Olympic rowing heroes return to Brookes

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Special reception to celebrate medal winning performances of Brookes' Olympic rowers.

Current Oxford Brookes rowers and students at The Oxford Academy got the chance to meet their Olympic heroes and celebrate their medal winning performances at a special reception held in their honour.

Seven Brookes rowers, both former and recent students, competed in the Beijing Olympics including Steve Williams who won a second impressive gold in the men's coxless four.

Brookes' Alastair Heathcote, Alex Partridge and Tom Lucy won silver in the men's eight whilst Carla Ashford and Caroline O'Connor competed in the women's eights and Richard Chambers in the men's lightweight fours. Tom Parker was also selected as a reserve for Beijing.

The Lord Mayor of Oxford, Susanna Pressel, presented the Olympic rowers with the City's 'Certificate of Honour' at the University's Centre for Sport on Monday 13 October.

As part of the celebrations, a group of students from The Oxford Academy, of which Brookes is a sponsor, competed in a fun rowing relay covering 2000m - the same distance as the rowers in their Olympic events.

Those attending heard about the rowers' experiences in Beijing and the University's aspirations to improve its rowing facilities by developing the existing boat house at Wallingford.

Oxford Brookes Head of Sport, Keith Kelly, said: 'Brookes is known for its excellent track record in rowing, indeed we are among the top universities in the UK for the sport. To see former and recent Brookes rowers performing at the highest level in the world is fantastic. These guys are a real inspiration to our rowers in the current Brookes crews, many of whom are aiming to compete in London 2012.'

Vice-Chancellor of Oxford Brookes, Professor Janet Beer, added: 'We saw our rowers put in a superb performance in Beijing and we wanted to let them know how proud we are of their achievements.'

Oxford Brookes student and member of the current Brookes rowing team, Steve Callaghan, commented: 'The Olympic rowers are such great role models for us and it gives us great motivation and inspiration. I'm hoping one day with the dedication and want to win that I could get there, but my first goal is to win at next year's Henley Royal Regatta.'

Olympic parade

The returning medallists will be joining in the Olympic parade through the streets of London on Thursday 16 October - see the BBC website for details.