On Thursday 14th December the Mintridge team returned to Bedford Modern School to add a little more Christmas magic to the students’ festive celebrations. World Champion diver and Mintridge Ambassador, Rebecca Gallantree led a bronze programme with a number of different groups of students within the school.

Rebecca was welcomed by the school staff and taken to the sports hall where she was able to set up for the first diving focussed gymnastics session of the day with eight of the top gymnasts at BMS. Following a short introduction to her incredible Olympic career that took her to three Olympic Games, the warm up began so that the skill level of the selected students could be gauged. Impressed by the standard, the Commonwealth Champion introduced the necessary introductory skills required for diving before gradually moving towards jumps on benches, springboards and trampettes. So much of dive training is land based and therefore the BMS gymnasts were getting an amazing insight into training programmes.

After a group photograph, Becky made her way to the Junior School where a room full of Christmas jumpers were waiting for her. Becky gave a fantastic presentation to the students and staff, sharing the nerves, pressure and the resilience that led to the highlights of her outstanding career. The room was wowed by her medal collection which was brought along and even a few more gasps were let out when Becky showed everyone her back flip! Some fantastic questions followed by the students:

“Who inspired you to get into diving?”

“My older sister, as well as GB diver, Jane Smith.”

“Do you have to be flexible to dive?”

“Have you been able to come back from disappointments?”

“What is your favourite dive to do?”

We could have continued the questions as they were coming thick and fast, but the Year 8’s were awaiting Becky’s arrival to lead their PE session. Following a similar structure to the session earlier in the day, Becky enjoyed sharing her story and then getting onto the practical element which was well received by all of the students. By the end of the session, the confidence in the group immensely as they moved to the trampette.

Following photos and autographs, it was soon time for the eagerly anticipated Christmas dinner which was nothing short of delicious. Thank you very much to the BMS catering staff for this.

The High Performance group were the final students to enjoy some focussed time with Becky as part of a classroom session. With a range of sports in the room, Becky covered a variety of topics on life as an elite athlete for the students to take key concepts from including drug testing and doping in sport, nutrition and commitment. An interactive session engaged each member of the group to look at their individual training and sport in a focussed way before a group photograph and an opportunity to see Becky’s special medals.

If you would like to see the YouTube video from the day, please visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7aQaZSwM0go&feature=youtu.be

Thank you very much to the Bedford Modern staff for your hospitality throughout the day.