Icy lessons for outback students
30 April 2019
OLYMPICS UNLEASHED: Hurtling down a solid ice track, head first. Going up to 125km/h. Her nose just centimetres off the freezing cold ice. Wearing an aerodynamic lycra suit... It seems a long way from outback Queensland.
But for Winter Olympian skeleton racer Jackie Narracott, the lessons she’s learned competing around the world are just as relevant to the students at the Brisbane School of Distance Education, as those who grow up in the snow.
The school has almost 4,000 students, with many students streaming into classes online from regional and remote Queensland.
Sharing her story with students from school, Jackie had a simple message: “Trust yourself.”
“Students can do anything,” Narracott said. “Deep down in their soul, if they want to do something, they can. Just try it. If it fails, try again. This matters just as much to kids from the regions or the city.
“There are so many kids in regional areas that can really benefit from this – when we get out there it doesn’t matter if you’re a city or country kid it’s all open.
“I remember when I was a kid the impact of having athletes come into my school, and seeing what’s possible was inspirational to me, hopefully I can help inspire some kids to show what they can do as well.”
While competing at a Winter Olympics is a highlight – it’s not just the highs Jackie wants to share.
“I want to show the kids that it’s not all easy or pretty, but that’s what gets you to the really good moments. I’ve got some good photos of bruises and other injuries, but I also talk about the mental and emotional challenges like missing Christmases and birthdays while I’m away training and competing. Sometimes it hurts, but the days it hurts makes the days that work so much better.
“When I show my final run from the Olympics, and the kids see what I can actually do on the ice, their reaction is awesome. A lot of oohs and aahs. I don’t think many have seen skeleton before!”
It also opens up a whole new side of Queensland for Brisbane-born Narracott, who spends large parts of the year training and competing in the Northern Hemisphere.
“Being able to speak with kids from Roma or Mt Isa or anywhere around Queensland and see that a story about overcoming injury and challenges can really still engage with them – it’s really inspiring for me as well.”
Olympics Unleashed takes Olympians and aspiring Olympians into schools across Queensland - your school can be a part of Olympics Unleashed too. Register at www.olympicsunleashed.com.au and keep in touch with your athlete on their journey to Tokyo 2020 and Beijing 2022.