Fortunately Yorkshire Comprehensive schools had a great school music programme at the time and I was given a school French Horn on loan and free music lessons. What I talk about in the book is how I think I learnt everything I needed to know to get to be an Olympian, apart from the actual sport, from music rather than sport at school. While all the sporty kids were doing sport I was doing music with the same dedication. I’d get up early every morning to do my French horn and piano practice, I had rehearsals most lunch times and every day after school, I’d get up again on Saturday to play in Area Orchestras and played at Country level in the holidays. I learnt how to hold my own line at the same time as blending with a team, and dealing with the sickening nerves of playing a solo really wasn’t that different from lining up for an Olympic final. By the time I finally found rowing I already had all that going for me. I couldn’t believe it when people just didn’t turn up for training. One of the most important things I learnt at school was the importance of turning up. You can’t achieve anything if you don’t turn up.

—Olympian Alison Mowbray



  1. Turning up and turning up on time is more important than too many people realize.

  2. My students learn that lesson very early on, KJC. 🙂