The University of Nottingham is looking to add to its list of Olympic medal winners this summer, with 11 past and future students preparing to take on the world’s best athletes at London 2012.
Over the last 20 years, Nottingham graduates have won six Olympic medals, making the University the seventh most successful in the UK in terms of medals won since Barcelona 1992.
This year all eyes will be on the Eton Dorney Rowing Centre where past medal winners Tim Brabants and David Florence will be joined by Etienne Stott, Tim Baillie and Johny Akinyemi in the kayak and canoeing events.
Tim Brabants will be searching for a fourth Olympic medal at his fourth Games when he defends the K1 1,000m sprint title that he won in Beijing. The qualified doctor also has two bronze medals to his name, which he won in 2008 and at the Sydney Games in 2000.
Beijing silver medallist David Florence will also be looking to add to his past Olympic success in the C1 and C2 events. The Scot recently secured World Cup gold medals in both categories, becoming the first man to do so at the same meeting.
David and team mate Richard Hounslow, will come up against fellow University of Nottingham graduates Etienne Stott and Tim Baillie who make up GB’s other entry in the C2 event at their first Olympic Games.
It will also be a first Olympic appearance for Johny Akinyemi, who will represent Nigeria in the K1 canoe slalom event, after the African champion put 2008 Olympic heartbreak behind him to qualify for London.
The Buckinghamshire based Centre will also be used for rowing, where Chris Bartley and Olivia Whitlam will try to follow in the footsteps of Britain’s greatest ever Olympian and University of Nottingham honoury graduate Sir Steve Redgrave.
Biology graduate Chris Bartley will be rowing for gold in the Men’s Four, but will have to overcome Italy who beat the GB crew at the World Rowing Championships in Slovenia earlier this year. While in the Women’s Eight, Olivia Whitlam will try to improve on the sixth place finish she recorded in the pairs in Beijing.
Away from the water, the University is well represented in GB’s hockey squads. Anne Panter will take her place in the Women’s squad after walking away from a serious car accident days after the squad was announced. The latest accident was an untimely reminder of a previous car accident which left her with a broken ankle and almost ended her hockey career.
In the men’s squad, graduates Rob Moore and Nick Catlin will join Harry Martin, who deferred his University entry in order to secure a place at the Games before starting an Economics degree in September. GB will be among the favourites for a medal in London after rising to fourth in the world rankings in recent years.
Ahead of the Games, Director of Sport Dan Tilley explained that staff are very proud of all of the University’s elite athletes.
He said: “The University produces a range of outstanding graduates in all number of fields, and in the sporting world the level of dedication, discipline and talent that is required to compete at the Olympics is immense, arguably the pinnacle of a sports person’s career. To have 11 athletes competing and a further two named as reserves is a tremendous achievement for all concerned.
“The fact that the University has supported them on their journey and played a part in getting them on that stage is testament to our philosophy of ‘excellence in all that we do’. I hope that The University of Nottingham community will be cheering them on and that our pool of Olympic alumni will continue to grow.”
The University’s Olympic athletes and the times that they will be competing are:
- Tim Brabants (Medicine 1999): Men’s Kayak Singles (K1) 1,000m, Finals — Eton Dorney, Monday 6 and Wednesday 8 August
- Johny Akinyemi (Philosophy and Theology 2010): Men’s Kayak Singles (K1) 1,000m — Eton Dorney, Sunday 29 July and Wednesday 1 August
- David Florence (Mathematical Physics 2005): Men’s Canoe Slalom (C1) — Eton Dorney, Sunday 29 July and Tuesday 31 July and Men’s Canoe Doubles (C2) — Eton Dorney, Monday 30 July and Thursday 2 August
- Etienne Stott and Tim Baillie (both Mechanical Engineering 2000): Men’s Canoe Doubles (C2) — Eton Dorney, Monday 30 July and Thursday 2 August
- Rob Moore (Economics 2003), Nick Catlin (History 2010) and Harry Martin (Economics 2015): Men's Hockey — Riverbank Arena, Monday 30 July to Saturday 11 August
- Anne Panter (Mathematics and Economics 2009): Women's Hockey — Riverbank Arena, Sunday 29 July to Friday 10 August.
- Chris Bartley (Biology 2005): Rowing Men’s Four — Eton Dorney, Monday 30 July to Saturday 4 August.
- Olivia Whitlam (Environmental Science 2006): Rowing Women’s Eight — Eton Dorney, Sunday 29 July — Thursday 2 August.
University of Nottingham Olympic Reserves:
- Jo Cook (Psychology 2005): Rowing Women’s Eight — Eton Dorney, Sunday 29 July — Thursday 2 August.
- George Pinner (Management Studies 2009): Men's Hockey — Riverbank Arena, Monday 30 July to Saturday 11 August.
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Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham, described by The Sunday Times University Guide 2011 as ‘the embodiment of the modern international university’, has 42,000 students at award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. It is also the most popular university in the UK by 2012 application numbers, and 'the world’s greenest university'. It is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World’s Top 75 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and the QS World University Rankings.
More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to the most recent Research Assessment Exercise. The University aims to be recognised around the world for its signature contributions, especially in global food security, energy & sustainability, and health. The University won a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education in 2011, for its research into global food security.
Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, its biggest ever fund-raising campaign, will deliver the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future. More news…