BBC Tumble judge and double gold medallist Craig Heap has been coaching youngsters at Bede Academy

Gymnast Craig Heap (2)The sporting ability of students has been stretched by a former Olympic and Commonwealth gymnast.

Double gold medallist Craig Heap, who is also a judge on BBC One programme Tumble, put students at Bede Academy, in Blyth, through their paces in the classroom and the sports hall.

Craig, who captained England to team gold at the Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur in 1998 and Manchester in 2002 and also competed in the Sydney Olympics in 2000, is now an athlete mentor in the Sky Sports Living for Sport programme and many other initiatives aimed at motivating young people through sport.

“It’s all about building the students’ confidence by making changes based on the ‘six keys to success’. I used them to get to the Olympics and I still use them in my day to day life, to be successful in my own business and if I’m commentating on gymnastics for BBC Sport or appearing on television in Tumble on a Saturday night,” he said.

Gymnast Craig Heap (3)Fifteen students at Bede, who are either studying BTEC Sport or are in the academy’s fitness initiative, heard Craig’s story and about the six keys to success before taking part in activities, drawing on what they had learned.

A farmer’s son from Burnley, in Lancashire, Craig was destined for a life on the farm before he was “dragged along” to watch his sister doing gymnastics.

“I went to a boys’ school and I struggled with sports like football and rugby. It was tough and I nearly quit. But later I learned it’s OK to be different and that cool things happen to people who are different,” added Craig, who retired from competitions in 2002.

“There’s nothing wrong with being a farmer if that’s what you want, but I learned there’s a massive world out there full of amazing opportunities and to grab them whenever they come along.”

Student Lewis Faircloth, 12, of Blyth, said:

“It’s been fun. I can use the skills Craig taught us in my PE lessons.”

Laila Rogerson, 13, of Blyth, added:

“Craig was really funny and I’ve learned some new people skills.”

The visit took place during the academy’s Healthy Living Week, when students, staff and parents are encouraged to get active.