For snowboarding sensation Jenny Jones it was the place her enthusiasm for sport began. As a teenager, she excelled at gymnastics and athletics at The Ridings School, Bristol, before her fondness for skiing and snowboarding set her on the track to Olympic glory.
And yesterday, she returned to her old school – now called Winterbourne International Academy – to give pearls of wisdom to its current crop of emerging sporting talent.
She caught up with her former PE teacher Trish Lewis and chatted to students in a question and answer session in the sports hall while proudly wearing the bronze medal which shot her to fame at the Sochi games earlier this year. Jenny, from Downend, South Gloucestershire visited the school after making history by becoming the first British competitor to secure a podium finish in a winter Olympics. No stranger to accidents – she told pupils she had suffered a handful of broken bones in a succession of snowboarding accident – she arrived with her right arm in a sling due to shoulder injury which will prevent her returning to the slopes for three months. But she was beaming as she arrived at the school, recognising several teachers from her time at the school in the early 1990s.
She was a little unfamiliar with her surroundings though, with the school part-way through a major redevelopment. She said: "It's weird. It's quite different now – the astro turf pitches are brand new and look amazing."