Katarina Johnson-Thompson celebrated with inspirational mural in Liverpool, boosting local sport engagement


A 30-metre by 10-metre mural, located on Liverpool's Dale Street next to the popular local pub The Excelsior, is catching the attention of passers-by.

The artwork depicts Katarina Johnson-Thompson hurdling on a sports track, with motivational phrases such as 'progress not perfection' and 'never give up' surrounding her. These words were chosen after a study of 2,000 adults found them to be powerful motivators in achieving goals.

The mural was created by renowned local artist Paul Curtis over a three-week period. It was commissioned by British Gas as part of their initiative to drive positive change in local communities, promote sustainable energy use, and support communities through sport.

Speaking about the mural, Johnson-Thompson said: "The positive energy from my supporters has always spurred me on and inspired me, this celebratory mural in my hometown that brings this to life in such an impactful way is amazing to see."

This comes as a study by British Gas revealed that 72 per cent of people admit they have struggled to find the motivation to become more active, with barriers including lack of motivation, fatigue, time constraints, or simply being stuck in a rut.

Johnson-Thompson added: "Motivational words help to keep you going as an athlete. I've been lucky enough to have been surrounded by people in my career who have my back and who have given me so much positive encouragement to spur me on. Positive words of motivation from others improves your outlook - and could even better your performance."

Heptathlete Johnson-Thompson was greeted by a group of local kids, brought together by the Liverpool Football Club Foundation. The organisation provides life-changing opportunities for youngsters and their families and counts Johnson-Thompson among its ambassadors.

83 per cent of those surveyed stressed the importance of inspiring and encouraging children and young adults to engage in sports, according to recent research. In maintaining motivation, one in four respondents utilise the mantra 'one day at a time'. As further proof that every little helps, 23 per cent of participants stressed that all progress is commendable, while 15 per cent aspired to seek progress rather than perfection.

Mural of Katarina Johnson-Thompson painted by Paul Curtis
Mural of Katarina Johnson-Thompson painted by Paul Curtis -Credit:SWNS

Participants of the OnePoll.com survey recommended that words of encouragement were the most effective motivators (41 per cent). Setting clear goals and fostering a supportive environment were also highly valued, both scoring 31 per cent. Interestingly though, survey respondents deemed fear-based methods as least efficient motivators (six per cent) along with brutal honesty, unwanted as it may be (12 per cent).

Performance psychologist Katie Mobed, who has worked with Olympic champions, educational leaders, and world record holders, added: "Any professional athlete will tell you that the support they get from the crowd gives them a huge boost. The most popular motivational phrases in the research are geared towards making physical activity more achievable and less daunting."

"This is an effective strategy because it speaks to the nature of the mind, which has not evolved to be wholly positive and confident. This negativity bias is why we feel the sting of criticism more powerfully than we feel the joy of praise. To get out of a rut or create new, positive habits around physical activity, we need to overcome this bias and tip the scales in favour of positive action."

"Breaking our goals down into small, achievable chunks really helps, and this is exactly why phrases like 'progress not perfection' help us to get active."

Of the 38 per cent of Brits who don't do any form or exercise, 46 per cent would like to take up walking, 22 per cent swimming and 14 per cent yoga. While 82 per cent of all those polled - whether they exercised or not - said the hardest part about becoming active is simply getting started.

James Corcoran, from British Gas, said: "We all need the power of positivity - and our mural by the talented Paul Curtis is here to support Katarina Johnson-Thompson and inspire her hometown and its millions of visitors."

"We hope that the phrases proven to power positivity resonate with all generations in promoting self-belief and showing support for others in whatever they are looking to achieve."

TOP 20 PHRASES THAT MOTIVATE BRITS:

  1. One day at a time.

  2. Any progress is good progress.

  3. You can do this.

  4. Keep going.

  5. You don't have to go fast; you just have to go.

  6. You've got this.

  7. You know you can do this.

  8. Strive for progress, not perfection.

  9. You don't have to be great to start, you just have to start.

  10. You are worth your effort.

  11. Take care of your body. It's the only place you have to live.

  12. Do something today that your future self will thank you for.

  13. The only bad workout is the one that didn't happen.

  14. Believe you can and you're halfway there.

  15. Don't let obstacles stop you.

  16. You are your only limit.

  17. This is your moment.

  18. It's go time.

  19. You'll never run alone.

  20. This could be your legacy.