetlana Fiofanova beat her most recent world record. She competed in the 2004 summer Olympics, where she took the gold and set another world record. Yelena kept competing and taking golds until 2009 during which she took the gold at the 2008 summer Olympics and was the first woman to clear the 5.00 m barrier. After 2009, her performance began to deteriorate and she took a break, only recently returning to compete in the sport. I think Yelena is inspiring because she spent years training for a sport that she ended up unable to compete in, but instead of giving up, she found a sport that her previous training and height enabled her to become one of the top athletes in that sport.

Alice Bateman

Roundwood Park School

“I have missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot … and missed. And I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why … I succeed” Michael Jordan

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r e Wilma Rudolph was born 2 months prematurely at 4.5 lbs. She was the 20th of 22 other brothers and sisters, and suffered scarlet fever, double pneumonia and polio, spending her childhood bedridden. Doctors told her mother that Wilma would not be able to walk ever again. Too poor for hospitalisation, her left leg became deformed so she wore a metal leg brace at the age of 6, which later became twisted. She was unable to walk until her 8th birthday. By the time she was 12 years old, she had also survived scarlet fever, whooping cough, chickenpox and measles. Her family drove her regularly from Clarksville, Tennessee, to Nashville, Tennessee for treatments to straighten her twisted leg. She also had to have a leg brace on for 3 years. At the 1960 summer Olympics in Rome, she won three Olympic titles: the 100 m, 200 m and the 4 x 100 m relay. As the temperature climbed towards 110 degrees, 80,000 spectators jammed the Stadio Olimpco. Rudolph ran the 100 m dash in an impressive 11 seconds flat. However the time was not credited as a world record because it was wind-aided. She also won the 200 m dash in 23.2 seconds, a new Olympic record. After these wins, she was being hailed throughout the world as the “fastest woman in history”. Finally on 11 September 1960, she, combined with Tennessee State team mates Martha Hudson, Lucinda Williams and Barbara Jones to win the 400 m relay in 44.5 seconds, setting a world record. Rudolph had a special, personal reason to hope for victory – to pay tribute to Jesse Owens, the celebrated American athlete who had been her inspiration, also the star of the 1936 summer Olympics, held in Berlin, Germany. I think that Wilma is inspirational because she nearly lost the ability to walk let alone run. However, even with these problems, she still managed to break world records. I believe she is inspirational as she must have been very brave to go through so much pain and illness. I believe she is courageous and determined as she kept aiming for her dreams - she was motivated,

what it’s like for others.- Shannon Chan, Gracemount High School

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hard working and committed. I admire her because she never gave up and worked for her dream and it came true even though she had a terrible childhood. This shows great courage and determination – I do not think many people could go through that and still succeed. One moment you are on the edge of losing the ability to walk and then running in the Olympics let alone being called “the fastest woman in history”. What an achievement!

Islay Shelbourne

Roundwood Park School

“The road to success is always under construction” Lee Pearson is a para-equestrian dressage competitor as part of the Paralympic games. Lee suffers from a condition called arthrogryposis, which is a lifelong condition that is present from birth. Lee has had 15 operations and still has no use of his ankles or knees, which means all commands to his horse are with his thighs. Lee has won numerous awards and despite his disability, he has even competed against ablebodied riders. Lee is an inspiration to me because he has never let his disability hold him back. Even when his first pony bucked and threw © Press Association him, Lee did not stop himself from achieving his dreams and so, after a short break, he bought his first horse of his own – a thoroughbred! I would like to have Lee’s persevering characteristics as it will help me achieve my goals. I also admire Lee’s determination and the work he has to endure to achieve his goals. Lee’s legs are fully

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splinted and he walks with crutches or by using an electric wheelchair, therefore, all training is both strenuous and possibly quite painful. That kind of determination would make me a good employee and a reliable team member. This determination is also shown in what Lee states was the best advice he had ever been given: “Don’t get on a horse” which he dutifully ignored.

Jon Paul Devlin

St Colm’s High School

“Victory belongs to the most persevering” Sir Chris Hoy is a world champion track cyclist born 23 March 1976 in Edinburgh, Scotland. After secondary education, he went to St Andrews University where he studied sports science. I believe Sir Chris Hoy is a great role model to children like myself, as he got his first inspiration to cycle at the age of 6 after watching the film ET and saw Elliot on his BMX. At this time in Chris’ life, he was just an ordinary boy with a big dream. Chris then raced BMX from when he was 7 until he was 14. At this early age he was successful. He was second in Britain, 5th in Europe and 9th in the world. Everyone could see by this time that he had a special talent and a winning mentality. Chris Hoy says that the best advice he ever got was from his first coach who told him to write down his short, medium and long-term goals. His long-term goal was to be an Olympic champion, which was his ultimate dream he did not believe would happen. His short and medium term goals were stepping stones to his long-term goal. As he aimed for each goal and achieved it, he kept


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achieving through a lot of hard work and help along the way to make his ultimate dream come true. As I write this story, I am inspired by Chris Hoy who, like myself, was an ordinary boy with a lifetime ambition, which he achieved through sheer hard work and determination to be the best.

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r e of alpine skiing is immense and despite many injuries and concussions, she still continues to compete and excel, displaying how much determination she has.

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Zoe Borland

St Columba’s School

“Alpine racing offers me a great challenge to develop new skills and compete in an individual sport with the best racers in the world” Viviane Forest

“Happiness is not destination, it’s a path”

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Viviane Forest Viviane Forest, Paralympic multi-sport medallist, was born in 1979, in Quebec, Canada. She currently has 4% vision and her sight has been decreasing since birth. As well as being a legally blind high performance alpine skier, she was part of the Canada National goalball team from 1997-2005. Goalball is a team sport for visually impaired athletes and was created after WWII to help war veterans. Also, Viviane was on teams in hockey, regional swimming and ringette at a young age. Viviane is a triple gold medallist and won 5 medals at the Vancouver Paralympic winter games 2010. Her alpine ski class is ‘visually impaired’. She skis with her guide who is 4 metres in front of her and they communicate via a 2-way radio system. Her guide was Lindsay Debou at Vancouver 2010, but she changed to Chloe Lauzon-Gauthier afterwards. Her dedication to the extreme sport

I think of Vivian Forest as a Paralympic heroine because she must trust herself and her guide with her life and career. I ski myself, and I know how terrifying it would be to be at her amazing level of skiing, but having to constantly trust someone else like she does. This makes her remarkably talented in itself, and her huge effort and skill is reflected strongly in her many wonderful (and always extremely difficult) achievements.

Catherine Boyd

St George’s School for Girls Jessica Ennis is my inspiration because I think she is an amazing person! She is an extremely good heptathlon and pentathlon competitor

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with the titles of world heptathlon champion 2009, world indoor pentathlon champion 2010, European champion with 6,823 points and world heptathlon silver medallist in 2011. She is competing for Britain in the upcoming Olympics and I think she will do very well! Jessica has been competing in world events since 2000 starting in the junior championships. She has competed for Britain with pride and I think she is really amazing because in the heptathlon she has to train for 200 m, 800 m, 100 m hurdles, high jump, long jump, shot putt and javelin throw! I do not think I would be very good at any of those things! Jessica must be very determined because she spends all of her time trying to improve. I think it is actually quite a good thing that she only got a silver medal in the championships in 2011 because you cannot be number one the whole time, so now she can come back and win this year. Out of all sports there are runners, swimmers and rowers, but not many of them are good at more than one sport. Doing events like Jessica, she has to train for 7 sports instead of one! Jessica is 26 and lives in Sheffield with her chocolate Labrador Myla. She is engaged to Andy Hill and is very happy! Her mum is from Derbyshire and her dad was originally from

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Jamaica, but neither of them was very athletic. Jessica was introduced to athletics when she was young and her dad took her to a Start track event and that proves to me that everyone can be good at something! I think she is an inspiration because I swim and play squash a lot and now I know that I could become an athlete if I work hard and believe in myself just like Jessica Ennis.

Alice McCaskey

St George’s School for Girls

“The most wasted of all days is the one spent without laughter� I find Eric Liddell inspirational because he is a great example of a person with true beliefs and dedication. When Eric entered the Olympics in 1924, he could not compete in the 100 m race, which was his best event he had trained for, as he was Christian and it happened to be a Sunday (Christian Sabbath). He believed so strongly in his faith that he decided to enter a 400 m race on another day, as he was not going to give up his dream of being in the Olympics. He went with an open mind even though his best time in training was only 49.6 seconds. The pipe band of the 51st Highland Brigade played outside the stadium for the hour before he ran. As he reached the starting blocks, an American Olympic Team masseur slipped a piece of paper

I have learned a lot and this project and have enjoyed doing it, especially learning


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into his hand with a quotation which read “those who honour me, I will honour”; a believer in God, who also trusted that he had done the right thing putting his faith first. All of this I think was in the forefront of his mind whilst running. He ran with determination and WON! Beating the Olympic record with a time of 47.6 seconds, considering his best time to this day was 49.6. I admire his dedication and strong moral beliefs because it showed that if you have faith in yourself and your own abilities, it can get you where you want to go in life. It is not always as important to live your life as you think other people tell you to. This way you will ensure that you are happy. Eric Liddell could easily have enjoyed fame and fortune, but had the strength to choose the life he wanted to. I would love to be as positive, determined and dedicated, as I think it could get you anywhere in life. I think positivity plays a main role in a kind and thoughtful person’s life day to day. I go through life using this saying, “the only day wasted is the one spent without smiling”. Determination is a characteristic that a strong-minded person can have, with a dream or goal in life and an eye on the prize. I think he achieved this success as his personalities helped him win, but fame did not go to his head. After the Olympics, he became a missionary because he believed that his faith was a main reason for his win and success, so did not give up in what he believed in. Being

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r e kind and a team player, I think also helped his success. Before the Olympics, he was a rugby player and enjoyed working within a team, but when it came to his race, he had all of Scotland behind him supporting his every move because he had shown just how loving he was. All of these reasons and many more, I believe led to his success.

Shanice Dolan

St Gregory’s Catholic High School

“Courage, sacrifice, determination, commitment, toughness, heart, talent, guts. That’s what little girls are made of; the heck with sugar and spice.” Bethany Hamilton Bethany Hamilton inspires me to do what we were born to do. Even though she lost her left arm, she still came back stronger than ever! If the shark bite had hit major arteries higher up her shoulder, she would have had no chance of survival. As it was, Bethany suffered 60 percent blood-loss before medics managed to save her. Bethany loved surfing since she was able to walk and won three surfing competitions when she was eight years old. So she was determined –

about my inspirational figure Muhammad Ali.- Thomas Carter, McLaren High School

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despite losing her left arm – to surf again. She says: “For me, the idea of not being able to surf was definitely scarier than the idea of getting back in the water after I lost my arm. Not to surf again would be impossible. So for me it was essential at least to try surfing again and to see how it went. And it went well. I’m still doing what I love and scoring surf all over the world, just with one arm.” Single Bethany – who refuses to wear a prosthetic arm – was back competing at the highest level just three months after leaving hospital. In 2006, she won her first national title in the 18-and-under division of Americas National Scholastic Surfing Association championships. She says: “When I first started surfing again it was really hard to get out into the surf. Normally you grab both sides of the surfboard and push, but I didn’t have that ability any more.”

Rowena Machin

St Gregory’s Catholic High School

“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 Dame Kelly Holmes is a retired British Middle Distance athlete. She was born on the 19th April 1970. Holmes started competing in her youth, inspired by Sebastian Coe. She later went on to join the British Army, becoming the Army Judo Champion and a Sergeant Class 1 PYI, but continued competing (specialising in the 800m and 1500m events) at the organisation athletic events. In the early 90s, she turned to the professional athletics circuit. I admire Kelly’s inner strength, determination and resilience, this is because, even with clinical depression – and only one year before the Olympic Games – she proved herself to be successful, as she has not only won many medals,

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set records and competed for Great Britain, she has thought of others and set up camps, trusts and programmes to benefit young athletes. Thus, I admire her, as she made HERSELF successful and these are the values I would like to live up to.

Caroline Watson St Gregory’s Catholic High School

As a teenager and young adult Lawrence Lemieux became obsessed with sailing in his hometown in Western Canada. He grew up by a lake and started sailing from a young age and by his early twenties Lemieux had won many competitions throughout North America. By 32, he had easily gained himself a place at the Olympics held in South Korea in 1988. Picture this, idyllic sailing conditions and at 1015 knots Lemieux is at a steady 2nd place when suddenly the weather turns for the worse, and wind speed increased to 35 knots. Two sailors fall off their boats and Lemieux boldly cuts himself out of the race to head back bravely in the lethal conditions. He saves two men’s lives but still finished the race in true Olympic spirit. However he is awarded a silver medal with no dispute from the other athletes. This is inspiring as it shows true sportsmanship and selfless acts really do reward you in life. It proves that if you are good to people and show courage then that’s a great enough achievement


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in life. Lawrence Lemieux has taught me that winning isn’t everything and that life has no benefits without being a good person - and this is something I strive to be like.

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r e and he would have also had to be positive and optimistic. Therefore Steve is – in my opinion – a huge inspiration as he was extremely determined. He has also become an inspiration to diabetics as he has proved that “There’s no reason why you can’t achieve your dreams.” Admired because of his success, Steve also is a kind and thoughtful man. He raised money for charities and in April 2006, Steve completed his third London Marathon raising a record £1,800,000 for charity. I personally believe that Sir Steve Redgrave achieved success by hard work, determination, perseverance and enthusiasm. I think this is because Steve must has been self-disciplined to stay healthy for a long time. In addition to this, Steve kept going when times got hard and he was diagnosed with diabetes, did he give up? No. Sir Steven Redgrave has many inspirational values to live up to. For example: he is hard working, kind/caring, determined, inspirational, ambitious, enthusiastic, committed and cooperative. Without these qualities, Sir Steve Redgrave might not be the huge inspiration that he is today.

Caitlin Whitehead

St Gregory’s Catholic High School

“Go back a little to leap further.” John Clarke Sir Steven Redgrave lives up to the six values and qualities as, after his Athens victory, he was established as the world’s most outstanding rower of all time; it takes true determination, perspiration and inspiration to achieve such excellence. On top of this, Steve must have had to have a lot of ambition as he first started rowing at the age of sixteen and he kept going until he achieved success. As he rowed with his team he had to be co-operative and a good listener

Felise Martin

St Joan of Arc Catholic School

“You can’t put a limit on anything. The more you dream, the farther you get” Michael Phelps

“I want to be the best I can. I am realistic, but I can also dream” Amy Williams My athlete that I have chosen is Amy Williams. Amy was born in Cambridge in the UK on 29 September 1982. Her interests are swimming, cross country, but most of all pre-skeleton athletics (200 m and 400 m). Amy won the gold

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medal of the 2010 Vancouver winter Olympics and wants to win the same in 2014. Amy is part of the British bob skeleton team in the winter Olympics. To be the best at bob skeleton you need to be independent, focused and confident;

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Emilie Rapport-Munroe St Leonards School

“Every artist was once an amateur” Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Men do less than they ought to, unless they do all that they can” Thomas Carlyle Kurt Thomas, at the age of 23, won the James Sullivan Award for best amateur athlete and won 6 gold medals at the Olympics, including gold for horizontal bar and floor exercise and silver in the parallel bars, pommel horse and allround. He had 2 moves named after him, the ‘Thomas Flair’ on the pommel horse and the ‘Thomas Salto’, his signature move, on the floor exercise, which is very tricky. These moves had been perfected for years by specialists, but the rulebook states tion © Press Associa that moves should be named after the first athlete to perform them in an international gymnastics competition. when it comes to individual ‘sliders’, as they are called, they can go to speeds Kurt Thomas is very determined to be good. He of 80 mph with the length of 1500 m (15 corners). must have had a great sense of endurance and The reason I chose Amy for my athlete is because I find Amy, and her sport, inspiring. Each day Amy is faced with danger, her chin is inches from the ground and going at 80 mph. Amy is determined to win gold, so an injury is no option. Also Amy’s friend Senita Shone was in a bobsleigh accident. Amy was upset, but did not let this faze her. Amy being committed, fearless, optimistic and enthusiastic towards her sport, nothing could stop her from achieving MANY gold medals, in the future in the next Olympic games. This is why I chose Amy Williams, I find her INSPIRING!

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experience and such a lovely warm feeling of achievement when his name was announced of the tannoy: “Kurt Thomas, first place!” What I admire about athletes, particularly gymnasts, is that no matter how many times they are knocked down, no matter how many times they fall, they pick themselves up again, they dust themselves off calmly and they CARRY ON! It is like saying, sure, I fell, but hey, that happens all the time, I do not let it shake me, I know I am still good! One of the things I really like about gymnastics is that when they launch themselves off the parallel bars, for a split second, it is a make or break moment, life and death. The crowd gasps,

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Paralympics in Beijing. In 2008, she won a gold and watches, riveted, as the athlete seemingly medal in the singles event and a silver in her effortlessly performs an amazing series of moves team event at the Beijing Paralympics. I admire through several excruciatingly long seconds, Natalia because she did not let having no right before, finally, to the crowd’s huge relief, getting hand or forearm hold her back from winning into the crucial position in which to land without gold medals! breaking their backs. They are fearless, knowing that one wrong move could end their lives, but still leaving everything ‘til the last moment. And then, when they have landed, they stand with their arms in tion the air, accepting the roaring © Press Associa applause, saying: “Hey, I did well, didn’t I? But really, it was nothing. I do it all the time!”

Anna Devlin

St Pius X College

“You have enemies. Good. That means you’ve actually stood up for yourself in life” Every time the Olympics come on television, I love to watch them. I think it is unreal watching normal people do unbelievable things. The Olympics always inspires me to be better than what I already am and show that everything is possible through hard work and determination. The Paralympian I find inspirational is Natalia Partyka. Natalia Partyka was born 27 July 1989. She is a Polish table tennis player. She was born without a right hand and forearm. As well as taking part in competitions for athletes with disabilities, she also takes part in competitions for able-bodied athletes. Natalia won her first international table tennis medal in 1999 at the disabled world championships. In 2004, she won a gold medal in the singles event and a silver in the team event at the Athens Paralympics. She went on and competed in both the 2008 summer Olympics and the 2008 summer

up to them. - Esme Page, Gracemount High School

Anna Young

St Pius X College

“Don’t practise until you get it right, practise until you get it wrong” “You don’t win the silver, you lose the gold” Mary Peters Three words to sum Mary up, “What a woman”. Mary Peters is an absolute hero! Her determination to continue practising throughout the hard and difficult times in Belfast was amazing! Even when times got tough, Peters was still willing to train and wanted to

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reach her goal of winning gold in the pentathlon. Mary has recently been on the front of the local phonebook for remembering her excellence in everything she did. My collage on the background represents Mary’s creativeness and courage to do everything and to try new things. To be like Mary there are many skills and qualities involved. These may consist of confidence, punctuality to all practices, determination, hard work and enthusiasm. Mary is a true inspiration to me, my life and to everything I do. I want to be more like Mary in the future.

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I am inspired by this man a lot, it is showing everyone to go for your dreams. He is following his dreams by standing on false legs let alone WIN on them. He is a South African Paralympic runner. He is known as the “Blade Runner”. He made me understand that we all are human beings, and that we should never judge somebody on how they look. In my eyes he is a TRUE CHAMPION. Never give up!

David Healy

St Thomas Aquinas

“I knew it meant that I would have a harder time the rest of my life, but I also knew it was the best chance I had to live the rest of my life” “There’s always the possibility that I might not make it, but I want to give it my absolute best shot” “The sky has never been the limit, we are our own limits” “Stop thinking of what could go wrong and start thinking of what could go right” “It’s not how good you are, it’s how good you want to be”

Ellen Young

St Pius X College

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

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I have chosen Josh Sundquist as my inspirational figure because he has managed to overcome adversity and become an athlete despite being an amputee. At age 9, Josh was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer and given only a 50% chance to live. After spending a year on chemotherapy treatment, Josh had to have his left leg amputated. Josh was declared


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cured of cancer at age 13. Three years after having his leg amputated, Josh took up skiing. He trained for 6 years after that and in 2006, he became part of the US Paralympic ski team. Josh is the only person in history to be part of the US Paralympic ski team and the US amputee football team. Josh also has his own YouTube channel where he has over 13 million views. On YouTube, he is mostly known for his music videos “The Amputee Rap” as well as “Phantom Limb Pain”. I truly admire Josh for raising awareness about amputees and making able bodied people perhaps think differently. He also has a website for amputees called “lessthanfour.org”. Josh released a book titled “Just Don’t Fall: How I Grew Up, Conquered Illness and Made it Down the Mountain” which was released in early 2010 and was a national bestseller. Josh is currently working as a motivational speaker. Josh inspires me because he overcame something as horrific as cancer and became a very successful person. He managed to push through and overcome and that is why he inspires me. I aspire to be like Josh because he managed to stay positive when everything was going wrong. I want to be able to stay strong when things are not going well. If there was only a 50% chance I would survive something then I can guarantee I would not be able to stay optimistic. This is why I chose Josh as my inspirational figure.

Olivia Brennand

The Harefield Academy On 23 June 1940, nearly 9 months after the outbreak of the 2nd World War and 11 years after the outbreak of the Great Depression, a baby girl was born; 2 months premature weighing only 4.5 lbs and that girl was the 20th child of Ed and Blanche Rudolph (who would go on to have 2 more children). They named their daughter Wilma, nobody special, just another child. The

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r e depression had hit hard on Clarksville, Tennessee and Ed, a railroad porter and handyman, and Blanche, one of many workers for a wealthy white family, struggled to feed the mouths of their 20 children. There was only one black doctor which they could see (real hospitals were for white people), but they could not afford to pay, so Blanche nursed her daughter through every illness imaginable: mumps, measles, scarlet fever, chickenpox and double pneumonia. But when

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Wilma’s leg became weak and deformed, it was clear she had to see a doctor. She was told she had polio and there was no cure; Wilma Blanche would never walk. But she never gave up and found a hospital which could help. Even though it was 50 miles away, they went twice a week for 2 years until Wilma could walk with the support of a leg brace. But the doctors were right, Wilma was not born to walk … she was born to RUN!

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Elise Kelly

The Harefield Academy

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face” Eleanor Roosevelt From a really young age, Ellie Simmonds had huge dreams so she started swimming at just 4 years old! She was just 8 when she entered her first proper swimming gala. After watching the Paralympics she made her target to reach elite level and compete at the Beijing Paralympics 2005. Putting all her efforts in, she considers herself very competitive because she hates losing and has very high aspirations. Her dream is to compete at 5 different sets of games and win medals in them all. Her motivations are her family and she views her coach as a second dad. Ellie reached elite level when she was just 13 and kept training at her best. She has reached many obstacles, but at the age of 16, her biggest rival, Natalie Jones, beat Ellie in a gala and is now a strong contender for 2012. She is an inspiration because after having a knee injury for over a year she encourages me to keep going with my sport. Ellie lives up to the Olympic and Paralympic values because she is always respectful, excellent, friendly, courageous, determined and inspirational in all her competitions. Most of all she shows equality though, because no matter how tall or small you are, she does not think she is above anyone else.

Roxana Chakrabarti The Latymer School

“Winning doesn’t mean being first. Winning means you’re doing better than you’ve ever done before” Bonnie Blair The person I have chosen is Bonnie Blair, winter Olympic speed skater. Bonnie Blair came from

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a very impoverished family and when it was clear that she had the agility and determination to become an Olympic speed skater, the family were at a loss as to what to do as they did not have the funds to send her to Europe from America, where she grew up, but a friend’s father organised a fundraising effort for her and she was able to go to Europe. She was first seen in the 1984 Olympics in Sarajevo, but failed to win a single medal. But she did not give up. She worked harder than anyone could ever do and it paid off. She won her first gold in the 1988 Olympics in Calgary, Alberta. She also won a bronze in the 1000 m. In 1992 at the Albertville games, she achieved another record when she won the 500 m and 1000 m. Bonnie had now become the first woman to achieve back-to-back gold medals in the same events. Bonnie reached the high point of her career during the Lillehammer games in Norway. She continued her winning streak by picking up the gold in the 500 m race for the third time in a row. Her crowning glory came when she won the 1000 m with a margin of 1.38 seconds, which was the best in the history of the Olympic winter games! She had now become the first woman to win 5 gold medals and one bronze. She retired in 1995. I find her inspiring because of the fact that she did not give up. She knew she could do it and she knew that if she tried that little bit harder she could do it. I admire her because she could skate faster than many men and when she started with

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nothing, not being able to afford the funds to send her to Europe, but at the end she was a true Olympian winning back-to-back gold medals, something that has never been achieved before.

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r e like Bonnie Blair and that is why I aspire to be like her.

Jo Neame

The Latymer School tion © Press Associa

“If you can fill the unforgiving minute with sixty seconds worth of distance run, yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it” Rudyard Kipling I find Olga Korbut extremely inspiring as she has won 4 Olympic gold medals and 2 Olympic silver medals. Despite her being in only 2 Olympic games, Olga changed gymnastics forever by completing a backflip-to-catch on uneven bars. This made her the first ever woman on bars to perform and complete a backward release move. I find her inspiring for the amount of talent she has, but also the originality of her moves for without them, gymnastics would not be what it is today. Regardless of the harshness and pressure set down on her in the USSR, she did not fail to perform remarkably, getting 9.9 out of 10 in the 1972 Olympics, 1st place on the balance beam.

Bonnie has the characteristics that everyone wishes for; she is strong, brave and with a never-give-upattitude Bonnie is an example of an amazing Olympian that completely blows your mind when you see them do the things they love. She could not have achieved her success without her family and friends. It goes to show how much support you need to become such an amazing person. I love skating, I do it myself and I know what a thrill you get from it. I would love to be

I think that Olga has achieved success by being completely focused on her goal and never once doubting her ability for even a second. To be able to accomplish such a high level, she must have worked so hard and dedicated so much of her life to one thing, gymnastics. She sacrificed a lot of her time where she could have been out at parties with her friends or visiting her family and she also made sure that she kept to a strict diet to stay thin. She always knew that somehow, in the end she would win and she never stopped believing in herself. Olga also achieved success because she was passionate about gymnastics so strongly, that nothing was going to stop her doing it every day without fail.

my goals and get to where I want to be in life.- David Healy, St Thomas Aquinas School

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Issie Attey

The Royal Masonic School for Girls

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” Wayne Gretzky Tom Daley has such high Olympic and Paralympic values and qualities and has shown his strength to stay focused and be organised with his time, balancing it with school work and always striving for excellence, even through adversity. He shows reliability to show up to training, listening to what his coach tells him and having an open mind to take it all in and improve himself. He thinks positively, no matter what may be happening in his life and has the resilience to carry on and be truthful and honest to himself about who he is, but, all the time, staying modest and approachable, always keeping his sense of

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equality and selfless commitment to his family and those around him, and constantly smiling. Throughout his training, he must stay selfdisciplined, hardworking and committed to what he has set out to do, showing great determination. Such great friendship and support is always shown to Tom, even by his competitors, which is a clear sign to me that he must be so friendly and supportive himself, showing and gaining mutual respect and proving that the Olympic Games has ideals that every competitor lives up to, including Tom Daley, which I so admire him for.

Jayme Garland

The Royal Masonic School for Girls

“Perhaps I don’t give the impression that I’m hurting on the track. But that is because I am animated by an interior force which covers my suffering” Noureddine Morceli Eleanor Simmonds really demonstrates the Paralympic values well. She is an obvious inspiration to many disabled children and her fellow team mates, being one of the youngest members of the British team. To be determined is feeling or showing firmness towards something… that something for Eleanor is a result of being born with dwarfism, but swimming made her lighter, stronger, faster, more independent and more determined to do what she loved no matter what. Courage is the ability to face danger, difficulty, uncertainty or pain without being overcome with fear, and this is what Eleanor does every day. She gets into that pool and works so hard even with half the muscle size and strength of others, but she probably has more strength to be that courageous and determined inside her than others have on the outside.

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Finally equality; without equality between people, a Paralympian would not even be able to take part in events such as the Paralympics, but because the wider community feel they deserve just as many rights as us; they can do nearly all the sports available for able-bodied people, and by seizing this opportunity, Eleanor is demonstrating equality. We can get inspiration from the achievements and actions of others that can help show us how to make a success of our own lives. Many sporting people have become a role model because of what they achieve, and how they achieve it. I find Eleanor inspiring because she was just 13 when she was chosen out of the whole country to represent Britain in the Paralympics in 2008, when most children that age would be on the computer or sat at home watching TV; Eleanor was down at Boldmere swimming club training in all her free time. Eleanor is a very determined, courageous, inspirational young role model, and one day I would too like to have a reputation, like hers, that I can be proud of. The values of friendship, excellence, respect, inspiration, determination, courage and equality are all ones I would like to live by. I believe the support you have will drive you just that bit higher, faster, stronger or longer than you would otherwise, so friendship and family are vital. Excellence comes from the right mindset, body form and self-belief. I have a saying that goes “do your best, and then do better” and this means do as well as you can, then step it up and do even better than before. To respect your opponent, coaches, equipment, teammates and judges is key to being a respected player in return. Inspiration is the divine influence on human beings. This is something that comes with time, skill, excellence, respect and one’s attitude. Determination is something you need mentally

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r e and physically. When your body says no and your muscles are burning, when your throat is dry but your head is saying go…go…go, you need to push through the pain and keep going in training and matches. Courage is something everyone needs before the gun, whistle or horn goes. It is the build-up to the event that you need to remain calm, composed and controlled, because once you start, there is no going back. Equality is something both Olympians and Paralympians need, as a team, as an Olympian and as a competitor, because without it half of them would not be competing.

Mariel Anthonypillai The Tiffin Girls’ School

“No matter where your interests lies, you will not be able to accomplish anything unless you bring your deepest devotion to it” Matsuo Basho Oscar Pistorius is a 25 year-old South African sprint runner. He is known as the ‘blade runner’ or ‘the man on no legs’. Oscar has a double amputation and currently holds the world record for 100 m, 200 m and 400 m sprint. He has received 20 gold medals and the first one when he was only 19 years of age. Oscar inspires

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me because he never gave up no matter what life threw at him. With just one amputation most people are put off, but he never gave up on his dreams because just like me he said “There is nothing you cannot achieve that you really want”. He makes me realise that if we set our minds to it then anything is possible. If we do our best and keep trying we will get everything we have dreamed of. Another reason why he inspires me is because he is always trying to do even better. Always finding something he could be better at or trying to improve in that aspect. His overwhelming determination, competitive spirit and ability to overcome hard challenges have turned the perception upside down that living with prosthetic legs is an impediment. He demonstrates that mental strength can enable humanity to scale intimidating heights of achievements. He donates a lot of money to charities that support handicapped children and their families because he said “Without the people who helped me and my family, I do not know where I would be right know, they helped my dreams come true”. One of the other reasons why Oscar inspires me is because his glass is always half full. He is very positive and if anything does go wrong, he does not worry about it, instead he will straight away be working on how he can make it better.

Pavun Basra

The Tiffin Girls’ School

“The only bond worth a n y t h i n g b e t w e e n human beings is their humanness” Jesse Owens Jesse Owens was a black, American track and field athlete who specialised in sprints and the long jump. Owens participated in the 1936 summer Olympics in Berlin, where he achieved international fame by winning 4 gold medals. He was the most successful athlete at the Berlin

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Olympics. Nazi leader Adolf Hitler wanted to use the games to showcase his theories about the superior Aryan race. Each time Owens had won an event, Hitler refused even to shake Owens’ hand, as he did with the white American athletes.

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Jessie Owens is truly an inspiring athlete who actually embodies the values of an Olympian. By going to the Berlin Olympics and showing Hitler (a person we remember today as a mass murderer) that it really does not matter what colour or creed you are to be able to achieve highly. One quality that stands out in Owens’ behaviour is the fact that he was confident, confident that he could go all the way to the top. He showed everyone at the Berlin Olympics that even though he was black, he could still be just as great as any other athlete that stepped into the stadium to compete. He was confident in the way that he did not listen to all the people that criticised him and told him he was never going to make it, but by having so much confidence and by tolerating what everyone else said, he achieved highly and also sent out a valuable message to the rest of the world. Confidence is a skill that I lack, but Jesse Owens is an ideal role model for anyone who would like to work on their confidence.

I have learned about Derek Redmond and how many inspirational Olympic and


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Jesse Owens achieved international fame by being fearless and taking no notice of what everyone else thought of him. It was clear that his resilience was what led to him achieving world recognition.

Sophia Fearon

The Tiffin Girls’ School

“To climb steep hills requires a slow pace at first” William Shakespeare

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r e talents would take her far. Shawn never thought of the Olympics as a goal, although once she reached an elite level, the next step was the US national team. Qualifying with success, she became one of the top prospects for the 2008 women’s Olympic team; placed first at Olympic trials, she secured a spot for the 2008 Olympic team. I find her inspiring, because even though she was clearly disadvantaged by ill-health as a young child, it did not hinder her progress in a sport she loved and was talented at. She has worked hard and achieved highly, something I would like to follow in her footsteps and do on my own personal level. I admire her courage in carrying on, and believing in herself. She is a selfless character, who valued others and did not take life for granted. She achieved high standards through working hard and enjoying herself, which is something I would like to be able to follow, even if it is not through sport. From doing what she loved and being allowed to have fun while doing it, Shawn and her coaches had reached a level of success that they had never anticipated.

Chamini Gnanavel The Tiffin Girls’ School © Press Association

Born with an apgar score of “0”, Shawn Johnson was in a critical stage as a baby; however, this did not halt her progress. Even from an early age she loved a challenge and relished any opportunity to prove herself. With an obvious interest in anything physical, she soon found her way into a group gymnastics class. Her eagerness sped her along, and she progressed quickly in gymnastics. At the age of 7, she began competing and year after year her love for the sport carried her through, and allowed her to advance to the point when it became clear her

“And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years” Abraham Lincoln This is like the phrase ‘Quality not quantity’. Also, you cannot really measure your life in years, but the experience and the fun in it.

“Practice is the best of all instructors” Publilius Syrus No one ever got good at anything by waiting for the talent to hit them – they practised, practised,

Paralympic figures there are in the world. - Cory Gibson, Banff Academy

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prasticed and persevered until the end. Barcelona 1992 – an iconic year for all as a man strived to cross the finish line whatever happened… It started off very well for Derek Redmond, as he seemingly effortlessly managed to achieve 45 seconds exactly in the heats and was a firm favourite to grasp the gold medal for the 400 m race. However, in the semi finals, things took a turn for the worse. Everything seemed fine and he was raring to go and as the shotgun sounded, he pounced off the blocks first and unsurprisingly was in the lead. But then, 150 m into the race, he felt a sudden, sharp pain in the back of his leg his hamstring had snapped. What would you have done in this position? All your training and your goals ruined in the space of a second. Imagine the immense pain jabbing at your body and the pressure of your country, not to mention the millions of other people watching, on your mind. You see the other competitors far ahead of you; the race is as good as over for you. But what did he do? He tried to ignore the biting pain and refused any first aid help. He was determined to finish the race on his own. He had trained so hard that he could not let anything get in his way, not now. He tried to get up and run again… only in vain, but this man was so focused that he continued to strive to block out the injury and resorted to limp his way to the finish. This is what I call persistent. The world watched in baited breath, mentally willing him to make it, the crowd cheering him on as the officials tried to take him away to the paramedics. Then suddenly a man broke free from security and ran on to the track and confronted Redmond – it was his dad, Jim, willing him to stop. Derek refused. “Well then” Jim said, “we’re going to finish this together.” And they did.

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Personally, being my cowardly self I would probably h a v e accepted defeat and a l l o w e d myself to be stretchered away in pain, only to have regrets for the rest of my life. But this is not what I want to be like as I want to be determined and as committed as Derek. He tion was extremely © Press Associa decisive and had already set his mind on winning and still thought he could overtake 4 healthy, fully trained sprinters, limping. It was not arrogance, he genuinely believed it at the time and was self-confident and did not want to let himself and those around him down. I also look up to Jim, the father, as he was loyal to his son and stuck by him until the finish line, literally. I have learned that true athletes are more than just someone who is good at their sport.

Ana Hutcheson

The Tiffin Girls’ School

“Sportsmanship for me is when a guy walks off the court and you really can’t tell whether he won or lost, when he carries himself with pride either way” Jim Courier


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“The only one who can tell you ‘you can’t’ is you. And you don’t have to listen” Nike Dan Jansen’s story is one of heartbreak, resilience and inspiration. Dan Jansen, a speed skater, was inspired by his sister. He knew at a young age that he loved to speed skate. He got his first big dose of disappointment at the National Pack Style Speed Skating Championship. “I remember driving back home to West Allis, WI, with my dad, crying for the better part of the 300 mile trip.” When we arrived home, my dad took me aside and said “Dan, there’s more to life than skating around in circles.” “I did not understand at that time what he meant, but I later realised how important it is to keep things in perspective. It is a lesson I’ll never forget.” Dan had been overcoming a case of mononucleosis in 1987. He was a favourite to win the 500 m and 1000 m races at the winter Olympics 1988. However, in the early hours of the day of the race, Jansen was informed his sister Jane was dying of leukaemia, a type of blood cancer. Later that morning, he was informed she had died. That same evening, he competed in the 500 m race and fell early in the race. A few days later when he took part in the 1000 m race at a record-breaking speed, he fell again. He left the 1988 Olympics with no medals,

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r e but did achieve the US Olympic Spirit Award for not giving up and for still competing in the races during such times of sadness. Jansen took part in the 1992 Olympics, a favourite to win again, but sadly finished 4th in the 500 m and 26th in the 1000 m. He left the Olympics, yet again, with no medals. In the 1996 Olympics, Jansen arrived with one last hope of winning a medal. After coming 8th in the 500 m, Jansen was disheartened and went to the 1000 m assuming his career would end without a medal. However, Dan’s last efforts secured him his first and last gold medal from the Olympics. Not only did he win gold, but also set a new world record. After the race, he took a victory lap holding his daughter, Jane, who was named after his sister, in his arms. Dan Jansen’s story is very inspirational because it shows resilience and never giving up, and even when in hard times, it is worth the effort. Despite losing his sister the same day he was racing, Jansen did not pull out and carried on. Even if he did fall in both races, Dan won for his bravery and resilience going on to win a well deserved gold medal 8 years later. If I had been told a family member had died before I had a very important race in my career, I probably would not be able to handle the pressure, stress and grief, and would not have raced. However, Dan Jansen showed a lot of courage by still racing, which is something I admire him for doing. I also think he was extremely brave to race in the 1000 m after he fell over in the 500 m because he was of course disheartened. Dan shows qualities of bravery, courage and resilience in difficult times, which is something I struggle with - and I am sure many others would struggle too when given the situation Dan was in. These are qualities of a great Olympian because you are guaranteed to face tough decisions and times in your career.

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Mathuri Tharmapoopathy The Tiffin Girls’ School

“Always bear in mind that your resolution to success is more important than any other thing” Abraham Lincoln

“It’s hard to fail but it’s worse to never have tried for success” Theodore Roosevelt My inspiration is Anthony Robles because he managed to become a champion whilst only having one leg. He enters as a disabled wrestler and he goes against normal wrestlers with no disability, however, he crouches down and fights. He is my inspiration because he is very ambitious and confident. He discovered wrestling in high school. From then on he had become very passionate about wrestling and has become a national champion at the sport. Although his family had fitted him with a prosthetic leg, Anthony refused to carry on wearing it and had it removed at the age of 3. Therefore when the leg was removed, he had no chance to fit another prosthetic leg because it was missing all the way up to the hip. Even though he was told by family and relatives that he had made a big mistake, he still stuck to his opinion. He started to learn to work around his missing leg and strengthening his body with various exercises.

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When Robles was 13 years old, he set a record for the most push-ups in a minute. Anthony was very ambitious and energetic. His inspirations were his cousins because he would return from school and watch each 16 year old do some wrestling. He won 2 Arizona state wrestling championships, going 96-0 in his junior and senior years. He then finished his wrestling career with 129-15. Another reason as to why I chose Robles was for his confidence and bravery. I know I am less confident and if I was Anthony, I would have been too scared to enter the wrestling world for I would be scared of what the audience /spectators would think of me. However, Robles was tion © Press Associa very brave and confident and carried on whether the audience liked it or not because he enjoyed the sport. He is now a professional coach for wrestling and passes his useful tips to students. Anthony was a finalist for the 2006 ESPY award, which is the best male athlete with a disability, and won it. Anthony Robles has won 122 matches out 125 in his career and this obviously shows his courage. He was also the winner of Autry Courage Award. Anthony Robles was ambitious and hard working. He never ever stopped wrestling despite the fact that he did not have a leg to stand on and fought each match. Therefore my inspiration is Anthony Robles for his ambition, confidence and his determination.

I learned about Kelly Holmes, her goals and achievements and how she


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Mayuri Tharmapoopathy The Tiffin Girls’ School

“Focus, discipline, hard work, goal setting and of course the thrill of finally achieving your goals; these are all the lessons of life” Kristi Yamaguchi

“The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a person’s determination” Tommy Lasorda In the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Kerri Strug did something amazing to win a gold medal in her favourite sport, gymnastics. She was part of the United States gymnastic team in 1996 and was coached by Bela Karolyi. Bela Karolyi had some experience of coaching. Most people would have thought that finals of a gymnastic competition would be all the same, but they were completely wrong. In 1996, USA won the gymnastics competition and it was all down to one particular person; Kerri Strug. She was up against some proper stiff competition against Russia, Romania and China. To get a gold medal, she needed a high score on the vault to claim victory with her team. On her first attempt, Kerri Strug did something very unexpected – she twisted her ankle. She insisted on getting a second chance to correct her attempt on the vault. With a twisted ankle, Kerri Strug did it perfectly the second time and she won the gold medal for her team. Bela Karolyi carried her up to the podium to be with her teammates. She retired as an amateur in 1996 and she entered the University of California in Los Angeles. Kerri Strug is an inspirational person to everyone. Even though she was in terrible pain and could hardly stand up on two feet, she still never gave up. She gave her country a great deal of pride because of her determination. Her teammates,

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television viewers, thousands of arena spectators worldwide and many other people could readily see that Kerri Strug was in great pain and that she could barely walk on her injured foot as she consulted with her coach. Normally anyone doing this Olympic gymnastic event would have given up, but Kerri Strug had put so much commitment and hard work into her training and it would be painful to see any Olympic athlete not do their best, especially if they had been training almost every day of their life for this event. She conquered the pain of the injured foot and carried on pretending that it was just a small problem. She gave it her best shot, the second time and she walked away proudly with her head up high with a gold medal for her team. This was a great achievement for the 17 year-old Arizonan.

reached them by never giving up.- Caitlin McInnes, Banff Academy

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Grace Jackson Vyners School

Never quit – never give up – you will succeed” Sean Swarner

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(completing the 2008 Ford Ironman World Championship in October), Sean has his sights set on summiting the “peaks” at the top and bottom of the world. This will designate Sean as the first person ever to complete what will be known as the “Ultimate Grand Slam”.

An athlete that inspires me is a 38 year-old man named Sean Swarner who was born in the United States of America. Sean is a two-time cancer survivor, who was first diagnosed at the young age of 13 with Hodgkin’s disease and later with Askin’s sarcoma. In 1990, Sean was told that he only had 2 weeks to live and is believed to be the only person in the world with both these deadly cancers. Sean was more likely to have won the lottery 4 or 5 times than to survive his cancer! However, Sean pulled through – although he only has one functioning lung due to the removal of a golf ball sized tumour found with the Askin’s diagnosis. I chose Sean Swarner as my inspirational athlete for many reasons; not only did Sean survive two cancers, but he overcame them in great spirit with an extremely positive attitude. He was constantly striving for excellence and not once did he give up on his goal and he was fantastically courageous when doctors told him that he only had 2 weeks to live (how would you feel?) and his determination got him through the cancer. Sean Swarner was the first ever cancer survivor to climb Mount Everest. After defeating cancer, Sean realised that no challenge would ever be too great, nor any peak too high, and went on to become the first cancer survivor to complete the 7-summits, which are the highest peaks of the 7 continents, which are Mount Everest, Aconcagua, Denali (AKA Mount McKinley), Kilimanjaro, Mount Elbrus, Mount Vinson and Mount Kosciusko. With his next feat looming in the foreground

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As Sean continues to defy the odds and test his own personal endurance, he maintains his dedication towards his mission of sharing his message of healing, hope and triumph with cancer patients worldwide. Sean also serves as a source of inspiration as the founder of his nonprofit organisation CancerClimber, as author of the book “Keep Climbing” and as a motivational speaker to corporations, universities, and other groups around the world. Sean Swarner will continue to Keep Climbing and defying boundaries in order to change the way the world views success, in order to bring hope, and in order to become even greater than even he himself can define so that others can find the hope and inspiration to write their own success story. Sean Swarner has inspired me to never give up on my dreams, and not to allow illnesses to get in the way of becoming an athlete.


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Jessica Morgan Vyners School

“You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore” “To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all” “Your life is your message to the world, make it inspiring” At 18 years of age, Grace Bowman became the first South Australian to represent Australia at the Paralympic Games and was the youngest equestrian competitor at the 2008 Beijing Paralympic games. She is part of the team for 2012. At the age of 12, Grace Bowman was riding towards her stables when her horse shied and she soon lost control of it. She turned it towards a fence hoping that would stop it, but it turned and ran under a tree. She was knocked off the horse by a branch. The force of the hit from the tree severed and dislocated her spinal cord. She was left paralysed from her waist down. Two months after she came home from hospital, she began riding again, because she discovered a newfound dream of representing Australia at the Paralympic Games. She was determined. Then a few years later, her mother was killed in a similar horse riding accident. She is still determined to carry on with her dream, because horse riding gives her a sense of freedom and independence that can only be achieved through what she does and loves.

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Kester Page Vyners School

“No great man ever complains of want of opportunities” Ralph Waldo Emerson

“First say to yourself what you want to be then do what you have to do” Epictetus Joe Wise was born on 22 May 1993. He is an inspirational swimmer and a Paralympian. Joe’s death sentence came at an early age. When

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he was 9 years old, Joe was diagnosed with mitochondrial myopathy, a multifaceted disease which, in Joe’s case, is life-threatening. It is a severe muscular disorder that affects his legs, hips, abdominals and lungs. Normal tasks that most people do not give a second thought like breathing are a matter of life and death for Joe. Doctors told Joe he would not live to see his 15th birthday.

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Joe has to use a ventilator a few hours every day even at school and because of his illness, he can only reach 30% of his maximum capability. However, Joe Wise made the decision to live his life to the fullest. Like most swimmers, Joe values the connection developed with his team mates. Also like most teenagers, he loves nothing more than playing on the computer, hanging out and most of all swimming with his friends. But it is his time in the water, pacing against the clock and pushing himself to the limit every day in the pool. Also he always swims with optimism, a ready smile and a word of encouragement to those around him. Joe is not only alive, but he is a well-known swimmer on the United States Paralympics swimming team. In 2008, Joe was chosen to represent the United States in the Paralympic Games held in Beijing. He believes that swimming has been, and always will be, his lifeline. Doctors are all amazed by Joe’s achievements, and his complete determination to carry on. Joe lives up to the Olympic values as he is always determined, he shows courage and excellence as he swims, knowing that one day his illness will get him. He shows respect and equality by always being modest and considerate; he is a true inspiration to everyone. I admire everything about Joe; his passion and determination power him through life and inspire others to. Also I think he has achieved so much because he never gives up, and although his illness will affect him for the rest of his life, this does not faze him.

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Sophie Malcolm

Wallace Preparatory School

“Where I was born and where and how I have lived is unimportant. It is what I have done with where I have been that should be of interest. Georgia O’Keefe Chris Holmes MBE. Can you imagine playing your favourite sport without sight or have you ever had a day when the game just is not going your way? Perhaps you should read on and maybe you will find the determination and inspiration to get you through your ‘game’! I have chosen Chris Holmes as my inspirational sports hero. Chris Holmes is Britain’s most successful Paralympic swimmer ever, winning 9 gold medals. Chris lost his sight overnight aged 14 and yet went on to gain straight A’s at A level and a place at Cambridge University. Whilst at University, Chris won 6 gold medals at the Barcelona games in 1992, an achievement never matched by any other Briton. He then went on to compete in Atlanta and Sydney winning a further 3 gold medals. Chris was awarded the MBE for services to British sport following the Barcelona games and he was still only 20! A huge achievement at such a young age! I think Chris shows commitment and determination and what is possible if you set goals and go for them. This is an outstanding achievement and proves obstacles and barriers can be overcome. Maybe next time the ‘game’ is not going our way, we should reflect on those who have achieved so much with so little.

I have learned that I shouldn’t take life for granted. I now see life


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Ella Bailey

Watford Grammar School for Girls

“I wouldn’t say anything is impossible. I think that everything is possible as long as you put your mind to it and put the work and time into it” Michael Phelps Mo Farah is a British international track athlete and current 5000 m world champion. Mo was born in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu, but escaped to a neighbouring city, Djibouti, as a young child because the capital had become increasingly lawless with murder and kidnapping common events. He came to Britain with his father when he was 8 years old with his two younger brothers. Some people think he entered the country as a refugee, but because of his father’s long-term residence he was allowed to stay. He came equipped with only three phrases of English: “excuse me”, “where is the toilet” and “c’mon then”. Starting his first day at junior school in a rough, west London suburb, Mo tried out the last of those phrases on the toughest kid in the playground. He came home that day with a black eye and the respect from his classmates for holding his own. I find this inspiring because he came to a completely different country with almost no English and it takes a lot of courage and effort to do that. I admire him for becoming so successful after such a difficult start in life. When Mo was younger, he had always had aspirations of playing on the right-wing for his favourite team Arsenal. He was 14 years old and attending Feltham Community College. At the time he was still struggling to master English and continuously getting into trouble. He was struggling academically so the physical education teacher, Alan Watkinson, saw that he

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r e needed a focus and took him under his wing. His passion was football, but it was his turn of speed on the pitch that really showed his talent, so Watkinson took him to a schools cross-country championship. He did not know what was going on and ran in the wrong direction. He had to follow the other kids the whole way round, but still managed to finish second. A few weeks later he went to a county championship and he came 4th despite having no spikes. His career achievements to date are awe-inspiring. It takes a tremendous amount of determination, commitment and self-discipline to achieve this level of success. I represent my school in netball, hockey, swimming, gymnastics, cross-country, athletics and rounders. When I return home from training at night, I see on my bus stop a picture of Mo Farah with the words “Don’t dream of winning, train for it”. This inspires me to carry on training even when it is cold, windy, wet and ‘miserable’. © Press Association

Charlotte Goodger Watford Grammar School for Girls

“A champion is someone who gets up when he can’t” Jack Dempsey

“Leaders aren’t born, they are made. And they are made just like anything else through hard work” Vince Lombardi Steve Redgrave has done many things for charity such as marathons, bike rides and many more events. He has been willing to do these physical challenges and he shows that he is ambitious and will do anything to try and raise money. It shows that he is caring for people who need the money, food and simple items that we

from a different point of view.- Ellen Oldman, Banff Academy

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take for granted. Recently he has been giving to small charities and schools in areas of economic or social deprivation, predominately in the UK. He has been getting rowing equipment to encourage men and women to row and achieve their dream. The money he raises also goes to Sport Relief which helps both vulnerable people in the UK and the world’s less fortunate countries. Having retired in 2000, he is still helping with the 2012 Olympics even if he is not contributing by winning medals, he is doing all it takes to ensure that we succeed in the 2012 Olympics. I think what I find most inspirational about Steve Redgrave is that he believes that anyone can do what they want, but they have to have selfconfidence. He still believed in himself when he was diagnosed with diabetes and assured all his family and friends that he was going to get through it all without giving up. He did all of this and still knew it was all going to be alright. When he helps others, such as deprived countries by raising money, it makes you think, does he do anything for himself? He always contributes to others and he is a selfless man. He wants other people to be happy, but does not need any more happiness because he already has it all around him. He will always have my support. At first when he received the Sports Personality of the Year Award, when I heard his story, I could see

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that he cares about everyone and loves to help everyone. I knew that he deserved it just by seeing 4-5 minutes of his life. I think he got this award because he lives up to many of the Olympic values and obviously inspires many children and adults any age to pursue their dream no matter what lies ahead. That is why I find him inspiring.

Rebecca Ladyman

Watford Grammar School for Girls

“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 Jessica Ennis inspires me because even when she was struck with a devastating injury, she showed determination, courage and independence to reach her life’s goals and ambitions. If I were struck by the same injury as her, I would probably give up. I am a keen sportsperson myself and looking up to Jessica has made me realise that even when you are hit by an obstacle, there is always a way to overcome it and push on further to reach your destination in life. It inspires me how she managed to do so well educationally wise and balance it so well with her sporting career. Jessica shows excellence, respect, friendship, courage, determination and equality, really showing her inner values towards the Olympics. For me Jessica Ennis is one of the most amazing people I have ever known for determination and passion for what she does and I would not have chosen anyone else but her.


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Mia Springer

Watford Grammar School for Girls

“Gymnastics has been a huge thing in my life. It has taught me manners and discipline. Gymnastics has almost been my father. I’m in the gym 6 days a week and it has formed me. I’m very dedicated to what I want to do and I know where I want to be” Louis Smith

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r e Louis has ADHD and as a child had a very short attention span. He was hyperactive and had endless amounts of energy. At the age of 6, his mum took him to Huntingdon Gymnastics Club, hoping that this sport would drain most of his energy. Louis has said “I was naughty, but not in a nasty way. It was just mischief, playing tricks and making jokes … I’m still like that sometimes!” As Louis Smith got older, his punishment was the pommel horse. However, he took this negative and turned it into something positive. He began to favour the pommel horse and would practise

© Press Association

My inspirational athlete is gymnast, Louis Smith. He inspires me for many reasons, but mainly because of his determination and effort to focus on something which now means a lot to him. Louis was born on 22 April 1989, making him 23 this April. Louis’ home town is Peterborough and he grew up living with his mum.

it regularly. When Louis was 12, his coach, Paul Hall, noticed that he had potential especially on the pommel. Louis owes a lot to his mum. She made lots of sacrifices and 6 days a week for 10 years

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she would drive him from Peterborough to Huntingdon and back again. She was faced with time problems and financial problems; it was only once Louis started getting sponsor money that he feels he repaid her. What inspires me the most about Louis is his effort and perseverance. He sometimes had it tough when growing up, but he has still come out on top. It was when Louis saw the 1996 Olympics that he knew that was where he wanted to be. He overcame his lack of attention and hyperactivity and forced himself to focus and strive for something he really wanted. Louis’ training really paid off, when in 2008 he became the first British gymnast in 100 years to win an Olympic medal. It started when he took a punishment and turned it into a positive. That is in his nature and that is the type of person Louis is. Louis is a great Olympian and shows all the Olympic values:1 There is no doubt that Louis shows excellence, he excels at what he does. 2 Louis shows a great deal of respect to his team mates, oppositions and especially his life-long coach, Paul. 3 The quality of friendship is there in Louis, he is the one who cheers up and reassures his team mates every time. 4 One of the best things about Louis is his courage. He is not afraid to try new things and will push himself to his limit. 5 Without his determination, Louis would not be where he is now. He overcame his issues to focus to pursue his dream. 6 Louis is a firm believer in equality. He treats all his team equally and will help and encourage every one of them to be the best they can, he is a great team player.

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Nikita Tank

Watford Grammar School for Girls

“The only way to face the problem is to fight again and to train again to get stronger” “You have to make the decision to fight to get out of it” “There’s always an end as long as you keep fighting” I must admit I found it difficult to decide on whether to write about an Olympic or a Paralympic sports figure, in the end I chose both! Monique van der Vorst is a Dutch Paralympian turned Olympian. She is an inspiration in her field of cycling, but also in the immense obstacles she has had to overcome to get to where she has. In the Beijing 2008 Paralympics she won 2 silver medals in hand cycling. Monique has also been awarded world champion hand cycling 3 times, world champion Ironman triathlon and disabled athlete of the year in 2009. Monique had been in a wheelchair for 14 years; she had become disabled from the young age of 13, just after she started being interested in cycling. She was paralysed from the hip down in what should have been a simple ankle operation, but had, unfortunately, gone wrong. She had to completely change her way of life, she had

I think I’ve learned a lot by completing this poster made me realise what kind of


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to find new dreams and aspirations. Against all odds she became a world standard hand cyclist. Whilst on her journey to be a Paralympic athlete, she was training hard like any other in 2008, the year destined for her to win the medals, she suffered another accident when hand cycling in Amsterdam and she was hit by a car. She was very close to losing her life and Monique’s spinal cord was damaged even further and now paralysed from the waist down. Monique’s fate seemed to be centred on

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r e Some months later, she felt a tingle in her left foot, followed by agonising pains in them. When the nurse said it was not possible for her to have doctor until the morning, she kept moving her arms to keep that alien pain. She was not afraid; she was overjoyed on what this could mean … She amazed her family the next day by greeting them standing up! While rehab with her new legs took great dedication and persistence, she achieved her goal. She was disappointed that she no longer qualified to participate in the Paralympic Games; she even doubted that she

© Press Association

unfortunate accidents when she was involved in yet another one. However, this time it was different. She was hit hard by another cyclist whilst in training and was in immense pain. She was fearful she might not be able to get back into her wheelchair, so started to exercise her arms.

would ever be an athlete again and had felt that she had almost lost her identity. However, the sensation of merely being able to look someone in the eye, she said was ‘indescribable’. However, even then, she could not have believed

person I am. It’s a great thing to do! - Emma Kirkland, Kirkcudbright Academy

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the next dramatic steps she was about to take. She was taken on by a prestigious pro-cycling team, Rabobank. She was able to start training as an able bodied cyclist and even has aspirations to compete in the 2016 Olympics! Though she knows she has a long road or rather cycling track ahead of her, she is more than ready to take on the challenge.

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Inspired Apprentice Nicola England (17) is our “Inspired Apprentice” and a key member of our team. Nicola provides administrative support and is the first point of contact for the InspireAspire project.

Monique could have given up in so many situations or let herself be overwhelmed with her circumstances, but she did not. Every time she was faced with an obstacle, she powered through; when she was knocked down, she got back up, the last time quite literally!

Nicola left secondary school in the summer of 2011 after successfully applying for our Modern Apprenticeship in Business and Administration. She completed it in record time earlier this year and is about to start on Scotland’s first Enterprise Apprenticeship Scheme which will help her to develop enterprise skills in a business environment. In the past twelve months Nicola has gained many new skills and had many new experiences including working trips to London and Northern Ireland. Having young people like Nicola directly employed on the project has been a critical success factor. We are proud of her achievements and really pleased to have been able to provide her with the opportunity.

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Feedback from Inspire > Aspire

Participants Millie Rayner

Emilie Rapport-Munro

St Leonards School “I have thought about who I am and realise who I want to be as well as what I have to do to get there. Believe me, I will never stop trying.”

nes Kerry Hailsto ool lfron High Sch Ba

Zach Isabella

my rned about t I never a le ve a h “I ha o nd skills t qualities a ut before. This als o t b n a a thought things I w . o t s e y e y r opened m I’m olde and when w o nd I n o d to elf goals a to s y m t e s I need I’ve now the things d n a t s r e d n u work on.”

Baldragon Academy “I’ve learnt a lot about sports people and charities. I have also begun to think more clearly about what I’d love to achieve in my life.”

Eleanor Gillespie

Elgin High School

“In this projec t about my person I learned al qualities and what makes me an individual. The project he lped me to thin k about what I would like to achieve in the fu ture and what I have to do to achieve it. I now have a bett er understanding of myself and the qualities I need to work on . that it is impo I also learned rtant to stay true to yoursel f no matter what other peop le think..”

Brien Eilidh Sutherland O’hool

Sophie Milne

St Fillans Primary School “I have learned to appreciate an more how much the values me and be glo the to everyone around p how these 7 little words hel rk wo and ls us complete our goa . nts me ieve towards huge ach r I’ve also learned that no matte low fol ays alw what you should your dreams!”

Euan Gregory

St Fillans Primary School

“I have learned loads about myself. I never had to think about myself before, but this has made me look deep and thi nk about what I could improve on as well as what is good about me. This has been an amazing opportunity and I’m so glad that I’ve done it. It has given me a chance to set goals for my life.”

Albyn School k “The project has helped me loo d nee I at wh at my strengths and nd fou I on. to do a bit of work my it very interesting to discover at k loo to e qualities and valuabl like uld wo the smaller things I re to do in my life. I learned mo , son about myself as a per stuff I maybe never knew before.”

y Sc Cleveland Secondar e oject helped m “I think this pr at th what it is to realise just d be when I’m an I want to do n me that I’m older. It’s show at I can help important and th a better make the world place.”

Libby Taylor

Aberdeen Grammar School

“I think I’ve learned a few things about myself and have found out about goals I want to achieve that were unknown to me. I have also found out about inspiring people and ways I can become one of them as well.”


I have learned that I have good qualities and ones that need work, and that life is full of opportunities and experiences. Star Sing, Ratho Primary School

www.inspire-aspire.org.uk

Inspired Vol 2  

The content of the Inspired magazine is extracted from pupil’s posters and consists of quotations and reflections on inspirational figures a...

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