University of Nottingham graduates have enjoyed their most successful ever Olympic Games bagging two golds, two silver and a bronze medal at London 2012.
The medals placed the University of Nottingham second in the Olympic medals table of UK Universities, beating Cambridge and Oxford Universities and second only to Edinburgh university graduates.
As the UK was the centre of the world’s sporting gaze for 17 days this summer, the University too basked in the reflected glory of alumni who won medals and also the huge numbers who volunteered as games makers and officiated. Up to London 2012, Nottingham alumni had won six medals for Team GB and this summer a further five were won.
Tim Baillie and Etienne Stott (both Mechanical Engineering 2000) wrote their names in Olympic history by being the first to win gold in the canoe slalom doubles while Beijing silver medallist David Florence (Mathematical Physics 2005) secured silver in the same event. All this came just hours after Chris Bartley (Biology 2005) won a rowing silver in the Lightweight Four. Finally, as the hockey women defeated Australia, Anne Panter (Mathematics and Economics 2009) added a bronze.
Tim Baillie said: “The public reaction to what both us and David and Richard have done has been incredible. It's really nice how many people are excited about the race and the medals. Without the crowd watching the race and the people watching in on the TV it would be just a normal canoeing race so it's nice to get the chance to thank people and share the medal with them. I think it's fair to say that we're both feeling very proud to be British with how well Team GB have done and also with how well the organisation of the events has been going so thanks and well done to LOCOG and the volunteers and thanks very much for all the messages of support and congratulations we've been receiving.”
The Vice-Chancellor, Professor David Greenaway said: ”The many contributions those associated with the University made at London 2012 filled me with a great sense of pride, particularly at an event whose values – respect, excellence, friendship, courage, determination, inspiration and equality – closely reflect our own. Much has been made of the legacy the Olympics will have in the UK, and I believe if we seize the opportunity presented, the Games can only benefit the University, the City of Nottingham and the country as a whole.”
Almost all of the alumni participants in the Olympics were recipients of the University’s Sports Bursary Scheme which, since its introduction in 1993, has seen it's bursars win medals in key international events. Donor Colin Herridge (Economics/Social History 1962) has sponsored the scheme for many years and was one of many alumni who attended a special London Olympic reception hosted by the University’s Department of Sport and Recreation and the Alumni Relations office.
The event attracted former University athletes and members of staff and games makers as well as alumni involved in sport all over the world.
Colin said: “I feel very proud that I’ve played a very small part in the success we’re celebrating,” said Colin. “Watching the roll call of alumni medal winners past and present I realised that I contributed in part to them achieving their success. I started doing this 10 years ago and over that period the sporting success of Nottingham graduates has grown and I just feel a little bit of reflected glory. I can tell my grandchildren that I helped some of those athletes and you can’t ask for anything more than that.”
The Vaughan Parry Williams Coaching Fund is also making a huge contribution to the student sporting experience by providing the professional coaching needed to allow students to achieve their athletic potential, in parallel with their academic ambitions. http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/impactcampaign/campaignpriorities/thenottinghamexperience/vaughanparrywilliamscoachingfund/vaughanparrywilliamscoachingfund.aspx
Nurturing Talent and The Nottingham Experience are key projects within the University’s new appeal, Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, which is delivering the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future. Find out more about them and how you can support us at http://tiny.cc/UoNImpact
There were also those who were not so successful at the Olympics this time round. There was disappointment for Britain’s greatest ever canoe sprinter Tim Brabants (Medicine 1999, Hon LLD 2009) who was competing in his fourth Olympic Games. He reached the final of the spring kayak but didn’t make it to a podium spot this time whilst Team Nigeria’s Johny Akinyemi (Philosophy 2010) failed to qualify in the K1 canoe slalom.
The University of Nottingham Alumni Olympic roll call is now:
• London 2012 – Etienne Stott (gold), Tim Baillie (gold), David Florence (silver), Chris Bartley (silver) Anne Panter (bronze)
• Beijing 2008 - Tim Brabants (gold and bronze), David Florence (silver)
• Athens 2004 - Campbell Walsh( silver)
• Sydney 2000 - Tim Brabants (bronze)
• Barcelona 1992 - Gareth Marriott (silver)
Whatever your role was in London 2012 send us your photos and your memories to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll publish an online round-up.