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University Sport

Rio 2016 success to boost Athletics Union numbers


After three weeks of phenomenal sporting achievement, pain, glory and inspiration, team GB returned from Rio with a record away games medal tally. 27 gold’s, 23 silvers, 17 bronzes and second in the tally above China, China!

Rio was the most successful games for Great Britain since 1908, and the athlete’s successes helped Great Britain become the first nation to surpass its medal total at the games immediately following one that it hosted in the previous Olympiad.

Before the Olympics it seemed all we could speak about was how good London was as a spectacle, a games that could never be matched perhaps, and a dwindling legacy? Rio wouldn’t be as good as London, couldn’t be as good as London?

Then the sport started and the medal flow began, heroes made in an afternoon, legends living up to their hype and joining the greats. After all this wonder, we undoubtedly turn back to the legacy question.

Antoine Du Baret

Antoine Du Baret Antoine Du Baret

Arguably students who take up sport at the University of Portsmouth are on step one of a potential journey to success. Whether a student picks up a sport to keep fit, compete or to just have fun and make friends, there is a copious amount of inspiration to be had from the city.

Recent events such as the Americas Cup, the Tour Series, Olympic swimmers training at the University, and our very own Lauren Steadman competing for Great Britain at the Paralympic games, will surely have a knock on effect for the Athletic Union this year.

With over 40 sports clubs to choose from at the University, catering for 3100 members, the athletics union is bound to feel a boost from the summers achievements.

Summing up the pull of the Olympics, VP for sports Ben Conway said:

“There is no sporting event quite like the Olympics, it captures the attention of such a variety of people no matter how interested in sport they are, the sheer variety of sports on offer as well as a level of pride in the viewer’s respective nations are some of the many reasons for this.”

The majority of these sports are backed by the Athletics Union at the University. As a result of the Olympics, the pull of sports such as hockey, where the women’s team won gold, is likely to become even more popular than it already is. Furthermore, less mainstream sports such as fencing and water polo, will also get a boost.

Conway added:

“I can only imagine that the Olympics, paired with the huge success of Team GB

this year, will inspire more and more people to get involved in sport at every level, when you pair that inspiration with the availability of a wide range of sports at Universities across the UK, it seems natural to assume that participation in university sport is likely to increase as well as the standard of competitive sport at Universities.”

These views will hopefully be shared by incoming first year students and help make the Athletics Union bigger, better and more inclusive.

The heroes of these Olympics; Farah, Bolt, Phelps, Kenny, Trott, Whitclok, Stanning and Glover (the list goes on), will no doubt inspire University of Portsmouth students in whatever way to aspire to be faster, higher, stronger.

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