Nottingham’s Olympians will be returning to familiar territory next week when they visit The University of Nottingham.
Alumni Tim Brabants and David Florence; and students Anne Panter and Jess Sylvester will speak to the University’s sports bursars and elite athletes at the event, which takes place on Thursday 5 March. They’ll share their experiences of competing at the Olympics, the pressures of competition at that level and their overall experiences of Beijing.
Dr Tim Brabants (Medicine 2003) became Britain’s first ever Olympic Gold medallist in flat water canoeing when he won the K1 1000m in Beijing last summer. He followed this up with a bronze in the K1 500m two days later. A former World Junior champion and a veteran of three Olympic games Tim paddled into sporting history when he became the first ever Briton to win a canoe sprint Olympic medal winning bronze in the K1000m at Sydney in 2000. He’d taken a year out from his studies to compete in the 2000 Olympic Games.
David Florence (Mathematical Physics 2005) was inspired by the sight of Rebecca Adlington winning her 400m gold medal. He secured Team GB’s first medal of the Olympic Games on the water with his silver medal in the C1 Canoe Slalom. David began canoeing at the age of 14. His father is a former Scottish Canoeing Champion and his brother Fraser — also a Nottingham graduate — canoes for Scotland.
Anne Panter (Mathematical Sciences) made her come back to international hockey in 2006 after having missed four years of competition due to a car accident in 2003 and then a serious cruciate knee ligament injury in 2005. Anne who plays in defence or midfield made her debut for Senior England in 2002 and since then has gone on to be capped 40 times by England and 33 by Great Britain so far. She admits it was tough to balance a student life with training and preparing for hockey in an Olympic year. She arranged to suspend her summer exams until after the games and admits she couldn’t have competed at such a high level without the support of her lecturers and tutors
Jess Sylvester (Biochemistry) swam the time of her life at the British Championships to qualify for the 4 x 100m relay at the Olympics in Beijing — the team that smashed the British record and finished 7th overall. A true all-round sportswoman Jess also represented her County at football up until the age of 14. She recently won the Outstanding Achievement of the Year award at the Nottinghamshire Sports Review of the Year.
Vaughan Parry Williams, Director of Sport and Physical Recreation at The University of Nottingham, said: “We are delighted to be hosting a University of Nottingham Olympic Evening and welcoming back to the University Olympians Tim Brabants and David Florence, two of our most successful sports bursars together with two of our present students Jess Sylvester and Anne Panter.
“We feel very pleased and privileged to have had six graduates and two undergraduates representing Great Britain at the Beijing Olympics. We will be inviting our current sports bursars and elite funded athletes to attend the Olympic Evening. The four Olympians will give a short presentation followed by a question and answer session. We are very proud of our student's achievements at all levels of competition and it is very encouraging that they can pursue an academic course together with participating in sport at such a high level.
“We appreciate the support given to the sports bursary scheme by the Colin Herridge fund and all four Olympians have been beneficiaries of funding and support from the Department of Sport and Physical Recreation.”
— Ends —
Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 100 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and Times Higher (THE) World University Rankings.
More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to RAE 2008, with almost 60 per cent of all research defined as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. Research Fortnight analysis of RAE 2008 ranks the University 7th in the UK by research power. In 27 subject areas, the University features in the UK Top Ten, with 14 of those in the Top Five.
The University provides innovative and top quality teaching, undertakes world-changing research, and attracts talented staff and students from 150 nations. Described by The Times as Britain's "only truly global university", it has invested continuously in award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. Twice since 2003 its research and teaching academics have won Nobel Prizes. The University has won the Queen's Award for Enterprise in both 2006 (International Trade) and 2007 (Innovation — School of Pharmacy), and was named ‘Entrepreneurial University of the Year’ at the Times Higher Education Awards 2008.