Students at Ixworth Free School have enjoyed an inspirational visit from two Olympic athletes –sprinter Rion Pierre, and track and field athlete Marilyn Okoro. On 5 December, all students gathered in assembly to hear Rion and Marilyn speak about their journeys into sport, before spending the afternoon learning training techniques with the athletes.
Rion Pierre and Marilyn Okoro both shared their experiences as Team GB athletes and the challenges they have faced in their sporting careers. Both athletes have competed on an international level at the World Athletics and Junior Athletics Championships, taking bronze medals in their respective sports. Rion was a Team GB athlete for the London 2012 Olympics whilst Marilyn won bronze in the relay team at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
Students were inspired with stories of the athletes’ determination, strength, dedication and commitment, and they learnt how these skills are essential for life at school and beyond. Rion and Marilyn also hosted a 30 minute training session with each year group, where students practiced some Olympic training exercises.
Speaking at the event, Marilyn Okoro said: “It’s really important for kids to have role models and be inspired by their stories. All of our stories start at school and, from what I’ve seen and heard today, it’s impressive that pastoral care is so important at Ixworth Free School. Treating each child as an individual is the catalyst to building confidence and being successful.”
Rion Pierre said: “For me, it’s about responsibility. I’ve got children of my own and I see the part that role models play in their lives. It’s very humbling to be in a position where kids can look up to you as a positive influence.”
Mark Barrow, Headteacher at Ixworth Free School, said: “We all had a fantastic day with Rion and Marilyn. We would like to thank them both for taking the time to visit our school and for inspiring students with their passion for athletics.”
The Olympic visit was arranged by Inspired Through Sport who raise money for schools to invest in sport, and support aspiring young athletes on their Olympic journeys. Visit www.inspiredthroughsport.co.uk to find out more.