01:30PM, Monday 25 July 2016
Stars from Team GB’s women’s hockey team dropped into Phoenix Gym to give an inspirational talk to the next generation of talented gymnasts.
Captain Kate Richardson-Walsh and team-mate Alex Danson visited the gym at Water Oakley Farm on Friday, just days before they were due to set off for the Rio Olympics.
During an hour-long talk, they spoke about the importance of a positive mental attitude and team-work and urged the youngsters to ‘dream big’.
Alex, 31, told the gymnasts: “I hope all of you are sat there thinking ‘I want to do something with my gymnastics’.
“Whether that’s competing for your club or maybe even one day representing your country.”
The pair, who have more than 500 international caps for Team GB and England between them, also shared tales of their heartbreak after missing out on a gold medal at London 2012.
After the talk they gave the gymnasts a chance to hold their Olympic bronze medals from the London Games and also showed off an Olympic torch.
Alex told the Advertiser: “Embedded into our culture is the ethos of ‘inspire the future’ because that’s exactly where we started.
“If we can raise aspirations in an hour’s talk then that’s a privilege.”
Kate Richardson-Walsh, who will be taking part in her fourth Olympic Games in Rio, added that her team ‘feared nobody’ and just needed to achieve consistency at the tournament.
She also said the team would be ‘as prepared as we can’ against the threat of the Zika virus in Brazil which has led to the withdrawal of some high profile British Olympians.
Kate added: “Everywhere you go there are things you have to be aware of and all we can do is be as prepared as we can.”
Lynn Bushell, Phoenix Gym centre director, added: “Gymnastics is an individual sport but they really drove home the message that you need to work as a team.”
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