British Universities and College Sports, more commonly known as BUCS, is responsible for organising competitive sports between universities in the UK. The organisation has held this responsibility for over 100 years, and is a staple of not just university sport, but university life. There is a lot of quality on display with BUCS matches, with a good number of spectators often coming to support their university. The serious nature of BUCS means the competitors are the best athletes each university has to offer. This means there is an impressive list of household names who took part in the competition during their time studying.
To commemorate 100 years of BUCS being involved in university sport, the governing body released a hall of fame, consisting of previous competitors who had gone on to do great things within their sports. This includes Olympic gold medallists, successful footballers, and pioneering record holders amongst many more. I bet you’ll be surprised by the fact that these athletes managed to balance training with studying, and more importantly, student life!
SIR ROGER BANNISTER
Mentioning the name Roger Bannister will automatically lead to an association with running, and the mile. In May 1954, Bannister became the first person to run a sub-4 minute mile, leading to worldwide acclaim for the athlete. The record was completed at the Iffley Road track, the home track of the University of Oxford, which Bannister helped lay as an undergraduate at the university reading medicine. The track has subsequently been renamed to the ‘Roger Bannister running track.’
DAME JESSICA ENNIS-HILL
Ennis-Hill became a national hero following her gold medal at the London 2012 Olympic Games. It was achieved in the heptathlon, which is considered one of the most difficult events, given that the competitors are judged on their ability in eight different athletic disciplines. Alongside her gold, the heptathlete earned the title of world champion on three separate occasions. What makes her achievements even more impressive is the fact she had to balance her up-and-coming athletics career with a psychology degree. She graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2005.
Slater is considered a club legend at Wolverhampton Wanderers for the key role he played in the club’s success in the 1950s and 1960s. During his time at Molineux, he made over 300 appearances, and won three league titles. However, his greatest achievement was captaining the club to FA Cup glory in 1960, Wolves’ only FA Cup victory to date. This is made even more impressive considering he was only part-time, balancing the captaincy with a BSc at Birmingham University. Following his retirement, Slater returned to the university environment, working as director of PE at both Birmingham, and Liverpool University.
Ohuruogo won over the nation’s hearts when she earned the Gold medal in the 400 metres at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. She also is a two-time World champion, and Commonwealth Games gold medallist in the event. In a period between 2005 and 2016, Ohuruogo medalled at every global Athletics championship, nine in total. She graduated with a degree in Linguistics from University College London in 2005, the same year she won the silver medal at the European U23s Championship. She returned to her studies following her 2017 retirement, studying law at the Queen Mary University of London.
Brown is best known for her success at the Paralympic Games, where she competed in Archery, earning successive Gold medals at Beijing 2008, and London 2012. She also won a Gold medal at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, with her success this time coming in Shooting as part of the Women’s compound team. Her first Paralympic Gold was earned whilst Brown was still a student studying law at Leicester University. She went on to earn first class honours.