Universities, through their athletes, volunteers, facilities and coaches have had a huge impact on the success of this year’s Olympics. A University Week impact report, published by British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS), Universities UK and Podium earlier this year, reported that at all the Olympic Games since Barcelona 1992, an incredible 61% of Team GB medal winners went to university and 65% of gold medal winners have been through Higher Education.
It takes some portion of the motivation and determination behind winning an Olympic medal to get a degree – and a number of Olympians have both. Here are just a few:
Great Britain’s track cyclist star Victoria Pendleton graduated from the University of Nothumbria with a Sport & Exercise Science degree in 2002.
Cycling champion Sir Chris Hoy started a Maths and Physics degree at St Andrews, but dropped out on the grounds that he missed riding his bike, moved back to his hometown of Edinburgh, and took a degree in Sports Science.
Helen Glover and Heather Stanning
Women’s Pairs rower Helen Glover started teaching in Bath after studying Sport and Exercise Science at University of Wales Institute Cardiff, and Heather Stanning is a graduate of Bath University in Sports Technology.
Representing Team GB in the 800m athletics, Lynsey graduated with a Law degree from Edinburgh Napier just weeks before the start of the London 2012 Games.
The Sprint Kayaker has a medical degree from the University of Nottingham, graduating in 2002, and has since worked part- and full-time as a doctor.
The Heptathlon gold medallist is also a university graduate, having earned a Bachelor’s from the University of Sheffield in Psychology.
Unfortunately eliminated in the opening round of the Women’s 10m Diving platform this year, Stacie has plenty of time to concentrate on her PhD in Astronomy from Cambridge University.
A member of Team GB’s gold-winning Men’s four crew, Tom has an Engineering degree from
Famous for her spectacular career, Paula Radcliffe also has a first-class honours degree in
French, German and Economics from the University of Loughborough. She also received an honorary degree from the same institution in December 2002.