Gladiators' star and British athlete, Jenny Pacey, kicks off Kingston University's scheme for talented young sports people.

Gladiators Ready

Kingston University’s Sports Performance Programme was launched on Friday with a motivational talk from international athlete and former Gladiators’ star, Jenny Pacey.

The 27-year-old, who is currently in the top ten long jumpers in Britain and training towards the 2012 Olympics in London, spoke to around 20 of Kingston University’s brightest young talents about her varied career and gave advice about all aspects of sporting life.

As well as the long jump, Pacey has competed in the pentathlon and was part of her country’s bobsleigh team at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin. Whilst detailing her amazing experiences at those Olympics, she also recognised that hurtling down narrow, twisting ice tracks is not for everyone.

“You just pull yourself in and pray…some people literally wet themselves in the sled because of the speed,” she said.

 “Roller coasters are never the same again after bobsleigh.”

The Lincoln-born athlete also appeared as Enigma in the latest two series of Gladiators and described her time on the show as “a wonderful experience” and “the best fun ever”.

Pacey was keen to impart as much advice as possible to Kingston’s rising stars though and talked about the importance of managing time to accommodate lectures and training, drinking lots of water and getting your diet right.

She also encouraged them to aim high and expressed her own pride at realising her dream of representing Great Britain.

“The first time you put the GB vest on, it’s the most amazing feeling. All the hard work and effort has paid off,” she said.

In addition to training hard to make it to the Olympics in 2012, the Loughborough graduate has her own website, is doing a six part television series on fitness and will soon be bringing out a book and DVD. On top of this, her next goal is to appear on Strictly Come Dancing.

So, with all these strings to her bow, she was understandably eager to encourage the students to think beyond sport as well.

Pacey answered a number questions from the audience after her speech and left Kingston University’s talented young athletes with this motto:

“If you give nothing less than your best, you’ll be amazed with what you can achieve.”

Dr Chris Easton, Senior Lecturer in Exercise Physiology, was also on hand to tell students about the facilities on offer at Kingston University.

The equipment in the School of Sports and Exercise Science has been used recently by Fulham FC, Saracens RFC, Great Britain’s Olympic Kayak team and athletes training for an Ironman triathlon in California. 

Easton has also previously worked with 5,000m and 10,000m world record holder and Olympic champion, Kenenisa Bekele, in the lead-up to major championships.

For more information on those benefiting from the Sports Performance Programme, be sure to check River Online Sport regularly, where we hope to feature the progress of Kingston’s stars of the future.

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