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Shirley Addison

Olympian Shirley Addison chats about choosing Edinburgh over Oxford, representing Scotland and Great Britain at the Olympics and Commonwealth Games and starring as Gladiator 'Battleaxe' the Warrior Queen.

Name Shirley Addison
Degree Course BSc Mathematics
Year of Graduation 2002

Your time at the University

Shirley Addison

Much to the disappointment of my school, I turned down the offer of a place to study mathematics at Oxford University in favour of Edinburgh, because Edinburgh had better sports facilities. Diving was my main sport at that time and the Royal Commonwealth Pool had one of the best diving facilities in the UK.

I was a direct entrant into second year and graduated after two years so my university time was shorter than most. Outside of the lecture theatre, the university hockey club and athletics club were great fun to be part of. The hockey club tour to Holland and many EUAC competitions on Wednesday afternoons at the Kelvin Hall amongst the highlights.

Tell us about your Experiences since leaving the University

Upon graduating from university I was fortunate to receive a small Lottery grant to allow me to train full-time for athletics. With the expert coaching of Chris Black, Edinburgh’s double Olympian and two time Commonwealth Games medallist, I became Scottish Record holder for the hammer throw. During five years dedicated to the sport I represented Scotland and Great Britain in the Olympic Games, World Championships, European Championships and two Commonwealth Games.

In 2008 I was approached by Sky television to audition for the TV show ‘Gladiators’. We filmed two series of the show where I starred as ‘Battleaxe’ the Warrior Queen. Having enjoyed jobs in sport, my current full-time position is as a Performance Lifestyle Adviser for the sportscotland Institute of Sport. My aim is to enable sports people to fulfil their aspirations both within sport and also out with. For many elite athletes it is a tricky balance between: training and competing alongside school / university / work. A variety of voluntary roles keep my day-to-day life colourful. I am an ambassador for Meningitis UK and also for Dance Kaleidoscope Youth Theatre, a Director of The King’s School in Tynemouth and I serve on the Athletes Advisory Committee for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Since graduating I have been honoured to be awarded the Sir William Darling Memorial prize for enhancing the reputation for the university.

Alumni wisdom

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