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Ottilie inspires our young athletes


On Thursday this week, The Mount School York PE department welcomed ‘Sports for Champions’ advocate and Team GB Freestyle Kayaker, Ottilie Robinson-Shaw to talk to pupils.  

The ‘Sports for Champions UK’ initiative works in partnership with pro athletes, and Team GB Olympians to educate, enable, and empower youth across Europe. With many young athletes operating on a self-funded basis, the expense of equipment, travel, accommodation, training and coaching can become overwhelming. Through its work with schools, Sports for Champions UK aims to promote the positives of sports to the champions of tomorrow, whilst raising valuable funds for out nations athletes.  

Ottilie spoke with pupils about her career so far, from discovering the sport at her local canoe club, to entering her first competition at the young age of 12 and winning her first World Champion title aged 16. She highlighted the importance of living a healthy lifestyle and held a Q&A session. Junior School pupils asked a wide range of interesting questions and were keen to hear about Ottilie’s favourite aspects of competing and her favourite destinations to sail. To help give a better understanding of her boating techniques and rowing style, Ottilie welcomed a volunteer to help with a demonstration.  

Pupils across Junior School and Senior School were also invited to raise sponsorship for participating in a group fitness bootcamp. The girls completed a series of bodyweight exercises for one minute before moving to the next station. Each girl was able to have their photograph taken with the athlete and her gold medal, and a certificate was awarded to those that had raised a significant amount of money.  

The girls left the sessions feeling inspired were equally impressed with how relatable Ottilie was and how similar their experiences of school life were with hers. 

“Ottilie winning a world championship at age 16 was really inspiring and I liked that at school she was interested in other sports such as hockey, netball and rounders as they are sports that we also do. The day was so fun, I want her to do it again.” – Berlin, Year 10 

“I liked hearing that Ottilie attended an all-girls school as well, and she started at around our age and in the year that I’m in so she was really relatable.” – Miryam, Year 9 

Equally impressed with the morning and the attitude towards sports that our girls have, Ottilie commented, “I would have loved the opportunity for a young female athlete to come into my school when I was a teenager, so I hope I can just inspire the children to keep pursuing sports, they don’t have to do it as a career, but to just keep loving doing exercise and being active.”  

Thank you to all those who kindly sponsored the Sports for Champions initiative. 

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