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Lessons school children can learn from Olympic athletes!

Lessons school children can learn from Olympic athletes!

This guest blog has been written by Nicole Sherwood. Nicole is the Content Writer for the specialist education recruitment agency Spencer Clarke Group.

As experts in recruitment for mainstream and SEND schools, Spencer Clarke Group are passionate about securing the right candidates within a school setting. They specialise in connecting teaching and support staff to mainstream and SEND schools all over the UK.

Spencer Clarke Group currently has a wide range of positions available in a variety of schools. Simply call them on 01772 954200 or get in contact at to speak to one of their team and discuss the opportunities available.


What lessons can school children can learn from Olympic athletes?

With the 2024 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris fast approaching, schools all over the world will be looking to take part in activities, games and celebrations to commemorate the biggest global sporting event. But what about the powerful lessons that athletes and the Olympics can teach students?

There is no doubt that the nation's Olympians are impressive athletes. They hold and break world records, win medals and many are praised for their moral character and skills. Children might not understand the magnitude of the Olympics or know all of the athletes' specialities, but they can learn valuable lessons from the qualities that make up a good sportsperson.

A football player helping a member of the opposite team up
Sports players showing sportspersonship by helping each other 

Here are some of the important lessons that pupils can learn from Olympian athletes:

Never give up

Children can learn sportspersonship, persistence and perseverance from Olympians. Teach your class about recovering from setbacks, and the importance of picking themselves back up and getting back into the action.

The road to success can be long and full of obstacles and fulfilling your achievements can be difficult, therefore, perseverance is a vital skill for both children and adults to learn. Everyone encounters setbacks during their life. Sometimes these might be interpreted as failures, and can be hard to move past. It is important to let your class know that even Olympians experience challenges in their life, and if appropriate, you could explore how they moved past them.

A child walking through a maze painted on the floor
A child navigating a maze

In their careers, Olympic athletes face hardships, overcome injury and face disappointment but they continue to persevere, and in turn can inspire generations of children to keep going, try again and not to give up.

Dream big

Children are taught to dream big by their parents and teachers, but Olympic and Paralympic athletes are perfect examples of individuals who have worked towards a goal and fought hard to reach it. Whether the end goal is to compete at the Olympic games or win a medal, Olympians are proof that you can achieve your dreams and do anything if you put your mind to it.

An illustration showing success is outside of your comfort zone
Leaving your comfort zone to reach success

Olympic and Paralympic competitors travel far and wide, come from different backgrounds and may have faced difficult circumstances. Encourage pupils to set themselves individual targets that they can comfortably and confidently work towards. Encourage them to become more aware of the effort they put into achieving their goals.

Accept defeat and lose like a winner

For some children, losing or getting something wrong can feel like the end of the world. It can be disheartening and disappointing. These setbacks can shatter their confidence, so it is important to help your class become aware that there is more to life than winning. Every mistake is an opportunity to learn, it’s the experience of taking part that counts!

A chalkboard with the phrase sometimes you win, sometimes you lose written. Lose is crossed out and replaced with learn.
Learning opportunities are everywhere

In the event of a defeat, teachers should encourage students to accept the loss gracefully and learn from the Olympians who don’t walk away with a gold medal. Recovering or bouncing back from disappointment and failure builds resilience and tells children it is ok to try their best and not come out on top.

No matter how devastating or frustrating, it’s important to be a gracious loser and be respectful to the winner. Children need to understand that there will always be more opportunities to win or improve their personal best, so teachers should encourage students to keep trying. Losing like a winner is also a great way for children to learn from their mistakes and get back on track with humility, dignity and motivation.

The importance of self-discipline

Taking part in sports teaches children discipline, endurance and self-resilience. The Olympics is a prime example that those who work hard and aim for the stars can achieve something great.

If you notice students are struggling to stay motivated or are only able to perform well under pressure from others, engage in a conversation about the power of self-motivation, discipline and determination.

To stay healthy, fit and motivated, Olympians require self-discipline and self-belief. Supporting children to develop their intrinsic motivation skills will boost them in all aspects of their lives. 

An infographic showing the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic motivations
Intrinsic and extrinsic motivations


Teach children about the importance of self-discipline to prepare them for the realities of the world outside of school. Olympians have training schedules that they must stick to. Some students can benefit from a carefully thought out routine or plan to set realistic goals, track their progress and remind them to stay on task.

Unity in diversity and acceptance

Both the Olympic and Paralympic games are the embodiment of diversity and inclusion, with the very best individuals from around the world coming together to compete and share in their love of sports and athleticism.

The Olympics and Paralympics shine a light on different ethnicities, religions and cultures and today more than ever, children are inspired by what they see. The representation of people from different backgrounds provides schools with the opportunity to discuss diversity, especially when Olympic athletes share messages on inclusion and non-discrimination.

The Olympics is a good starting point for conversations in the classroom about embracing other cultures, disabilities and equality. Teaching children about tolerance is important, as it encourages them to be open to differences and diversity in all aspects of their life.

The Paralympic games (where athletes with a physical disability compete) can help children understand that there are no limits and that they can use their strengths to accomplish things they had never thought possible.



Make sure you take a look at our collection of Olympics-themed teaching resources. This collection includes free and paid ready-to-use resources designed for primary school children by primary school teachers. 

While you are here, don’t forget to read our other Olympics blogs including Olympics Facts and Olympic Activities 

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