Sporting Champions to inspire girls at 2017 Girls Go Gold conference

Helen Glover, Frank Lampard and many more will spend today inspiring girls at the Girls Go Gold conference at Wimbledon High School

In an interview with The Standard, Helen Glover, a double Olympic champion, said: “When I worked as a PE teacher to fund my rowing I worked with girls who had a lot of talent and passion in their early teen years, but in years nine and 10 I saw a big drop-off. I was really intrigued into why that was — we didn’t see it to the same extent with boys.

The other day I walked past a skate park which was full of boys skating, and there was an impromptu football match going on. I don’t see the same with girls so often. There is definitely a body image thing — having to get into PE kit that you haven’t chosen, that you don’t like at that age.

There is something in it not being socially acceptable to be hot and sweaty. Social media plays a huge part in the way girls feel. Some messages are really positive saying, ‘Go train and be a really strong woman’, but there are also a lot of pictures of people with perfect make-up and hair which is unrealistic and makes girls feel really bad about themselves.”

About 30 schools from the Girls’ School Association will send their eight best sportswomen to the conference, as well as state schools Ricards Lodge and Ursuline High School, both in Wimbledon. The day is aimed at inspiring the next generation.  They will sign up for three hour-long masterclasses with stars including Crista Cullen, an Olympic champion hockey player; Tania Hoffman, director of netball for Surrey Storm; Gillian Lindsay, an Olympic silver medallist rower; and swimmer Karen Pickering, who set two world records and competed at four Olympic games despite breaking her back in 1996.

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