Rick, who has won both bronze and silver Olympic medals, presented Sports Man and Woman of the Year Awards to boxer Casey Brown and netballer Jaz Lowe.
“Many of our top athletes have aspirations of pursuing their chosen sports to a higher level so to be presented with an award by a former student who is now a successful Olympian is an incredible moment for them,” he said.
Casey, who was named Warrington Wolves’ U18s’ Man of Steel last year, and netballer Jaz were voted for by their fellow students.
Priestley’s Team of the Year was its footballers after a season of many highlights including winning the league and a semifinal appearance in the English Schoolboys FA Cup.
“In my 16 years at Priestley I think this is the strongest team that we have produced in any sport,” said Tutor Paul Hopper.
During the ceremony, awards were handed out to all Priestley’s regional, national and international stars.
Achievements were celebrated in sports as diverse as swimming and volleyball to martial arts and football.
Its female swim team had competed in the English Schools National Finals and swam in the Olympic pool in London while on court its volleyball team represented the North West in the AoC Championships.
Andrew Foster, from Elite Sport Development, presented Man and Woman of Steel honours to Joe Heaton and Jazz Thompson who had showed their mettle in a series of fitness tests carried out by the company, which aims to help athletes reach their potential.
Rick whose best results came in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics told students he’d needed to ask for directions after arriving on campus because it had developed so much since he attended.
He explained how at 16 he’d needed to show determination after underperforming in his GCSEs.
“Everyone at Priestley was very supportive and helped me at that time,” he said.
“It really is a pleasure to be back and I would like to say to you all that 20 years passes very quickly so my advice would be to enjoy every moment.”