At 9 years old, Olympic backstroke Champion, Kirsty Coventry, told her father that she would go to the Olympics and win gold.
She did just that!
Growing up, Kirsty had a supportive family, but never a sporting role model. Ok, there were plenty of famous sports stars around, many from Zimbabwe, but no one that was ever accessible. To her, they were nothing more than faces in the mist.
Perseverance . Sacrifice . Hard Work . Self-Belief
Kirsty learnt very quickly the importance of the above values, and even when she was laughed at by people, who felt her dream was nothing more than just that, worked hard to become the person she believed she could be.
Accepted into 3 universities, Kirsty opted for Auburn, and although she knew that she would be the slowest swimmer there, she realized that she would have to swim with the best, to become the best.
Kirsty is currently visiting schools across Zimbabwe, in a mission to inspire children to become the best that they can be, to believe in themselves. She talks to them about her time at Auburn, including the sacrifices she made to be there, and the importance of working as a team. She won her first Olympic Gold Medal whilst at University, as well as graduating with a degree in Hotel & Restaurant Management. She always underlines the importance of education, and that you should never sacrifice it for sport. In her own words, “Sport has a lifespan, education lasts forever.”
Kirsty encourages the children to follow their dreams, even when others tell them to give up, or that they are out of reach. Persevere when times are difficult, and work hard all the time, in every aspect of life, be it sport, school or at home with their families.
Kirsty helps them to understand, that all of us are capable of achieving greatness, and that we all have a talent or gift for something, and that it is up to us, to do something about it.
She believes there is always a chance and opportunity to be great, even if it means simply being a terrific brother, sister, husband, or mother.
Kirsty and her dedicated team, recently visited the David Livingstone School, in the south of Zimbabwe. Around 350 children attend the school each day, many having to walk 8km, some without shoes… She understands the huge importance her visits have on the young children, especially in rural areas of Africa, that are so easily forgotten and outside the mainstream.
To date, Kirsty has visited 10,000 children, and although their mission is to inspire the children, they too, have been left inspired.
What have you done today, to make you feel proud?