GB sprint stars 'humbled' to be role models for youngsters

Published 27 December 2014

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Following the announcement that Britain’s Olympic and Paralympic athletes have given back over 10,000 days to schools and communities since London 2012 to inspire the next generation through sport, we caught up with members of GB's European Championship winning sprint relay teams to find out how and why they think it’s important. 
Why is it important for athletes to be positive role models for the younger generation?

Richard Kilty: “It’s always great for kids to have someone to look up to and aspire to be like. Kids usually want to look up to someone who’s successful, so when I was growing up I used to see the likes of Linford Christie winning medals on TV, and that was what I wanted to be like.

“It’s good for the youth to have role models like us to look up to, but it’s also very humbling to think that young people are looking up to us as inspiration, because once we were just like them.”

Jodie Williams: “I think it’s so important for kids to have someone to look up, I remember when I was little I was always looking up to athletes on the TV, hopefully it can keep them out of trouble and give them something to aspire to.”

James Ellington: “When a young person starts off doing sport, whether on the playground or at a club, they will be looking up to us, that’s a big responsibility, and something we should take seriously.”

What have you been doing to help?

Jodie Williams: “I’ve been into quite a few different schools and it’s always great fun to see how the kids react to you and really seem inspired by what you’re saying to them, I think that’s a really special thing that we’re able to do.”

James Ellington: “I do a lot of school work, I’ve run PE sessions, sports days, spoken at assemblies. It’s important because that’s where it all starts, when I was at secondary school, I remember athletes coming in and that was my motivation.”

Asha Phillip: “I coach trampolining to young kids. I also mentor kids who have had injuries like me, I try to let them know that sport can be hard but it’s a great thing to do, it keeps you fit and happy.”

Richard Kilty: “I always try and go back to my community, I try to run classes once a week at my old athletics track for the youth there. I also do some work with the local community to try and help deprived kids stay out of trouble, I do as much as I can.”

Richard Kilty, Jodie Williams, James Ellington and Asha Phillip are among the 1,477 National Lottery supported athletes responsible for delivering over 10,000 inspiration days since London 2012, in a bid to inspire the next generation through sport.

Funding Partners
  • DCMS
  • TNL partners
Official Partners
  • BAES logo
  • BUPA
  • IHG logo
Strategic Partners
  • British Olympic Association
  • Paralympics GB
  • Sport England
  • Sport Northern Ireland
  • Sport Wales
  • Sport Scotland