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Team GB Star Coaches SHS Hockey Girls

 Crista CullenThere was excitement in the air at Stamford High School on Thursday 6th September, as Olympic bronze medallist, Crista Cullen, visited the school for a special hockey training session. Crista is recognised as one of the best defenders in the world, and she was also the top goal scorer at the Olympic Games. The girls felt privileged to spend a whole afternoon being coached by such an inspirational sports star.

The most anticipated moment of the coaching session was Crista’s display of her trademark drag flick, which astounded them all – the girls later learnt that Crista did 400 drag flicks a week during the run up to the Games! Crista put the girls through their paces during the coaching session and gave them a real insight into how hard work and determination leads to success.

After the hockey training, Crista came back to the school hall for a presentation and a Q&A session. She spoke about her journey over the past four years, the training that she undertook and the spirit of Team GB. Crista spoke about her team’s disappointment after not getting into the semi-final in Beijing, and how it was at this point that they all reached a decision to commit the next four years of their lives to London 2012, as their team’s aspiration was to come away with a medal.

The training programme, since Beijing, has meant that some of Crista’s team mates held down jobs whilst also committing themselves to three days of training a week. Crista then reflected on the devastation that the team felt after losing their semi-final against Argentina. She said: “After the defeat we realised that there was no way we were leaving the Olympics empty handed, we could still achieve our goal of winning a medal. After refocusing we achieved our Bronze medals and I have never been so proud.”

The SHS hockey teams got a chance to hold the bronze medal and there were even a few photograph opportunities. All of the girls felt so lucky to be coached by one of their sporting heroes and were delighted to hear about her journey to success. Let’s hope they start the hockey season off in true SHS style!

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