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On Tuesday, 4th December, a group of pupils of the International Section of the Collège Charles III was invited by the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federation) to meet the families of three legendary athletes – Paavo Nurmi, Jesse Owens and Fanny Blankers-Koën – at the Meridien in Monaco.

The students, who had done some research in class and prepared a Power Point presentation in English on the above-mentioned athletes, explained why P. Nurmi, J. Owens and F. Blankers-Koën can be considered as world legends and why they personally inspire them.

Studying their lives also gave the pupils the opportunity to express themselves on themes such as courage, discrimination, injustice or willpower and eventually enabled them to come up with their own definition of heroism.


The presentation was followed by a warm exchange with the families of the athletes, who kindly agreed to answer the students’ questions and take a few pictures with them for the record.


  • Here are some reactions of the pupils interviewed by their teacher, Mrs Sanna, after the meeting:


“I will mostly remember how kind and welcoming (funny too!) the athletes’ families were. I hope we will have a similar opportunity again.” Isabella

“I was inspired by this project because it showed me that if I want to be good in sport I need to be strong mentally.” Luca

“I will always remember how proud their relatives were of them. I would be very pleased to be involved in this kind of project again.” Lola

“This project will be forever etched in my heart as this was one of my first times speaking in public and can’t wait to do something similar again.” Clara

“It was mesmerizing to have met these families when you know what the athletes have accomplished. I would love to participate in other projects of this kind.” Amaël

“What I will remember from that meeting is the importance of determination and motivation to evolve in sports and along our lives.” Samuel

“I was very pleased to be involved in this kind of project, I would never have imagined being in front of Fanny Blankers-Koën’s daughter. I was impressed and I would love to take part in this kind of project again.” Lula

“I will remember all my life how lucky I have been to work on this project and that we have to follow our dreams and believe in them. It was very impressive and interesting. I was stressed before the presentation but in the end I was very happy and proud of myself.” Léann

“It was amazing! We learnt very useful things and I feel lucky to have met the families of world-famous athletes.” Sara

“My class and I presented a Power Point about three great athletes to their families. It was a wonderful experience even if I found it strange that we had to explain something they already knew.” Riccardo

“It was amazing! The families were really nice and it was a unique opportunity that I really enjoyed. I will remember it all my life.” Freya

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