Double Olympic gold rower Tom James inspired children to be enthusiastic about sport and healthy living at a single stroke.
The former pupil of The King’s School, Chester, made a splash when he dropped in to speak to pupils at Oak View Academy about what it takes to become a Team GB hero and the importance of teamwork.
Little eyes gleamed as Tom passed his gold medals around at the Winsford school, before he had children transfixed with tales about his coxless four victories in Bejing 2008 and London 2012.
The visit was part of the school’s drive to educate pupils about the many benefits of sport.
Tom, a 33-year-old graduate of Cambridge University who also became world champion in 2011, said: “It’s great to come and talk to children of this age. They are so enthusiastic and they are not shy to ask anything that comes to mind.
“I was really impressed to hear how many different sports they take part in and I hope my visit has encouraged them to keep trying their best.
“Getting out and doing sport is something we need to encourage more.
“It’s not just about healthy living. They learn about teamwork and how to be resilient when they have disappointments.
“It is a mistake to think of losing as a failure and I think children should be rewarded for trying again when they have suffered a setback.”
He added: “It is great to visit a school that is providing children with the opportunities to achieve their best.”
Oak View Academy is part of North West Academies Trust, which places a strong focus on inter-school sports and experiences outside the classroom.
Principal at Oak View, Fiona Rimmer, said: “Our children get huge rewards from regular competitions with other schools and it’s great to work with The King’s School to promote healthy living.
“We’ve made huge progress in every area and part of this is due to the skills they learn outside the classroom, with sporting events and school trips playing a big part of this.”