As part of our partnership with Sports for Schools we’ve been lucky enough to chat with GB Olympic swimmer and Bronze Medallist Joanne Jackson. Jo is a previous World Record Holder for the 400m Freestyle and is Britain’s most successful female swimmer of all time. She talks to us about getting active from a young age and the importance of motivation and determination.
Name: Joanne Jackson
Were you active as a child at school?
I remember from quite a young age being active and wanting to take part in sport, in and out of school. I remember wanting to be outside playing rather than staying inside. I wasn’t very competitive at a young age I just loved playing sport and trying new things.
How important is it for children to take part in sport?
I think it’s really important to participate in sport from a young age, I think it’s great for children to be active and try a number of different sports, which can help with life skills. It’s great for their health and fitness and a good way for children to have fun.
How can schools get their students to be more active?
I think if you make the sport sessions fun it will help encourage their pupils to be more active. I also think a variety of different sport/activities will help the children join in. If the children were struggling to play individual sports I would encourage the teacher to do group/team sports to get all the children involved.
What was the first sport that you got involved in?
My first sport was swimming which I did from the age of 4, my mum thought it was really important I learnt how to swim as it was a life skill.
What is your favourite sport?
My favourite sport and the one I went to the Olympics for was swimming but I have also played netball, football, hockey and also been a member of the athletics club.
What is your biggest accomplishment?
My biggest accomplishment in sport would be winning a bronze medal at the 2008 Olympic games in the 400m Freestyle.
Do you have a dream goal?
My ultimate goal was to win an Olympic medal but now I have retired it is to be a role model for children and helping them to achieve their dreams.
How did you reach your goal?
Every year I would sit down and set goals with my coach for the up and coming year, but I would make sure these were realistic goals. There is no point setting a goal which is out of your reach. I would look at my performance from the previous year and then set the bar a bit higher. If I achieved that goal earlier than expected I would then set a new one.
What is your life motto?
You only get out of life what you put into it. Believe you can and you are half way there.
Who is your inspiration?
My inspiration was my sister, Nicola Jackson. My sister went to the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney and I really looked up to her. She was a fantastic athlete and I remember watching her at the Olympic Games and thinking I would love to be like her and achieve what she has. If it wasn’t for her my dream wouldn’t of been to go to the Olympic Games.
Any advice for budding athletes?
To never give up on your dreams. Whatever your dream is, if you give it a 100% anything is possible. You will also have setbacks along the way its how you deal with them that makes you a better and stronger person.
As part of our ongoing partnership with Sports for Schools, Playforce can exclusively arrange for athletes such as Joanne to visit our school projects to officially open new play and sport areas and hold workshops with the pupils. In addition, as part of our customer rewards scheme, Playforce customers also get priority booking on any event they book with Sports for Schools.
Read our other athlete interviews:
An interview with Kevin Paxton
Interview with Athlete Peter Bakare
Interview with Athlete Kelly Simm