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Olympic Medallists Visit College

September 25, 2014 at 7:28 AM

Inspiring our College students this week were high profile Olympic athletes, rower, Hamish Bond and cyclist, Sarah Ulmer. The New Zealand sports stars visited the College for a day as Ambassadors for ANZ to share what they had learned from their sports success on the world stage. Both athletes have risen to the pinnacle of their sporting field and hold many international and national accolades.

Currently training for a rowing race in Boston in October, Hamish joined with Year 13 PE classes to informally speak on ‘participation’ and what this means to him. He relayed the story of his career, answering the students’ questions along the way. He covered how and why he got involved in rowing, who influenced him, what activities he did when he was younger, what impacts him as an athlete and how the demands of New Zealand sport affect him.

At the Senior School assembly, Hamish passed on his thoughts on ‘achieving your personal best’. His words of advice were that, ‘Talent and ability will only get you so far. These are only the first rung on the ladder,’ he said. ‘Unless you do something with it, it’s wasted.’

On defining success, he said that this depends on who you are and what makes you happy. He posed the question back at the students, ‘What fulfils you? Because you have to work this out for yourselves and be prepared to take risks. Aim big and work out a way to get there by setting smaller goals along the way. Life is a bunch of crossroads and you can only make the most educated decision at the time with the best knowledge you have.’

The second of our ANZ Ambassador visits was from retired cyclist, Sarah Ulmer, who gave her advice to the senior students on the opportunities she has gained from sport. She spoke about her life as a professional athlete, how cycling has impacted on her life and the opportunities she gained from sport.

Speaking to the Middle School assembly, Sarah expressed three things that sport taught her in school. Firstly, she said it is about finding something that you love. ‘You don’t have to be good at it, but find something that you’re passionate about,’ she said. ‘Then grab it with everything you’ve got and it will take you on a wonderful journey full of opportunities.’

Secondly, she said that you must remember it’s okay to be different and do something different to your friends. Because being different as a teen is gutsy.’

The third and final thing that sport taught her at school was that the human body and mind are capable of amazing things. ‘I didn’t know what I was capable of and wasn’t a natural athlete,’ she said. ‘But I chose my passion, was prepared to back myself and gave it everything I had.’

Her final words for the Year 7-10 students were that they had such an exciting stage in front of them. ‘This is your time and it’s amazing what you have in front of you.’ she said. ‘Make the most of what you have at school, because once you leave you will need to search for these opportunities rather than them being given to you. And have fun!’

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