In terms of medals won by British university students or alumni, Nottingham ranked second with a total of five. Despite winning two more medals than first placed Edinburgh, who won three golds, Nottingham settled for second best after acquiring two golds, two silvers and a bronze. And let’s be fair, Edinburgh had Chris Hoy in their arsenal so second best is still pretty special.
With the National Water Sports Centre a stone’s throw away from the University, it was unsurprising that most of Nottingham’s medals came in rowing and canoeing. Biology graduate Chris Bartley was the first to enjoy the honour of the podium, as he claimed silver at Eton Dorney in the Men’s Lightweight Four Rowing.
Finishing just a quarter of a second behind gold medallists South Africa, Bartley and his team pulled off an incredible feat in overcoming World Champions Denmark. The University’s Assistant Director of Sport Nige Mayglothling recalled Bartley’s university days: “Chris was a real asset to the University Boat Club and a genuinely nice guy to have around when he rowed with us throughout his Under 23 days. I am delighted that he and the lads managed such a great result in a fantastically tight race”.
Incidentally, three more alumni would win medals that same day, and all came as a result of tremendous skill and speed in the Men’s C2 Canoe Slalom. David Florence, hotly tipped to add to the silver he won in Beijing four years ago, finished second along with Nottingham Trent University graduate Richard Hounslow. David graduated in 2005 with a Mathematical Physics degree.
In the same event, newcomers Etienne Stott and Tim Baillie – both Mechanical Engineering graduates from Nottingham – put in a stunning shift to claim gold just ahead of Florence, propelling the University of Nottingham into the higher echelons of Olympic glory.
To cap it all off, Anne Panter managed to secure a bronze with just two days remaining as Team GB’s Women’s Hockey defeated New Zealand in a tough encounter. The Mathematics and Economics graduate endured a cycle of injuries and fought hard to be selected – her bronze medal surely made up for the blood, sweat and tears.