Britannia students and graduates rule the waves at London 2012 Olympic Games
4 August 2012
Great Britain topped the medals table on the rowing lake at Eton Dorney as the final day of competition saw continued success for universities across the country.
Following on from gold medals earlier in the week for University of Bath graduate Heather Stanning and Cardiff Metropolitan University graduate Helen Glover in the women’s pairs, and current PhD students Katherine Grainger (King’s College London) and Anna Watkins (University of Reading) in the women’s double sculls, the three finals on the last day of the regatta with British interest produced more glory.
Today, Great Britain won the Olympic title in the men's coxless four for the fourth successive Games, edging out Australia in a thrilling finish to take gold.
The entire men’s four team of Alex Gregory, Tom James, Pete Reed and Andrew Triggs Hodge have all been through Higher Education demonstrating how sporting pursuits can be balanced against academic studies.
Triggs Hodge completed a degree in Science at Staffordshire University before moving on to complete a postgraduate in Environmental Management at the University of Oxford, while Reed studied Mechanical Engineering at the University of the West of England before also completing a masters at the University of Oxford.
James studied Engineering at the University of Cambridge, while Gregory attended the University of Reading.
There were more gold medals won on the final day of the regatta though, as University of Durham Chemistry and Physics graduate Sophie Hosking and her lightweight double sculls partner Katherine Copeland were also victorious.
The duo were expected to be medal contenders, but put in a fantastic dominant performance in the final to win by 2.6 seconds from the Chinese team of Wenyi Huang and Dongxiang Xu.
Elsewhere, there was medal success for the Further Education sector as Havering Sixth Form College graduate Mark Hunter won a silver in the lightweight double sculls category alongside his partner Zac Purchase.
The defending Olympic champions led throughout the race but could not repeat their gold medal performance from Beijing and were agonisingly caught and passed by the Danish duo of Mads Rasmussen and Rasmus Quist just metres from the finish line.
Despite their disappointment, it concluded an excellent Games for the GB rowing squad who topped the medals table with four golds, two silvers and three bronzes, with current or former students from Further or Higher Education institutions playing a part in every single one of those triumphs.
By Christopher Finch
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