Aboriginal students in southern Alberta got the chance to meet some of Canada's top cross-country skiers during a visit to the Morley Community School Friday.
Olympic gold medallist Beckie Scott joined fellow Olympian Perianne Jones and rising star Jesse Cockney to share their stories with youth at the school and expose them to the benefits of sports.
Although Scott retired in 2006, both Jones and Cockney will be heading to Sochi, Russia in February for the 22nd Olympic Winter Games - and all were enthusiastic to engage with the students.
"The objective was to connect the kids to someone that they could know and have engaged with and met and when they see them on TV, then be able to have that extra special connection to them and cheer for them," said Scott.
"The other part of that was just sharing the stories of inspiration and goal setting and dreams and achievements in excellence."
Scott has already travelled to many northern communities over the past four years to share her experiences.
But for many, seeing Olympic hopeful Cockney — who is originally from Yellowknife and has an Inuit father — was a big moment.
Cockney says the opportunity to show the youth at Morley that he understands the challenges they face was important.
"Just tell a little bit of my story — who I am, where I'm from — and kind of give the kids something to aspire to," Cockney said.
And when it comes to advice for future Olympians, Cockney says it comes down to the basics.
"Make it happen, work hard and it's totally possible."