Olympic javelin hero returns to old school to inspire Bexley students
PUBLISHED: 14:44 12 September 2014 | UPDATED: 14:44 12 September 2014
A three times gold medal holder and twice Olympic silver medallist thanked the school that helped him succeed.
Steve Backley was a guest speaker at Beth Grammar School’s presentation evening last week.
During his address, the former world record holder shared memories of his school days and praised Beths for helping him compete with confidence.
“Thank you for what you gave me - the robustness to walk into an Olympic stadium,” he said.
He also spoke of the encouragement given by former PE teacher Geoff Snell, who retired three years ago.
Speaking of the first time he was selected to compete in the javelin, Steve said: “My big chance. I’ll never forget it. I had three no throws, three red flags.
“I thought Geoff would be angry but I’ll never forget what he said- you could give in or you could dust yourself down and come back stronger.
“You will have times when you fail, it’s what happens after you fail. It’s right there and then when champions are born.”
The school’s annual presentation evening, which celebrates the work of the last academic year, was also attended by the Mayor of Bexley, Cllr Howard Mariner, and Mayoress Diane Mariner; London Assembly Member James Cleverley and Cllr John Fuller.
Headteacher James Skinner said: “Tonight is about celebrating the success of our students in and outside of the classroom.
“We are always delighted to welcome back any of our old boys but it’s particularly pertinent to have Steve here, somebody who has performed at the highest level in his field. It demonstrates to all our students that they can achieve great success.”