In the wake of the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic games, there is no better time to highlight and celebrate the outstanding achievements of women in sport. Despite the focus on the contribution of female athletes to British sporting success, there are concerns that many young girls are still not actively engaging in sport. As role models for the younger generation, this is something female athletes can help to change. One such role model is Joanne Jackson, British swimmer:
“I was born in North Yorkshire and attended Richmond Secondary School. As a young girl, I loved to swim and wanted to follow in my sister’s footsteps, Nicola and become an Olympic swimmer. I believe in the importance of commitment, hard work and determination. This is what enabled me to achieve my dreams, and that is why I like to share my story with young people – which is what I will be doing on ‘Live Sport Talks’ on the 22nd September at the Globe Academy in London.
I have had lots of success on the international stage throughout my career, winning silver, bronze and gold medals for my performances in major competitions including the Commonwealth Games, World Championships and European Championships. One of my greatest achievements came in 2008 when I won an Olympic bronze medal in Beijing, going on to break two world records in the 400m freestyle the following year. I was only 17 when I first went to the Olympics.
I was forced to retire from the sport after the 2012 Olympic Games because of injury but I have since gone on to set up my own swimming academy and am also an athlete mentor for the Dame Kelly Holmes trust and the Youth Sport Trust. It gives me great satisfaction to inspire other young people to aim high and achieve their hopes and aspirations.”