An Olympic Surprise for Cobham Hall students

It’s not every day you get to meet an Olympian, and even less often you get to be presented with a trophy from one!

That’s exactly what happened to Year 10 student Lilly Gibbs when Cobham Hall’s Olympian Elder Kate French returned to the School to give an assembly about her time at the Games this summer in Rio de Janeiro. Kate represented Team GB in the Modern Pentathlon. Kate returned to the School for a brief visit this term, prior to her assembly, and had an impromptu Q&A with some of our students. Head of PE Mrs Kelli Hooper said of the visit, “The girls were incredibly excited. For many, that was when the Olympic Games actually felt attainable – here was someone who attended the same school as them, competing on the biggest stage in sport. Not only that, but in a sport not part of the school curriculum. For the girls, as well as for me, that was when the legacy of the Olympic Games hit home.”

Kate, who’s presentation covered the whole experience from selection, through training and being ‘kitted out’ in Team GB clothing, to the experience of being in Rio, was surprised as she was welcomed into the Gilt Hall through a flurry of party poppers. She explained how she felt after a disappointing first day, where she hadn’t quite performed as well in the fencing as she would have liked. She told the girls that “making mistakes is ok, that’s just part of the experience. You only fail if you don’t keep trying.

After her presentation, Kate presented Lilly with a trophy; the Triathlon South East Youth Championship, won earlier this year. Lilly is currently ranked 28th nationally and we couldn’t be prouder of her! Speaking afterwards, Lilly said of Kate, “You’re an inspiration to the whole school, thank you for presenting me with my trophy!”

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