Olympic rower John Collins visited Hurst College on Monday 14th November and spoke to the Junior Sports Scholars about his journey from his school days to Olympic rowing finalist at Rio 2016.
John recalled his days as a 15-year-old at a state school, where he was overweight and disliked sport.
It was through the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme that he found rowing. Participants of the Award have to choose a sport to take part in and it was his dad, who used to row himself, that suggested he gave the sport a try.
John fell in love with rowing and the following year, aged 17, he broke Sir Steve Redgrave’s record as the youngest ever winner of the Pairs Head of the River.
He went on to place 7th in the World Rowing Championships 2014 and 8th place in 2015, both in the Double Sculls (M2x) squad.
After winning a silver medal in the Double Scull at the World Rowing Cup Regatta in Poznan, Poland this year, John qualified for the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympics with Jonny Walton, where they finished in 5th place.
John told the Hurst pupils how he trains for the British Rowing team three times a day, every day, and only has a break one Sunday a month. He is now training for the Olympics in Tokyo in 2020.
John inspired the students by saying, “Find something you might be good at and apply yourself.
“Sport is not about others and competing against them; it’s about you. If you want to be the best, you need to look at what you are doing and what you can break down and improve.”