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Page last updated at 09:14 GMT, Friday, 10 September 2010 10:14 UK

Pinsent pledges support for schools' Olympic Dreams

School Reporters Annalise and Georgia recorded an interview with Matthew Pinsent
Annalise and Georgia recorded an interview with Matthew Pinsent

Annalise and Georgia from Catmose College, Rutland put their questions to Sir Matthew Pinsent, BBC Sport presenter and Olympic gold medallist.

You can also watch the student's phone interview on the Supporter to Reporter website.

Here is their interview:

It was really exciting to interview Sir Matthew, especially as he had just launched the Olympic Dreams School search live on BBC Breakfast.

We asked him questions about this special project and his sporting career:

Q. Tell us more about the World Olympic Dreams project and how schools can get involved?

A. Olympic Dreams is about finding a UK School to twin up with other schools around the world that have been picked because they are hoping to send competitors to the Olympics in two years time.

Tom Daly's school is one of them, a basketball player from the USA, Usain Bolt's school in Jamaica and other schools in China, Australia, Africa and South America - these are schools that are keen to link up with schools in the UK.

We really want people to get involved so that the impact of 2012 goes into your school.

Q. How will the project benefit students and schools in the UK and in the twinned schools?

A. I have seen some of this going on already, like linking whole classes working through a live web link - asking questions like about lives, routines, home life, broadening horizons.

There is the excitement of Olympic athletes coming from that school internationally, lots of questions about sports, what sport you do and how seriously you take it.

I think that it gives students an idea that their way of life isn't the only way of life which is really significant.

Q. Why have you got involved with this project and why do you think it is so important?

A. I am involved in the school search competition and also in the World Olympic Dreams project where we are following the athletes themselves. We have been to their schools, to link their schools up with UK schools and we are also following the journey of these athletes in their training, and their competitions running up to 2012.

I went to four Olympics and I have seen the impact that it has on individuals and see the effect of the Olympics coming to the UK can have. We should be excited about it.

Q. How did you feel when your team won gold medals in the Olympics?

A. This is a very easy one to ask and not easy to answer!

You feel a mixture of excitement of course that you have won and you feel relieved because very often in those situations we were the favourites, so relieved that we had actually converted that into being champions. But also exhausted because you have just rowed a 2000m rowing race so you are pretty shattered.

So it's difficult because you get things pulling you in different directions when you actually get stand on the podium but generally its something that I recommend to everyone tries to go and do. If you can win a gold medal, you should try and do it.

Q. What motivated you during your career as a rower to get up early in the morning and push your body to the limit?

A. I don't necessarily think that we were pushing it to the limit everyday! Part of training is about building up your endurance, your fitness and your techniques so that on race day, under the most pressure, when it really was physically hard; you had the skills to fall back on.

It is a bit like doing a whole lot of school work coming up to an exam. You do lessons everyday that's teaching your brain and putting the information in and you learn how to write, how to argue and how to question and then the exam comes right at the end and actually part of the discipline of doing your lessons is preparing yourself for the exam.

That's exactly the same in sport - you're doing years and years of training for one tiny little race and so you actually motivate yourself by trying to get that little bit better, stronger, fitter, better technically or get into a better team everyday on your journey to the Olympics final which may be four years away.

Matt Pinsent (right) won four gold medals at four different Olympic Games
Matt Pinsent (right) won four gold medals at four different Olympic Games

Q. Rowing is a team event, so what did you do if you felt that your team mates weren't pulling their weight?

A. We were pretty good at having clear lines of communication between us. We were always allowed to say to someone I don't think that's good enough or this morning, that really helped or that's really motivating when you did this.

A good team - you rely on each other for feedback, criticism and encouragement and that's what we had between us. We were able to talk very honestly between us and I think that's one of the keys to our success.

Q. How do you feel now when you are watching rowing competitions? Do you miss doing your part for the British team?

A. No, I don't miss it. I am pretty relaxed about going to rowing competitions now. I am very happy with the part of my life when I go to rowing and obviously proud of the medals that we won.

I'll be happy going to 2012 and watching other British rowers win gold medals, hopefully!

Q. What effect do you think London hosting the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games will have on sport in the UK?

A. I think that it is already revolutionising Olympic sports in this country. If you look at the excitement, the financial support, the degree of excellence within our Olympic sports at the moment; rowing, sailing, cycling - those are kind of absolutely the best teams in the world at what they do.

Swimming and athletics are getting a lot better than they were and even a handful of other sports like hockey or shooting or judo or boxing or modern pentathlon or triathlon all of which hare coming up to new levels for those sports.

I think hopefully we will have a very successful Games' in August in two years time but I also want to see the carry over as well.

I want to see all the people who are excited and motivated about London 2012 now, to stay involved in something in their sport or fight their way to the top so that the 2016 team for Rio is just as strong as the London team we put out in 2012.

Q. If there was one piece of advice that you could pass on to aspiring young sports men and women, what would that be?

A. Oh, just enjoy it! Find something you love and do it to the best of your ability and have a great time because yes, it's going to be wonderful if you get to carry it on as a career or get to a World Championships or Olympics but you have to be realistic about the fact of the numbers of people who actually get to do that.

So you shouldn't push yourself to do something that you find hard or don't enjoy for too long because life's too short for that.

You should find something that you really love and can be good at as well. I was lucky enough to do that. I found rowing and could be good at it.

Q. How did you feel to be knighted by the Queen and did you think she might cut your ear with the sword?

A. I did the check the sword beforehand and it was very blunt which was lucky but she is very used to getting it round your ears and I have quite big ears that stick out a bit so I was lucky that she didn't get too close!

Also, she doesn't say "Arise Sir Matthew" when you are kneeling in front of her. That's an urban myth!"

To find out more about the Olympic Dreams School Search go to the BBC World Class website.

Matthew Pinsent on 2012 Olympics
27 Jul 10 |  People and Places


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