Olympian boost for Otumoetai production

By Jamie Troughton

Kurt Pickard was supposed to help teach Otumoetai Primary School students safer cycling techniques back in August.

But the 21-year-old BMX star - and part-time Kids Can Ride tutor - had a pretty decent excuse; he was making his way back from competing at the London Olympics at the time.

To make up for it, Pickard dropped in last week for the opening session of the school's production, Weka Goes Wild.

Based loosely on the irreverent TV sports show The Crowd Goes Wild, the production by 183 members of the senior syndicate showcased their studies of the Olympics during the third term.

Their rendition of New Zealand's Olympic theme song Stand Tall sent shivers up the spine of their star guest.

"It was fantastic to see the effort the kids had made with their production and how the Olympics had captured their imaginations," Pickard said.  "Getting to race in London was certainly an incredible experience for me and I hope one or two of them get to experience it one day too."

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Photos: Jamie Troughton/Dscribe Journalism

Otumoetai senior syndicate teacher Jane O'Carroll said her troupe was delighted to have Pickard present, capping a wonderful Olympic project.

"With the Olympics being our main focus at the beginning of term we decided to make it a full learning experience for the kids," O'Carroll said. "Every aspect of the curriculum was covered with the kids researching the history of the Olympics, the different sports, the Creed and Oath and the impact these have on the Games, the Opening Ceremony, medal counts and past hosts and what this requires. Each class then chose an aspect to create a scene for the production."

Pickard crashed during the semifinals in London and has spent the past month recuperating, though he's eager to get back on his bike and begin the four-year journey to the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

As a Kids Can Ride ambassador and part-time instructor, he's also been given a boost with the award-winning programme recently awarded a Tauranga City Council contract for the next three years.

"We're absolutely thrilled that the quality of our programme has been recognised," Kids Can Ride founder Iris Thomas said. "Having a three-year contract gives us the ability to build on our successes at schools like Otumoetai

Primary and also to keep inspirational staff like Kurt involved."


- Bay of Plenty Times

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