Students make Olympic splash

Three Edinburgh students have been chosen to represent their countries in aquatic events at the Rio Olympics.

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

Second year sports science student Grace Reid will take to the pool for Team GB in the diving competition. Grace has already won gold with Tom Daley in the mixed three metre springboard event at the 2016 European Aquatics Championships. She will compete in the individual three metre springboard competition in Rio. 

Swimmer Nicholas Quinn, who achieved personal bests in qualifying for the Olympics, will represent Ireland in the 200 metre breaststroke. Nicholas is in his fourth year studying psychology.

The Cayman Islands will be represented in Rio by Edinburgh student Geoff Butler. The swimmer has just finished his second year of an accounting and finance degree and will compete in the 400 metre freestyle event.

The students will be joined by five athletes who are soon to begin their studies at Edinburgh.

Incoming students 

One of Hong Kong’s leading swimmers Yvette Man-Yi Kong will begin an MSc later this year. Yvette will compete in the 100 and 200 metre breaststroke events in Rio.

Paralympian Sam Ingram, who is due to begin his teaching degree this year, will take part in the Judo competition for Team GB.

Medical student Polly Swann – who had previously taken a break from her studies – will compete in the rowing for Team GB. She hopes to add to her medal success at world championship and world cup regattas.

Economics and accounting student Patrick Huston is hoping to be on target in the archery competition.

Moray House School of Education’s Gemma Gibbons Burton, an Olympic silver medallist at London 2012, is one of Team GB’s Judo reserves. 

Athletic greats

Two celebrated alumni will be in action in Rio, hoping to build on their previous successes.

Olympics gold medallist and three-time Olympic silver medallist Katherine Grainger takes part in her fifth Olympics, competing in the double sculls rowing. 

Eilidh Doyle (nee Child) won Commonwealth silver in the 400 metres hurdles in 2014. She joined the University’s Sports Hall of Fame in 2015 and will be hoping for further success in Rio. 


Professional rugby player and Edinburgh graduate Mark Robertson will represent Team GB in the Rugby Sevens.

Edinburgh graduate Donald McIntosh takes on the role of Shooting Head Coach for Team GB and fellow graduate Sarah Wilson will be part of the hockey umpiring team.

Supporting roles

Also making the trip is Sport and Exercise’s lead swimming coach, Chris Jones, who will be working with the Irish team.

Sport & Exercise’s FASIC Sports Medicine Centre Director Alistair Nichol will be part of Team GB’s medical team.

Performance Programme

Many of Edinburgh’s Olympic athletes have been supported by the University’s Individual Performance Programme. 

The programme offers leading performers a range of assistance to help them succeed on the world sporting stage.

Support is offered through funding, tailored fitness conditioning, sports medicine care, access to top class competition and training facilities, advice and flexible study options.

The Olympic Games is the pinnacle for every athlete and coach.  So, it’s really wonderful to see the growing number of our sporting community who are now able to gain Olympic selection and push for medal success.  This underlines the quality of our performance sport programme and the important part sport plays in the life of our University.

Jim Aitken MBEDirector of Sport & Exercise