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Golden girl Lizzy is the pride of her school

FORMER Maidstone schoolgirl Lizzy Yarnold may have won gold for TeamGBin theWinter Olympics in Sochi – but she also won the hearts of the nation. Lizzy (25), a former pupil of Maidstone Girls Grammar School, took Britain’s first gold of the Sochi 2014 Olympics after dominating thewomen’s skeleton sledge event. Lizzy, whose parents live inWest Kingsdown, finished 0.97 seconds ahead of her nearest rival, to win her gold medal. Staff and students at her old

school watched with pride, many remaining behind for the final. Head teacher Mary Smith said: “When she crossed the line and it was obvious she had won gold, there was wild and spontaneous applause. Itwas a fabulous event to watch together – exciting, uplifting and inspiring.” Lizzy started at MGGS in 2002

and was one of four head students during 2006-07. Mrs Smith said: “She was a won-

derful student at school: commit- ted, passionate and always smiling.

She threw herself 100% into every- thing she did.” Lizzy had great success at school

in athletics, particularly in the high jump, the shot putt and as a runner. Mrs Smith said: “Shewas always determined in whatever she did – her studies, a challenging school trip to Guatemala, Belize and Mex- ico, organising a charity rag week and of course, her sporting activi- ties.

“We are immensely proud to ac- knowledge her as a past student of

this school. She gave a lot to us, and now has given a wonderful boost to the whole country.” Minister

for Sport and local MP Helen Grant said: “She has done Maidstone, Kent and her country proud.”

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Lizzy Yarnold with the Olympic gold medal she won in the skeleton event, and below, when she was a pupil at Maidstone Grammar School

Sporting success | News Town rich in

sports stars MAIDSTONE is proving to be quite a hotbed of local sporting talent.

Fellow MGGS pupil Natalie Seymour was part of the medal-winning British team at the Argentinian HockeyWorld Cup, while the 2012 Delhi Commonwealth Games saw Martin Brockman, ex-Invicta Grammar sixth former, bring home a bronze medal in the de- cathlon. There are two junior national rowers amongst the pupils at Oakwood Park Grammar School, while New Line Learn- ing’s Courtney Tulloch was barred from qualifying for the TeamGBgymnastics squad for the 2012 Olympics because he was too young. The council and local busi-

nesses have helped to sponsor young athletes through the “Maidstone's Dream – bring a medal home” website, which is already encouraging young- sters likeKatie Gibson, a hope- ful for GB’s 2016 Paralympic rowing squad, and Aaron Jor- dan, Britain’s fastest under-23 100m kayaker, to get the train- ing they need.

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