Sports surge on cards after Rio success

Edinburgh students and alumni who shone at the Rio Olympics are set to inspire a new generation of University athletes.

Olympics 2016
Nicholas Quinn, Chris Jones and Yvette Man-Yi Kong.

Staff at the University’s Centre for Sport and Exercise are expecting interest in sport to surge in the wake of several memorable performances.

Director of Sport and Exercise Jim Aitken says the Edinburgh athletes’ success in Rio enables students to view Olympic participation as a realistic and achievable goal.

He is encouraging students to use the University’s world-class facilities, such as the Katherine Grainger Rowing Gym, as a springboard to further success.

Medal celebrations

There were medal celebrations for medical student and rower Polly Swann, who followed up on podium placings at the World Championships, by taking silver in the Women’s Coxed Eight.

Sports Science student Grace Reid, competing in the women’s 3m diving competition, achieved the highest British placing in the contest for 56 years, finishing in eighth place overall.

In the Olympic Aquatics Stadium, fourth year psychologist Nick Quinn, representing Ireland, and Geoff Butler of the Cayman Islands, won their respective heats. Both were unlucky not to progress to the semi-finals, with Quinn missing out by just 0.2 seconds.

Hong Kong swimmer, Yvette Man-Yi Kong, about to begin an MSc at Edinburgh later this year, came 32nd in the 100m breaststroke, finishing in 1:09.56.

Patrick Huston, an economics and accounting student, reached the last 32 of the Men’s Individual archery competition. He was pipped by the eventual gold medalist, Ku Bon-Chan of South Korea.

Alumni achievements

Edinburgh alumni also rose to the occasion in Rio. Rower Katherine Grainger, already a gold medal winner in London, came out of retirement to take a silver medal in the women’s double sculls with Vicky Thornley to become Britain’s most successful female Olympian.

In the inaugural Rugby Sevens competition, Edinburgh graduate Mark Robertson won a silver medal alongside fellow Scot Mark Bennett.

Alumnus Eilidh Doyle (née Child) competed as part of the women’s 4x400 relay team which won bronze, making her the first Scottish track and field athlete to receive an Olympic medal in 28 years.

In the Paralympics, London silver medalist Sam Ingram, due to begin his teaching degree after Rio, will be taking part in the judo for Team GB.

Support roles

Behind the scenes at the Olympics, alumnus Donald McIntosh and FASIC Sports Medicine Centre Director Alistair Nichol had key support roles as part of Team GB. Centre for Sport and Exercise swimming coach Chris Jones assisted Swim Ireland throughout the Games.

Performance programme

Many of Edinburgh’s Olympians have been part of the University’s Individual Performance Programme, which offers leading performers a range of assistance.

It also enables them to study for a world-class degree that will help them develop a career after they retire.

New opportunities

Students who want take a new sport after Rio are well catered for at Edinburgh where there are more than 60 different sports clubs.

The EDex series offers students an opportunity to try their hand at new sports during one-off sessions throughout the semester.

In a year of record Olympic participation for the University, we are anticipating a surge of interest in all of the sports in which Team GB has been successful. Our students can build on the optimism generated by our Olympians’ performances in Rio and achieve further success at the Commonwealth Games in 2018.

Jim Aitken MBEDirector, Centre for Sport & Exercise

Related links

Sport & Exercise

EDex series