OLYMPIC fever was at a high this summer when our athletes in Rio had Britain bursting with pride as they collected more medals than ever before.

Since then schools have been striving to keep the legacy for getting active and involved in sports alive by introducing Olympic heroes as role models.

The senior pupils aged 11-18 at Windermere School had the chance to learn some serious skills first hand from Olympic hockey star David Ames.


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The sport, along with netball, rugby, football and swimming, is responsible for keeping thousands of teens fit during their school lives.

Hockey ace Ames, is actually Irish, but decided to play for Great Britain to give himself a better chance of competing at the Olympics. He played midfield for the British men's team in the Rio Olympics.

The Olympian visited the south Lakes school during the first week of October, which was his third visit to the school in four years, something which the head of PE at the school, Dan Reid, is very proud of. He said: “David’s initial visit came about because a pupil who was once sports captain at the school knew him and asked if he would visit us here in Windermere.

"I’ve stayed in touch with David ever since and when I umpired for his team at Bisham Abbey as part of the Team GB preparations for the Olympics, I asked if he would be interested in coming back again. We’re thrilled he said yes!”

Ames lead two separate two-and-a-half hour coaching sessions on the school’s astro pitch. The morning session saw the younger students put through their paces, culminating in a number of small games, while the afternoon session gave some of the senior students the chance to improve their hockey skills, with a particular focus on shooting.

Year 11 student, Olly Thomas, 15, who plays for the school’s under 16s hockey team, was buzzing after the afternoon coaching session. He said: “We had a fantastic day. It was great to experience the type of drills professional players practice on a daily basis in their training sessions. It was hard work, but well worth it. Hopefully our results will reflect the effort we’ve put in today.”

At the London 2012 Olympics, hockey was the third biggest sport in terms of ticket sales with more than 630,000 sold and in Rio 2016 the women's team won an emphatic gold medal that got the whole country going hockey-mad. The team went through to a penalty shootout against the Dutch defending champions and eventually took the victory for Britain.

Hockey remains one of the most popular sports with school children all over the UK, third behind rugby union and rugby league. Mr Reid said: “We feel very privileged to have been able to arrange this visit as Olympic athletes are in high demand, particularly so close to the end of the Rio Olympics.

"I was very pleased to be able to give the students the opportunity to take some guidance from such an experienced athlete, and every single one of them worked very hard for each of the sessions.

"Everyone certainly seemed to enjoy the day and commented on how quickly the time had passed. I am also very grateful to David for making the long journey up to visit us, and pass on his knowledge through a series of skills drills and small three and four-sided games.”



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A brief history of hockey

- The roots of hockey are buried deep in antiquity. Historical records show that a crude form of the game was played in Egypt 4,000 years ago and in Ethiopia around 1,000BC.

- Various museums offer evidence that a form of the game was played by the Romans and Greeks as well as by the Aztecs several centuries before Columbus arrived in the New World.

- The modern game of hockey emerged in England in the mid-18th century and is largely attributed to the growth of public schools, such as Eton.

- The first Hockey Association was formed in the UK in 1876 and drew up the first formal set of rules.

- The original association survived for just six years but, in 1886, it was revived by nine founding member clubs.