Universities Week Olympic focus [Audio]

The View Tube Building next to the Olympic Stadium. Photo: Erin Taylor

Universities Week launched in Tower Hamlets on Monday releasing a new report revealing the predicted impact on universities of the upcoming London 2012 Olympics.

The third annual Universities Week campaign will this year incorporate the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games as its theme and aims to increase public awareness of the wide and varied role of the UK’s universities.

Statistics in the report published by Universities UK show that nearly two-thirds of Team GB Medallists from the last 20 years are university-educated. Other correlations between higher education institutions and the Olympic Games are drawn, as well as with sport in general.

The report was released at View Tube, a social enterprise and community venue with panoramic views of the Olympic Park, a location that reflected the campaign’s link between education and sport.

Speaking at the launch was David Willetts, the Minister for Universities and Science, who spoke about the contribution that students at different institutions were making towards the London 2012 Olympic Games.



The report also found that more than 90 per cent of the UK’s universities are engaged with London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games in some way, with 65 per cent expecting to gain long-term benefits from their involvement.

The campaign is being coordinated by Universities UK and British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS). John Inverdale, BBC Sports Broadcaster, is an Ambassador for BUCS and spoke on the role of sport in universities and his own experiences in higher education.



Also at the launch of the campaign was BUCS Ambassador Isobel Pooley, who is a Nottingham University student, as well as a high-jump athlete looking to qualify for the Olympics this summer. She spoke about the balance between her academic and athletic life.



The week will culminate on Saturday in the BUCS Outdoor Athletics Championships, held in the Olympic Stadium, in which university students like Isobel Pooley will be competing to qualify for a place in Team GB.

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