July 31, 2012, by Harry Waddle

Picking an Olympic hero

Sitting glued to the television as Mexico took on Italy in the semi-finals of the men’s archery this weekend; I began to wonder whether any spectacle other than the Olympic Games could capture the attention of so many people across the globe.

As a sports fan I relish the opportunity to sit down in-front of a weekend of non-stop sporting action, but it seems only the magic of the Olympics has the power to cause the un-initiated to shout in indignation as the cycling road-race goes awry or Britain is knocked down to bronze medal position by a late Japanese appeal in the Gymnastics.

The Games also regularly see the viewing public take an athlete to their hearts. Somebody to which we have no connection, suddenly captures the attention of the nation as they overcome adversity, beat the odds or simply finish a 100m freestyle swimming race in a record slow time ala Eric ‘the Eel’ Moussambani.

For me, the 2012 Olympic Games is about the progress of the 11 athletes from The University of Nottingham who I have researched, interviewed and written about for Exchange: London 2012 Olympic Games Special.

After just three days of action, ten have already made their London 2012 bow, putting in a string of fine performances in hockey, rowing and canoeing.

In the men’s hockey, Nick Catlin, Rob Moore and Harry Martin were all involved in Team GB’s opening 4-1 victory over Argentina. While Anne Panter, who has had to overcome career threatening injuries, was involved as the GB women’s hockey team recorded a 4-0 victory over Japan in their opening game.

In the water, canoe slalom stars David Florence, Etienne Stott and Tim Baillie have made it through to the next round of the C2 event, while Johny Akinyemi became the first man to represent Nigeria in the C1 event.

The Eton Dorney venue has also seen success for Nottingham rowers, as Chris Bartley powered his way into the semi-finals of the Men’s Four competition, while Olivia Whitlam made it through to the repechages in the Women’s Eight.

Gold medal winning canoe sprint star Tim Brabants is the only one of our athletes yet to compete. By the time he takes to the water on Monday 6 August, the University might have already added to its impressive medal tally. 

To read more about our Olympic heroes, see the Olympic edition of Exchange online.

Posted in athletes