Downtown Birmingham in Business recently hosted a special lunch event at Bank. The event entitled ’In Conversation with Diane Modahl’ discussed Diane’s commonwealth games achievements, her life after competitive sports and starting The Diane Modahl Sports Foundation.
Downtown CEO Frank McKenna chaired the discussion which started at the first point of her career; growing up in Moss Side and attending the standard school P.E class. It was during this time she was exposed to the world of athletics and worked her way to the top. She won a silver medal at the 1986 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh but that wasn’t enough, she wanted the bigger, shinier gold medal so she went to her coach and devised a plan. Finally, four years later, she won the gold medal.
Diane told the Downtown audience “Success is not about talent; it’s about purpose, tenacity and drive.” She enjoyed looking down at the 2nd and 3rd place winners but she didn’t stop there; she competed in four Olympic Games and was unbeaten for six consecutive seasons in the 800m.
Since retiring she has taken on several important roles but possibly the most notable, is setting up The Diane Modahl Sports Foundation. In her own words, Diane describes the charity as a platform to develop resilience and determination in young people and for them to never give up despite what life throws at them. It is not just for creating the next generation of Olympic Athletes but to nurture self-esteem, discipline and overall wellbeing in whatever they decide to follow in life.
Once the conversation had ended, it was open to the audience to ask questions. Ted Robinson asked, “how to motivate young people, especially after failing?”. Diane responded by saying that young people can be easily discouraged and can find it hard to bounce back but as their leaders, it’s important to support them throughout, be encouraging and celebrate their effort, not just their success.