BENDIGO’S own Olympic rower Hannah Every-Hall returned to her former high school, Bendigo South East College, yesterday to share her London journey with students.
The mother-of-two is used to having her athletic abilities in the spotlight after finishing fifth in the women’s lightweight double sculls final with partner Bronwen Watson at this year’s Olympic Games.
What she did not expect to find, however, was 1200 pairs of eyes and ears hanging on her every word as guest speaker at the school’s assembly.
“It just so happens that they had a whole school assembly, which was a bit intimidating,” she said.
“I’m getting better at (public speaking). I like sharing my story.”
Every-Hall said it was at high school that she was first introduced to the sport that has since made her a household name across the country. But not everyone realised her potential at the time.
“My teacher said ‘you’re a bit short, come back in a couple of years time’,” she joked.
“Funnily enough, the ladies in the office today commented that I hadn’t grown a centimetre since high school. I row in a weight category – it’s actually quite advantageous to be short.”
Every-Hall attributed her London Games experience to reigniting her spirit in competitive sport and her recent decision to pursue the 2016 Olympics.
Since arriving home to Canberra – Every-Hall relocated with her husband Mick and two children in 2010 to train at the Australian Institute of Sport – the 34-year-old said she had realised it didn’t end there.
“It made me want to keep going,” she said.
And her message for students on the day: “Take every opportunity that you can.”