Pupils at Brooksbank School were left star struck after a visit from an Olympic gold medallist.
With under 100 days until the 2012 games begin in London, Darren Campbell, who followed up a 200 metre silver in Sydney in 2000 with a gold as part of the British 4x100 metre relay team in Athens four years later, spent the afternoon meeting students at the Elland school.
The sprinter’s visit was part of a prize earned by student Billie-Lou Lowson, who won the won the Youth Sport Trust’s Innovation Award for her incredible contribution to PE at the school, as well as her fundraising, which raised £4,000.
Darren, an ambassador for the Youth Sport Trust, gave in inspirational talk to students in Year 9 and his distinguished career and answered a series of questions before holding a training session with groups of students to improve their running technique.
He praised Billie-Lou for her achievements and said he was impressed by the school’s enthusiasm for the Olympics.
“What Billie-Lou has done is fantastic,” he said.
“I think sometimes sports people are made role models whether they want to be or not, but young people like Billie-Lou are the real role models.
“Sport is important all the time, not just now because the Olympics are on the horizon, and we need to make young people believe that whatever they want to achieve is possible.”
With two Olympic medals already, Darren said he had no regrets about missing out on competing in London.
“I’ve already got an Olympic gold medal in my pocket so I’m not too bothered about missing out on London,” he said.
“What a lot of the athletes will find is that there is going to be so much pressure on them in these games - it’s going to be a real pressure cooker.
“They’re all going be under the spotlight and when the games begin they’re going to realise that.
“I just hope that the games inspire the young people and that they leave a proper legacy.”
The 100 metre final, which Darren told Brooksbank pupils was his favourite sprint event, will again by the show piece of the games, with fastest man in the world and current Olympic Champion Usain Bolt, aiming to smash the world record by running 9.4 seconds.
“I believe he can do it,” Darren said.
“I was a bit worried about his motivation coming into these games because he already holds the 100 and 200 metre titles, but it’s great to hear he wants to scare the world again,” he said.