Double Olympian inspires pupils

Lizzy Yarnold with Burgess Hill girl  Peanut Meekings, who throws javelin for Sussex. SUS-180507-122810001
Lizzy Yarnold with Burgess Hill girl Peanut Meekings, who throws javelin for Sussex. SUS-180507-122810001

Olympic golden girl Lizzy Yarnold attended the Burgess Hill Girls school to cheer on the young athletes during it’s sports day.

The two-time gold medal winner spent the day talking with the girls, answering their questions and supporting the various races.

Lizzy with Year 5 and 6 event winners at Burgess Hill Girls sports day SUS-180507-123008001

Lizzy with Year 5 and 6 event winners at Burgess Hill Girls sports day SUS-180507-123008001

A spokesman for the school said: “Ms Yarnold gave a wonderfully emotive and motivational speech.

“She spoke about the challenges she faced in her bid to be an Olympian, reducing several girls and staff to tears.”

During her speech the Skeleton champion revealed she knew at the age of 18 that she wasn’t going to make it as a javelin thrower and began to explore other events to realise her dream of becoming an Olympian.

Through UK Sport’s Girls4Gold talent identification programme, she was identified as having potential in skeleton, an event where a single rider on a skeleton bobsled, hurtles down a frozen track while lying face down and head-first.

The decorated Olympian told the audience that failing is good, revealing her own motto, ‘Succeed and celebrate, fail and you learn.’

Ms Yarnold said: “You don’t win much in life, so it is very important to deal with losing and to see it as a positive.”

Burgess Hill Girls Junior School headteacher Heather Cavanagh said: “Lizzy’s visit was a huge thrill.

“She’s so down to earth and modest and has overcome so many setbacks in her quest to become an Olympian.

“Determination and resilience are such important life skills for young people.

“She’s a fantastic role model for girls who want to succeed in life.”

For one girl in year 10, the former javelin thrower’s visit was particularly inspirational. Peanut Meekings, aged 15, throws javelin for Sussex and shares the same sporting hero as Ms Yarnold, Britain’s Goldie Sayers.

The Skeleton athlete won gold in 2014 and 2018 earning her the title of most successful British winter Olympian.