Sir Matthew Pinsent opens Lincoln Priory Sports Centre

Four-time Olympic rowing champion Sir Matthew Pinsent officially opened The Priory LSST’s new Sports Centre during a visit at the academy on October 16.

Sir Matthew met students and staff on his tour of the facilities, and took part in a Question and Answer session, before unveiling a commemorative plaque in the new sports hall.

Year 12 student Carla Baker, who trains with England’s Under-19 netball squad, said: “I can’t believe I’ve actually shaken hands with someone who’s won four Olympic gold medals.

“He was so friendly and interested in what we doing. And it was so inspiring to hear him talk about what he had achieved and the sacrifices he had made to get to the top.”

Sir Matthew, whose Olympic medals came in Barcelona (1992), Atlanta (1996), Sydney (2000) and Athens (2004), visited the Newton Science Centre and Cheney Boarding House before being introduced to hurdler and distance runners practising on the outdoor athletics track.

Inside, he watched volleyball and trampolining sessions in the hall, and saw students in action on the climbing wall and in the dance studio.

In the fitness suite, he went head to head with Year 10 student James Holden on a rowing machine, before giving an impromptu talk to a PE class about aerobic and anaerobic exercise.

Back in the main sports hall, he met The Priory’s Sports Leaders as they coordinated a series of mini-Olympics activities for Year 7s and a group of primary school visitors from Ellison Boulters Academy in Scothern.

Assistant Head Mr David Lea, who had organised the visit with Head of PE Mr Ben Pearce, said: “Our pupils asked very intelligent and thought-provoking questions and it was lovely to hear Sir Matthew give such full and insightful answers – he was prepared to expand and elaborate on every subject. He cannot fail to have inspired all the young people in that room.”

Sir Matthew, who also won 10 World Championship gold medals during his glittering career, paid tribute to the academy’s “exceptional sporting attitudes and environment” when he formally unveiled the opening-day plaque.

He added: “I am sure you will all continue to make good use of these outstanding facilities and keep up the sporting standards that I have been so impressed with today.”

Head Boy Alistair Weir and Head Girl Emma Tonner presented Sir Matthew with a Lincolnshire produce food hamper as a gesture of thanks from LSST.