The skysports group had the privilage of meeting Olympian Volleyball player Rachel Laybourne. Rachel started her sporting career at secondary school, where her teacher persuaded her to take volleyball as a GCSE option. Soon she was selected for the England U18 squad and realised that it would not be an easy task to manage this alongside her school work. Although Rachel worked really hard at school she was not the most academically gifted student in the class and balancing tou…gh training loads with three A-Levels was a real challenge.
But in 2000 the hard work paid off on both counts as she progressed to the England senior squad and at the same time enrolled at Loughborough University, where she would study Sports Science and participate in the Women’s High Performance Volleyball programme.
When London won the right to host the 2012 Olympic Games in 2005, it kicked off an incredible journey of sporting highs for Rachel. She went on to represent Great Britain in more than 95 international matches, whilst playing professionally in France and Poland. She now had a goal to aim at. GB finished in the top 10.
Despite the fact Rachel has now retired from playing professional Volleyball she is dedicated to inspiring the next generation so that they can find their sporting success regardless of what this may be.
When becoming an Athlete Mentor in 2016, she commented: “I am incredibly proud and excited to be a part of the Sky Sports Living for Sport programme. To be given the opportunity to work with different groups of young people and inspire them to follow their dream is an absolute privilege and one which I find immensely rewarding.
She spent all day at the Harwich and Dovercourt High School, meeting the skysports groups and the Up groups, girls and boys. It was a valuable experience for all pupils involved and we look forward to her next visit.