With the hockey season about to start in earnest, it was wonderful to welcome Rio 2016 Olympic Gold Medallist Shona McCallin to Bedford School during the first week of the Spring Term.

Boys from both the Prep School and Upper School were treated to inspiring talks from the Olympic champion on her journey from schoolgirl to Olympian. Talking to boys in the Upper School, the Rio 2016 star shared some of the secrets behind her success and her experiences of balancing A-levels and training while at school, when she was involved in both U18 and U21 England hockey. Excellent communication skills (to keep both school and coaches up to date), good planning and organisation are essential, as are determination and commitment!

Shona also spoke of her love for team sport and its many benefits: the opportunities for sharing experiences, building memories and forming strong bonds. She described Rio 2016 as ‘a magical time’ and 2016 as "a year that will stay with me forever". But even now her sights are set on the next goal – in fact, training for the Tokyo Olympics starts today!

Boys then received a hockey masterclass from the Olympic champion who gave them some top pointers as they played matches against each other.

Speaking on her visit, Shona said, "It's really important for us to be role models and for me especially that means getting out and seeing the younger generation who are going to be our future so I take a lot of pride in visiting schools and clubs and giving them words of wisdom.”

Samuel Mee, Director of Hockey at Bedford School, added, "You could see the buzz around the assembly in the way the boys reacted and to have somebody like Shona who has just gone and won an Olympic medal a few months ago talk to the boys is pretty inspiring."

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