Inspiration from an Olympian: Drawing on Resilience for Success

Matt Uffindall
Senior School PE Teacher


“What does it take to get to the top in a sport?”

“What is the difference between an elite and a club player?”

These are questions that have been asked time and again, and opinions may vary between the many coaches and teachers who would respond. When discussing elite sport, the media often focuses on the likes of Cristiano, Messi or LeBron. However, elite sportsmanship comes in many forms, representing many sports and nations around the world.

DCSPX Inspiration from an Olympian

Our IGCSE PE and IB SEHS students were privileged to hear directly from an Olympian, who addressed these topics and more. As an international rugby player myself, I was pleased to welcome Mr. Ifrim to talk about the mental strategies of elite performance. Mr. Ifrim is an Olympian, having competed at the Vancouver Winter Olympics in 2010, representing his home nation of Romania in luge.

DCSPX Inspiration from an Olympian

Mr. Ifrim spoke passionately about his own experiences, successes and heartbreaking moments fighting back from injury. Unlike the global media superstars, who can draw on significant financial support from sponsors, many elite sportspeople rely solely on their own resilience, effort, desire and motivation to succeed and overcome adversity.

DCSPX Inspiration from an Olympian

Linking his experiences to topics relevant to our curriculum, the students took his messages onboard and drew a personal connection with their challenges and motivation competing for our Dulwich College Shanghai Puxi Mustangs. The importance of calm, the significance of understanding their role and the ability to reflect with humility are all great life skills that we encourage in all aspects of our school life.

DCSPX Inspiration from an Olympian

We thank Mr. Ifrim for taking the time to meet with our students and share his important message. His message of personal motivation, hard work and desire to succeed resonated with our own Mustangs spirit of Pride, Passion, Resilience and Respect. Who knows - maybe one day we will see a Dulwich College Shanghai Puxi alum stepping out under those famous Olympic rings!


We are incredibly proud that many of our staff here in the College have competed at the highest level in a variety of sports. The experiences they bring to their profession are invaluable and have a real-life impact on the young people they work with on a daily basis.