World and European 800m medallist Jenny Meadows and World 200m and Olympic finalist Emily Freeman say it is vital for athletes to have role models when trying to achieve their Olympic dreams.
As a young athlete training in Yorkshire, Freeman met Sally Gunnell as part of a programme called “Gunning For Gold”. She said the experience was inspirational.
"She came down to the Don Valley Stadium and we had the opportunity to ask some questions," she told the See Sporty Be Sporty Podcast.
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"For her to be just a normal person, with all of those amazing achievements was brilliant.
"To listen to her talk about her experiences and real-life examples of what she was doing, her training, how it felt to be an athlete at that level.
She was sat in front of us being a real person and not questioning whether we could do it, it was more 'here is how you could do it', I took a lot from that. I don’t remember the words she said but I remember how it made me feel.
Freeman was part of a Team GB Olympics Team that reached the Olympic final in 2008, as well as a world finalist in the 200m.
After retirement in 2014 she founded social enterprise company Totally Runable, to work with other athletes and inspire the next generation. Meadows joined the Totally Runable team in 2019.
Her role model as an athlete was Kelly Holmes. She too spoke of the importance of knowing the real role model behind the achievements, and the emotional side of competition.
"I guess when people think of Kelly Holmes they think of the two gold medals and [that success] sometimes defines a career.
I can still see that image of her coming across the line, but I’d followed her journey and it was the emotional side for me. Even if she’d have come 5th or 6th she’d obviously achieved so much and put her body on the line.
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