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Keep going like Billy and Wilma

An Olympic-themed assembly to inspire pupils to have courage despite obstacles.

by Guy Donegan-Cross

Suitable for Key Stage 2

Aims

An Olympic-themed assembly to inspire pupils to have courage despite obstacles.

Preparation and materials

Assembly

  1. Who is feeling brave? Who would be brave enough to cut Mr xxx’s tie in half?

    (Either get a volunteer, or cut the tie in half yourself.) 

    Say that it takes a certain amount of courage to cut a teacher’s tie, but the two Olympic athletes you are going to tell the pupils about had even more courage.
  2. (Show the picture of Billy Mills.) Billy was a runner who competed in the Tokyo Olympics of 1964.

    Both Billy’s parents died when he was 12 years old. When Billy first tried to get in the school running team, he wasn’t picked. Most people would have given up at that point. But he kept going until he was picked for his school team.

    He kept on running and competing and eventually got selected for the Olympic team to run in the 10,000 metres race. However, the team coach thought he had no chance on the track, so didn’t bother to give Billy a pair of running shoes. Billy had to borrow some!

    In the race, Billy was an unknown. He was knocked into third place in the last lap. But in the closing seconds of the race he suddenly ran ahead with incredible speed and beat all the other runners, even beating his own fastest speed by 46 seconds! You can watch it here (see ‘Preparation and materials’).
  3. (Show the picture of Wilma Rudolph.) Wilma Rudolph was born in 1940, and had 21 brothers and sisters.

    When Wilma was four years old, she contracted polio, and had to wear braces on her legs. Her left leg stopped moving, and doctors told her she would never be able to walk properly again. But five years later, aged nine, she took the braces off, and started training to be an athlete.

    In 1955, when Wilma was 16, she ran in the Olympics in Australia, and won a bronze medal. But it was in 1960, in Rome, that she astounded the world, winning three gold medals, and helping the relay team to victory. She was called ‘the fastest woman in history’ and a postage stamp was printed with her face on it.

    You can watch Wilma’s story here (see ‘Preparation and materials’).
  4. Billy and Wilma could easily have given up. But they didn’t. We won’t all win medals but, like these two athletes, we can all make choices not to give up.

Time for reflection

The Bible says that living your life for God is a bit like being an athlete in training. Some days we find it easy, some days difficult, but with God we can all keep going.

Prayer
Dear Lord,
thank you for Billy and Wilma.
Help us to keep going when things are tough,
and not to be afraid of challenges
because you are always with us.
Amen.

Song/music

‘You shall go out with joy’ (Come and Praise, 98)

Publication date: July 2012   (Vol.14 No.7)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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