Congratulations go to Shona McCallin, of Dry Doddington, who has returned home from Rio with an extra item in her luggage — an Olympic gold medal. It is a symbol of years of hard work and dedication that started at Newark Hockey Club.
The medal is just reward for a team that went unbeaten throughout the Rio tournament. Millions of people watched the Great Britain ladies’ hockey team win the nail-biting penalty shoot-out in the final against the Netherlands that sealed one of sports’ most sought-after prizes.
Hopefully some of those watching would have been inspired by seeing the team celebrating on top of the podium to take up a sport and start the chase for the Olympic dream.
The ladies’ hockey team gold was one of 27 won by Great Britain in its most successful ever Games, eclipsing even London 2012. Medals have been won in sports from cycling to showjumping and from swimming to athletics. Hardly a day has gone by in the last two weeks without news of medal wins.
Newark could yet have a double medal celebration as Natalie Blake is about to set off for Rio to compete in the Paralympics in the powerlifting.
Like Shona, Natalie has dedicated her life to reaching the pinnacle of her chosen sport.
The financial problems that have beset the Rio Paralympics have been well documented this week. Hopefully they will not spoil Natalie’s Games experience.
Success breeds success so it is hoped the Rio Games will inspire the next generation of potential medal winners to switch off their games consoles and smartphones, just for a short time, and start their journey to sporting greatness.
Natalie and Shona have proven that, with hard work and perseverance, dreams of going to the Olympics and Paralympics could become a reality. Let them inspire you.
More by this authorSharon Hodkin