The Olympic Games have been a critical thread running through the history of Oxford Sport.
Oxford alumni have won nearly 150 Olympic Medals. We can claim the first individual to win gold in both the summer and winter Olympics. A rather unique combination of boxing (Antwerp, 1920) and bobsleigh (Lake Placid, 1932) enabled Eddie Eagan to cement his place in history.
Perhaps more extraordinary was John Boland who journeyed to Athens in 1896 to assist a friend with staging the Games, but came away as a double Olympic champion after his friend secretly entered him into the Men’s singles and doubles tennis competitions.
Even before an Oxonian steps on the track or jumps in to the pool for London 2012, the University can take great pride in the role that our alumni have played in the build up to London 2012. For example, Charlie Wijeratna (Worcester, 1987) was an
influential Director of the bid process from its inception in 2003 - a
process that was successfully capped off by Prime Minister Tony Blair
(St John’s, 1972). Wijeratna then continued as Director of Commercial
Negotiations at LOCOG until 2010, working alongside fellow Oxonians including Paul Williamson, Director of Ticketing (Trinity, 1980). Leading
figures such as London Mayor Boris Johnson (Balliol, 1983) and Jeremy
Hunt, Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport
(Magdalen, 1985) are also busy preparing to play host to the world next
So what are our hopes and plans for London 2012? We wish our students and alumni every success as they train hard and aim to qualify for next year's Games. We hope to take full advantage of our official status as a Pre-Games Training Camp Venue and play host to an overseas nation or warm-up fixtures.
We will be taking this opportunity to promote sport among our staff and students. We urgently need to upgrade the number and quality of our sports facilities, so we will use the current focus on sport and leisure to appeal for funding and support.
As part of the Cultural Olympiad, we anticipate that parts of the University will stage London 2012 related events and programmes. Oxford is a major tourist destination, and we are delighted that the City will be included in the Torch Relay next July. This will provide a fantastic opportunity for the local community and the University to come together to celebrate and share in the excitement of London 2012.
We hope you enjoy reading the profiles and blogs about our Olympic hopefuls and finding out more about Oxford’s engagement with London 2012.
Professor Andy Hamilton, Vice Chancellor
Jon Roycroft, Director of Sport