Brookes Olympians share experiences ahead of celebratory event

Tuesday, 08 November 2016

Women's 8 Rio

This Thursday (10 November), Oxford Brookes University will celebrate the successes of Brookes Rowing over the last year with a special event.

Thursday’s event, being held in the John Henry Brookes Building, will also see the unveiling of two brand new eights boats for the club which will be named after Brookes Olympians Olivia Carnegie-Brown and Scott Durant. 

Scott and Olivia rowed for Team GB at the Olympic Games in August. After competing on the final day of the Olympic Regatta, Olivia won a silver medal rowing as part of the women’s eight crew and Scott won gold as part of the men’s eight. 

Here Scott and Olivia share some of their experiences rowing at Rio 2016 and for Oxford Brookes:

Brookes is the best rowing university in the country and one of the best clubs. Considering the calibre of those who have boats named after them in the past at Brookes, it feels very special.

Scott Durant, Olympic Gold Medallist and Oxford Brookes University alumnus

Describe competing in Rio in three words

Scott: Windy, stressful, exciting.

Olivia: Dream come true.

What was your favourite thing about competing at the Olympics?

Scott:Winning a gold medal.

Olivia: Becoming an Olympic silver medallist with the most amazing eight other girls was the most poignant part for me. Rio itself was an amazing city, I only had to blink to miss something so the second week was so much fun trying to experience as much as possible.

How does it feel now to be having a boat named after you?

Scott: It’s a great honour. Brookes is the best rowing university in the country and one of the best clubs. Considering the calibre of those who have boats named after them in the past at Brookes, it feels very special. It would be great to see it win Henley!

Olivia:The squad and the training at Brookes was so fun but also so tough. We really worked hard for the results and enjoyed it at the same time. These were very important values for me when I started training full time at Caversham and every time I raced nationally or internationally I would remember where the fire inside comes from and that was Oxford Brookes

I feel very honoured to have a boat named after me and I hope that the nine girls that race in it will hold strong to these values and achieve many successes.

Men's eight Rio Olympics

You both studied at Oxford Brookes when you took up rowing, how was it juggling your studies and rowing while at university?

Scott: Brookes makes it very easy to manage rowing and studying. The training sessions are run so that they do not take up more time than necessary and there are no really early morning sessions which allow you to have a social life as well. 

Olivia: It was difficult but it was made possible by the support from the lecturers and my academic advisor. Ensuring we kept communication clear and I worked efficiently with my time, I was able to train full time and study full time to graduate with a 2.1 and a BSc which was very important for me that I achieved both.

What would you say to anyone considering taking up sport while at University?

Scott: Definitely give it a go. It’s a great way to meet people and open up a whole new friendship group. Five out of the nine rowers in my boat at this year’s Olympics started rowing at University, so it’s never too late. 

Olivia: If you are taking up the sport, make sure you are clear with yourself why you have decided to start. If it is purely recreational and for fitness then enjoy it, and don't take it too seriously. If you start this way and find you want to take it more seriously or you think you could be pretty good then I would say that the sacrifices you make at university to be good at your sport will be worth it. 

To finish university with a degree, great friends and a place in the senior GB rowing team was worth all the missed nights out. 

The event will be held in The Forum of the John Henry Brookes Building between 1.00pm and 2.00pm on Thursday 10 November. 

Read more about how Oxford Brookes was involved in the Rio Olympics on our dedicated webpages.

Picture credits: Peter Spurrier / Intersport Images