Olympic pole vaulter Holly Bradshaw

Olympic Athlete Inspires Local Students

An Olympic pole-vaulter has been offering an insight into the life of an elite athlete by passing on her training and performance expertise to students at Stratford-upon-Avon College.

Holly Bradshaw, who competed at the Rio Olympics in 2016 finishing in fifth place, joined the College as a guest lecturer on Thursday 2 February to discuss her training and conditioning with Sport students.

Holly’s husband Paul, a former 800-metre runner who has represented both England and Great Britain, now works as Sport lecturer at the College. Aware of a gap in Holly’s training schedule, Paul took advantage of the opportunity to organise the visit.

Holly spent the day covering nutrition and analysing performance with the students. She explained: “Pole vaulting incorporates quite a lot of complex movements so I’ve been showing them how I go about studying my own technique.”

Working with young people provides Holly with a great sense of fulfilment. “This is a great way that I can give back. I love inspiring people to get involved in sport. If I can help in any way with their education and to get them motivated then that would be ideal.

“I’ve been lucky enough to acquire so much knowledge from the people I’ve worked with. If I can share that with others then I want to take advantage of the opportunity.”

Holly is temporarily recovering from surgery following a recurring injury in her Achilles tendon. Not wanting it to impact her further and cause additional issues, Holly chose to have the corrective operation early in the year, ahead of upcoming events. “This year, the most important thing to me is the World Championships in August, which will be held in the UK. When a major competition is held in my home country, the crowd is insane. It’s great to have so much home support and there’s the opportunity to get a lot of coverage, so it’s that much more important to me.”

Thankfully, the surgery was a complete success and Holly will be back to peak fitness in six weeks.

Paul Bradshaw was thrilled to offer his students the chance to learn from an Olympian. “It’s a fantastic opportunity for them to find out more about what it’s like to be an elite athlete and what it takes to compete at an international level. They are always ravenous to soak up new information and were determined to make the most of this experience, asking questions about motivation and the team that supports Holly. The insight they gained will certainly inform their own practice and have a positive impact on their own career ambitions.”