Children inspired to be future Olympians
Published 16 August 2012
Children in London's East End were treated to a visit from two times Olympic silver medallist Debbie Flood.
The rower, who was also five times World Champion, met seven to 11-year-olds at St Bonaventure's School in Forest Gate, close to the site of the Olympic Park.
Flood, who was last week handed the Eric Liddell Award, inspired the kids to "get active and try out new sports".
She was invited by The Joshua Camp, an international gathering of hundreds of young Catholics from 21 countries that took place during the London 2012 Games.
The children heard how Flood had to train two or three times every single day.
"Each training session lasts one and a half hours so daily training is usually four and a half hours every day," she told them.
"We don’t get weekends off and we don’t get lie-ins. I get only 3 weeks holiday a year but I really enjoy doing my sport.”
She said that being at this year's Olympics had been "amazing".
"Sport and rowing are the gifts and ability that God has given me so I wanted to work at it and to be the best in my sport," she said.
"I believe God put me into rowing to be a witness to him and to be a Christian within our rowing team.
“All of you sat here today will have something you are good at,” Flood continued.
“It might be sport, it might be being an amazing friend, a really good listener, but you all have something God has given you. It is important that when you know what that is that you work hard at it and develop that talent.”
When asked how she got into rowing, she explained that she actually loved running and judo at school, and did not get into rowing until she was 17 when someone invited her to give it a go.
She said: "If you get the chance to do something new then try it. You won’t know you are good at it until you try it. Whatever you start doing now, you will still have a head start on me.”
When asked why the crowds cheer those who have not won or those who come last, Flood explained that "even if you come last in a race you are still one of the best in the world and actually each person competing is the best person in their sport in their own particular country”.
She added: "If you do the best that you can, and still aren’t the best in the world and may not have won, you are still the best you can be and the best in your country so this is something to be proud of.”
Flood spent time at the end signing autographs and posing for photographs.
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