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Ixworth students inspired by Olympic Athlete

Ixworth Free School was selected to be part of the ‘Sky Sports Living for Sport’ initiative, which involves athlete mentors going into schools to motivate and inspire students, as well as teaching students about the Sky Sports ‘six keys to success’. These are the top six life-skills that successful athletes have identified as enabling them to achieve success in sport.

Sky Sports Living for Sport has been running in partnership with the Youth Sport Trust since 2003. The Youth Sport Trust is a national charity working to build a brighter future for young people through PE and sport. Over 100 world-class athlete mentors from a range of sports deliver visits to schools to share their inspiring stories of success.

Ellie Koyander, a Winter Olympian in Freestyle moguls skiing, visited the school on three separate occasions as part of the project. On her first visit, Ellie led a school assembly about her story and how the ‘six keys to success’ enabled her to achieve her goals. The assembly focused on mental toughness, hunger to achieve, people skills, sports and life knowledge, breaking barriers and planning for success. Ellie then led combined theoretical and practical sessions throughout the day which conveyed her key messages.

On Ellie’s second visit, she worked with a group of 40 students and the focus was on being the best you can be and overcoming  barriers. She talked about how she overcame her own barriers of injury and lack of training facilities, including the obvious barrier of limited opportunity to practice due to lack of snowfall in the country. Her messages were inspiring and led to thought provoking questions from the students.

On Ellie’s final visit she led a range of challenges which focused on developing leadership and teamwork. These challenges were well thought out and thoroughly enjoyed by all involved. Through applying the ‘six keys to success’ to a practical activity, it enabled the students to reflect on their own skills and which areas they would like to develop. At the end of the session students had the opportunity to ask questions and get autographs signed. The day was thoroughly enjoyed by all and the school will once again apply to be part of such a fantastic scheme next year.