Olympic boxing queen Nicola Adams went back to the classroom as she prepared for the night that could round off her dream 2012 in glorious style.
Nicola visited David Young Community Academy, Oakwood Primary School and Burmantofts Community Nursery during a whistlestop tour of her home city of Leeds yesterday. (Dec 10)
Proudly wearing the gold medal she won at London 2012, the 30-year-old fielded questions from pupils about her life in and out of the boxing ring.
But Nicola also found time to ask Yorkshire Evening Post readers for their support at this weekend’s BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards.
She is on the 12-strong shortlist for the event’s main prize, alongside the likes of cyclist Bradley Wiggins, tennis ace Andy Murray and athletes Mo Farah and Jessica Ennis.
And with top spot due to be decided by a public phone vote during Sunday night’s televised ceremony, Nicola knows hometown backing could prove crucial.
She told the YEP: “The people in Leeds have been brilliant to me all along, they really helped me win that medal in the summer.
“It’d be great if they could support me again – although to be honest I’m delighted just to be in the final 12.”
Nicola’s visit to Seacroft’s David Young Community Academy brought back a host of memories for the champ.
Her old school, Agnes Stewart, became part of the academy in 2006 and some of her former teachers were on hand to renew acquaintances with the local girl made good.
Nicola, from Ebor Gardens, was also given a rapturous reception by year 3, 4, 5 and 6 pupils at Oakwood Primary, where her brother, Kurtis, works as a sports coach.
One lucky youngster, nine-year-old Kaitlin Cunningham, was invited out of the audience so she could get a feel of how much the VIP guest’s medal weighs. Kaitlin, from Gipton, said afterwards: “It was a lot heavier than I expected. Meeting Nicola was really exciting, she’s a hero.”
Nicola’s flyweight division gold was the first boxing medal to be won by a woman in the history of the Olympics.
* The BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards are being held at London’s ExCeL centre.
TV coverage of the ceremony starts on BBC1 at 7.30pm.