Marlon visited our secondary sports day, speaking to students and starting some races, before speaking to our primary children about his Olympic Gold performance in the 2004 Athens Games. I overheard one Year 2 girl remark to a fellow student as she left the auditorium having watched Marlon’s race and listened to his account, “That was really incredible!” - I couldn’t have agreed more.
There is something quite magical about listening to people that have risen to the very highest pinnacle of their chosen profession. The people that impress me the most are not those that have a success story that is littered with unrivaled success. It is the people that make it to the very top, despite setbacks, disappointments or disadvantages. Marlon’s telling of his own story was the latter, and was all the more powerful for being so. As he recreated his journey to that Olympic final, racing against the fastest four men on the planet, we were all taken to a world of uncertainty, but an uncertain world filled with his determination to win. We watched spellbound as the race unfolded, seeing years of effort, self-belief and focused determination pay off in the most magnificent way.
You can watch the race yourself here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DATSz4mjqtw
However, perhaps the most moving aspect of today was seeing the impact of dreaming big, what we term the call to Be Ambitious, upon children. Seeing students run that little bit harder in their races in the presence of an Olympic Champion, hearing their whoops of delight as he awarded the house cup to the winning team, hearing the buzz of excitement from primary children and their incredulity at meeting a great champion, who was ‘a really ordinary person, just like me’. It was exhilarating stuff. Tonight, there will be many children dreaming big dreams, of future success, of great ambitions realized. So go on, BISS students, Be Ambitious, because today you met someone that proves that you really can learn more, achieve more, be more!