29 medals, hundreds of representatives and a bright future – The Olympic history of University of Bath-based athletes
Since Atlanta Olympics silver-medallist Paul Palmer made the Sports Training Village his training base in 1996, the University of Bath has proved to be one of the most successful training bases for Olympic-bound athletes and medalists in the country.
50 athletes with University of Bath connections participated at London 2012, with many going on to achieve medals in the historic home Games.
The Rio Olympics this summer will mark 20 years since the first Olympic medal was won by an athlete connected with the University.
Medalists based at the STV who have won Olympic and Paralympic medals in the two decades since include:
4x100m (gold) – Athens 2004
T36 100m (silver) – Beijing 2008 Paralympics
T36 200m (bronze) – London 2012 Paralympics
T36 400m (silver); T36 800m (bronze) – London 2012 Paralympics
T35-T38 100m relay (bronze) – London 2012 Paralympics
Kate Howey – under-70kg (silver) – Sydney 2000
Dr Stephanie Cook – individual (gold) – Sydney 2000
Kate Allenby – individual (bronze) – Sydney 2000
Georgina Harland – individual (bronze) – Athens 2004
Heather Fell – individual (silver) – Beijing 2008
Samantha Murray – individual (silver) – London 2012
400m freestyle (silver) – Atlanta 1996
S5 200m freestyle (silver); S5 4x50m freestyle relay (bronze); S5 50m freestyle (bronze) – Athens 2004 Paralympics
SB7 100m breaststroke (gold); SM6 200m individual freestyle (gold); 4x100m medley (silver); 4x50m freestyle relay (bronze) – Sydney 2000 Paralympics
4x100m freestyle medley (gold); S7 50m freestyle (silver); SB7 100m breaststroke (bronze) – Sydney 2000 Paralympics
S6 100m backstroke (silver); SB5 100m breaststroke (bronze); 4x50m medley relay (bronze) – Sydney 2000 Paralympics
S8 100m backstroke (silver) – Sydney 2000 Paralympics
200m breaststroke (silver) – London 2012
SB6 100m breaststroke (bronze) – London 2012 Paralympics
Olympic and Paralympic representatives from the University of Bath embody the extent of the facility’s sporting potential, a message Director of Sport Stephen Baddeley has echoed in the build up to the Rio Games.
“Our Olympic history is an incredibly important part of what makes this centre very special,” Baddeley said. “It is the extent of our involvement in high performance sport.
“At the pinnacle of that are the Olympics and the Paralympics,” he continued. “So it’s a very important part of what happens here and the reputation that sport provides to the University and to the city. It’s an important track record that we’re very proud of.”
With Rio 2016 just months away, athletes with connections to the University look to seal their places in Brazil to continue the STV’s legacy of success.
Rio will be the second Games for many Team Bath athletes such as swimming trio Siobhan Marie-O’Connor, Chris Walker-Hebborn and Andrew Willis, but they will be the nerve-testing first for judoka hopeful Ben Fletcher and swimmer Jazz Carlin (pictured) among others.
Carlin, who missed out on London 2012 when her preparation were disrupted by illness, looks to continue her success at European Championships, World Championships and Commonwealth Games at her first-ever Games, an event she was delighted to finally book her place at.
“I can’t keep the smile off my face,” she said at the announcement of the Team GB squad at the STV in April. “I am just so happy to get that confirmation that I am on the Olympic team and on the plane to Rio.
“Four years ago I really couldn’t have expected that I would be going to an Olympic Games,” the welsh swimmer continued. “I remember watching on the sidelines and thinking I don’t want to miss out again. It was tough to watch but it gave me that motivation to keep going and carry on. It’s an incredible feeling.”
50 University of Bath-based athletes qualified to compete at London 2012, but whilst that home Games tally will be unlikely to be replicated at Rio, Director of Sport Baddeley is confident the current batch of Olympic hopefuls based at the STV can do the facility similarly proud.
“The bar was set very high in 2012,” he said. “Both in terms of athlete involvement and University of Bath students winning medals which is very unusual. For two of our students to not only get involved in an Olympic Games but to win medals is remarkable.
“Our expectations ahead of Rio are quite similar to prior to London 2012,” Baddeley continued. “Some areas we feel are stronger, whereas other sports and squads are perhaps less likely to see so many athletes qualifying for the Games.”
For a comprehensive build-up to the Rio Games, see our Rio 2016 page.