As the curtain comes down on Rio 2016, FE students past and present have helped Team GB storm to a record-breaking Olympic games.
Two additional gold medals and a bronze medal over the weekend mean there have been 11 winners of the world’s top sporting prizes from the FE Sector.
Former Hopwood Hall College student Nicola Adams repeated her London 2012 success with a gold medal in the women’s flyweight boxing competition on the second to last day of the games.
Meanwhile, former Loughborough College learner Nicola White scored the all-important equaliser in the final ten minutes of the women’s hockey final – leading to a penalty shoot out that saw Team GB secure gold.
Earlier in the games, Adam Peaty, a 21-year-old former Derby College student, had led the charge with a gold –and a new world record – in the men’s 100m breaststroke on the second day of the games.
Also setting a new world record were Steven Burke and Ed Clancy, formerly of Nelson and Colne College and Kirklees College respectively, who helped power the men’s cycling team pursuit to gold after a nail-biting final last Friday night.
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor, a swimmer from Loughborough College secured silver with her performance in the women’s 200m individual medley, after coming first in the semi-finals.
Richard Hounslow, a Harrow College student, manoeuvred his way to second place in the men’s C2 double canoe slalom race along with partner David Florence.
And Dan Norton and James Davies, representing Hartpury College and Gower College Swansea respectively, helped power the men’s rugby sevens to a well-deserved silver medal.
As both a member of the team and its coach, Hartpury College’s equine academy coach Carl Hester had twice the reason to celebrate as team GB trotted its way to a silver medal in the team dressage on Friday.
After reaching the first round of the women’s 100m sprint, Oaklands College alumna Daryll Neita helped the women’s 4 x 100m team to bronze medal glory on Friday night.
Daniel Goodfellow, also from Loughborough College, delighted the Olympic crowd with his performance as the diving partner of Tom Daley. The pair were ecstatic, creating a picture perfect moment as they celebrated their bronze medals in the men’s synchronized 10m platform.
Also going home with a bronze medal is former Loughborough College student Sophie Hitchon, who made history on Monday night by becoming the first ever British athlete to win an Olympic medal in hammer throwing.
Seven of Great Britain’s 12-strong women’s rugby sevens squad were also FE college students, and they fought through the heats to secure a worthy fourth place overall.
Between them Claire Allan, Abbie Brown, Heather Fisher, Natasha Hunt, Emily Scott, Danielle Waterman and Amy Wilson-Hardy represented Loughborough College, Hartpury College, Warwickshire College, Bath College, Seevic College and Worthing College.
Nineteen year old Megan Jones, currently a Loughborough student, also attended the games as a travelling reserve for the rugby sevens team.
Meanwhile, Hartlepool College student Savannah Marshall made it to the quarter finals in the women’s middle 75kg boxing.
Also narrowly missing out on a medal was Fran Halsall, Loughborough College alumna. She came fourth in the women’s 50m freestyle on Saturday by the tiniest of margins – just 0.02 of a second behind the bronze medal winner. She also took seventh place in the women’s 4x100m medley relay, with Siobhan-Marie O’Connor also making up part of that team.
Barking and Dagenham College alumnus Adam Gemili came heartbreakingly close to a medal in the 200m – missing out by just three-thousandths of a second. He was also part of the men’s 4 x 100m relay team – along with Harry Aikines-Aryeety, James Dasaolu, Richard Kilty, Ojie Edoburun and Chijindu Ujah – who secured fifth place.
Also coming fifth was Runshaw College alumna Holly Bradshaw in the women’s pole vault final on Friday.
Former Mid Kent College student Kat Driscoll helped make history on Friday night, as team GB made it to the women’s trampoline final for the first time ever. She finished in sixth place.
Also placing sixth was former Loughborough College student Lynsey Sharp, in the women’s 800m final on Saturday night.
And Peter Chambers of Northern Regional College helped the men’s lightweight four team to 6th place in Thursday’s finals.
Also coming sixth, this time in the women’s 200m breast stroke, was Loughborough College’s Molly Henshaw. Earlier in the games she’d made it to second place in heat three of the women’s 100m breaststroke, though sadly it was not enough to push her through to the semi-finals and she ranked 23rd overall.
Another former Northern Regional College student Richard Chambers took to the waters in the men’s lightweight double scull, rowing his way – along with former New College Durham student Will Fletcher – to seventh place on Friday.
With the athletics now well underway, a number of FE students have had the chance to demonstrate their sporting prowess – but none have yet secured those all-important medals.
Matthew Hudson-Smith, Loughborough College alumnus, took 8th place in the final of the men’s 400m on Saturday, while another former Loughborough College student James Dasaolu made it to the semi-finals of the men’s 100m along with Chijindu Ujah, ex-Sir George Monoux Sixth Form College student.
Another ex-Loughborough College student, Robbie Grabarz, narrowly missed out on a medal in the men’s high jump, finishing in joint fourth place.
Also deserving an honourable mention are Martyn Rooney, another ex-Loughborough College student who made it to the first round of the men’s 400m, and Rebekah Tiler of Calderdale College who gained a respectable 10th place in the women’s 69kg weightlifting.
Former Loughborough College student Angela Hannah came 15th in the women’s K2 500m canoe sprint, while another ex-Loughborough learner, Chris Baker, came 16th in the men’s high jump.
Rachel Cawthorn, recent Berkshire College of Agriculture student, came 7th in the consolation final – or 15th overall – in the women’s K1 500m canoe sprint.
Current Loughborough College student Katie Clark secured 17th place in the synchronised swimming duets with partner Olivia Federici.
Controversially, Jack Burnell was disqualified from the men’s 10km marathon open water swimming just metres from the finish line. Until that point, he had been in fifth place.
The men’s 4 x 400m team – which included Loughborough College alumni Martin Rooney and Matthew Hudson-Smith – was also disqualified, after initially coming first in their semi-final.
What do you think? How do you feel about the FE sector’s contribution to Team GB’s medal haul? Have we missed anyone? Share your thoughts below!