Sport undoubtedly plays a key role in life at university. There is a great diversity in the level, varying from clubs more bothered about the amount of VKs consumed on sports night, to clubs with 6am training containing members with professional international experience. I think you can probably guess which teams the people at the centre of this article were more likely to be a part of. Saying that, who knows whether Olympic Gold medallists or World Cup winning coaches were partial to a jagerbomb? This is where some of the most successful sportspeople went to university.
Oxford and Cambridge- Participants in the traditional boat race
Obvious, but worth noting!
Swansea- Alun Wyn Jones
Stating that Jones’ career was successful is an understatement. Captain of the Welsh rugby team, he holds both the record for holding the most international caps as well as a degree. On top of his 161 international appearances, Jones studied law part-time at Swansea University, graduating in 2010. The Welshman heading to the library after captaining Wales at the Six Nations makes your excuse of being hungover even weaker!
Leeds- Alistair Brownlee
Brownlee competed for more than ten years at the highest level of triathlon. Does that make his achievements three times more impressive? The Yorkshireman can boast being the only person to hold two Olympic Gold medals in the event, stepping on the podium’s top step at both the London 2012 and Rio 2016 games. He attended both universities in the city, gaining a BSc from Leeds and a MSc from Leeds Metropolitan. I’m sure he displayed both diplomas with the same pride as his Gold medals.
Bath- Amy Williams
Williams, who graduated in 2007, found success in arguably the craziest sport on this list: skeleton. For those who don’t know, skeleton is a Winter Olympic sport which involves the athlete lying down head first, and throwing themselves down a track of ice at speeds of 75 miles per hour. Williams won Gold in the event at the 2010 Vancouver games, Britain’s only medal of the games. It was also Britain’s first individual medal at a Winter Olympics for 30 years.
Edinburgh- Sir Chris Hoy
Transferring to his home city’s university in 1996 following two years at St Andrews, the track cyclist achieved a degree in Applied Sports Science in 1999. This began a life of high achievement, with the Scotsman boasting a CV that only a select few can compete with. He won six Olympic Gold medals to go alongside his 11 World Championship Golds. That makes him the second most successful British Olympian of all time.
Birmingham- Non Stanford
The second triathlete on the list, the swimmer, runner and cyclist from Bridgend, Wales achieved arguably the highest achievement in the sport. Stanford became World Champion in 2013, proving her worth over eight different rounds, with victory at the Grand Final in London securing her championship win. Stanford balanced her first few years on the world circuit with studying Sports and Exercise Science at Birmingham University. She graduated in 2010, with the canal close to the university undoubtedly providing Stanford with the perfect place to train.
Loughborough- Sir Clive Woodward
One of the most prestigious universities for sport in the world, I could have picked a number of people from their list of alumni. Sir Clive Woodward, who attended the university in the late 1970s, is the man who masterminded England’s victory at the 2003 Rugby Union World Cup. He also brought success to his university side, captaining them to victory in the British university championship during his time there.
Cardiff and Plymouth- Helen Glover
Another university renowned for its sporting excellence, Marjon boasts a double Olympic Gold medallist amongst its alumni in the form of Helen Glover. A professional rower, there was a time in her illustrious career where, alongside her partner Heather Stanning, she was the World and Olympic champion and record holder. Glover attended Cardiff Met for her bachelors in Sport and Exercise Science. She then completed her PGCE at Plymouth Marjon. Thankfully, both weren’t too far away from large bodies of water!
See also: Four sports to try at university