Olympic medallists Dame Kelly Holmes, Jason Gardener and Steve Cram MBE are among the sporting stars have revealed how universities are vital to London 2012.
In a film launched ahead of Universities Week 2012 running from Monday, April 30th to Monday, May 7th, athletes including London 2012 hopefuls Perri Shakes-Drayton, Scott Moorhouse, Beth Tweddle, Kathryn Twyman and Ben Rushgrove talk about the diverse ways UK universities have engaged with London 2012, including the BUCS Visa Outdoor Athletics Championships, a London 2012 test event as part of the London Prepares series.
In one film, World Champion gymnast and Liverpool John Moores University graduate Beth Tweddle describes how university added a new dimension to her training. During her time there Beth became World Champion and retained her position as national and European champion and says her sport science degree was very beneficial. Beth also benefited first hand from her university’s research work in biomechanical developments and video analysis, which she used to improve her training methods.
The campaign is backed by Tony Blair and Boris Johnson and also features medallists Allan Wells MBE and Leon Taylor.
Nicola Dandridge, chief executive of Universities UK, said: "Universities play a fundamental role in our society in so many different ways, as demonstrated so clearly by their extensive contribution to London 2012. The films released for Universities Week illustrate the extent to which sporting professionals value the role universities have played in supporting their careers. You do not have to be a university graduate to benefit from the world-class research and facilities that our universities produce; many top athletes for example use universities’ training facilities and sports science innovations every day as Dame Kelly Holmes and Leon Taylor explain, without having been a higher education student themselves."
Karen Rothery, chief executive officer of British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS), added: "Sport and our universities are inextricably linked. In individuals this relationship develops skills such as leadership and teamwork that are applicable not only to the sports industry but to big business. For graduates, this is a great asset in terms of employability. It is the commitment to sport from both individuals and academic institutions alike which have made university contributions to London 2012 so significant."
Beyond sports training and development, Universities Week also demonstrates the huge contribution that universities make to UK society as whole. In London 2012, we see this through the dedication of the army of volunteers from universities around the UK who are helping make the Games happen through the London 2012 Games Makers programme, and the important contribution of the university-lead Cultural Olympiad projects that will support the London 2012 sporting events.
All of the films are available to view at www.universitiesweek.org.uk, Universities Week 2012 YouTube channel and www.bucs.org.uk.