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Olympian, Dancing on Ice winner and alumna Olivia Smart returns to Sheffield Girls’ to inspire the next generation

On Tuesday we were delighted to welcome back former student Olivia Smart who, since her time at Sheffield Girls’, has represented Spain at the Olympics in ice dancing and has recently been crowned the winner of Dancing on Ice alongside her partner, Olympic gymnast Nile Wilson.

Pupils across the Infant and Junior School were incredibly excited about the visit and prepared lots of questions. Olivia offered inspiring advice and shared her journey as a highly successful ice dancer. When asked about why she chose to become an ice dancer, Olivia said: “I’m not afraid to try new things, I know it can be scary at times but all the opportunities I've had and the career I've made came from trying new things, being curious and adventurous and pushing myself in different directions. I always wanted to be a vet, but I somehow made a career out of ice dancing and I love it!”

Pupils asked Olivia whether she had ever made a mistake on the ice, she said: “I've learnt to tell myself it's slippery out there. We are only human, we make mistakes and personally I’ve learnt to grow from my mistakes. Falling, making mistakes on the ice and in training, it all prepares us for what we achieve in the future. Not making the Olympics in 2018 was one of the hardest things I’ve experienced, but that’s also made me the person I am today.”

Our three school values are Courage, Kindness and Positivity. It was great for our students to reinforce their learning around these values and hear how Olivia puts them into practice in her day to day life and career. Being courageous enough to try new things, being positive in her approach to new challenges and being kind to herself and others when learning from her mistakes.

Olivia rounded off her talk by showing the girls a selection of her outstanding routines at both the Olympics and Dancing on Ice, which were extremely well received with ‘oo’s’, ‘ah’s’ and cheers all round.

Emily Green, Infant and Junior School Deputy Head, said: “It was brilliant to welcome Olivia back into School. The look of awe on the girls’ faces when she walked in was enough evidence to demonstrate how much it meant to the girls to see someone who attended their school follow their dreams and achieve their goals in the way that she has. Her message of encouragement to try something new and to embrace challenges and failure as opportunities to learn, is exactly what we encourage through our growth mindset at Sheffield Girls’.”

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