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Penny Briscoe presented with degree

British Paralympic Association director awarded honorary degree from Loughborough University

Penny Briscoe OBE, Director of Sport at the British Paralympic Association, has been awarded an honorary degree by Loughborough University.

The award – in recognition of her outstanding contribution to Olympic and Paralympic sport as a coach and administrator – was presented at the University’s degree ceremony on Wednesday 19 July.

Penny Briscoe has more than 30 years’ experience in elite sport. Her journey began in 1983 as a Great Britain Canoeing Junior, from which she went on to compete at under 23 and senior levels, including at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.

She then moved into coaching and programme management with British Canoeing, before moving to the British Paralympic Association in 2001. She became their Director of Sport the following year, responsible for the preparation strategy in the lead up to competitions and world games.

Penny has also worked with the wider Paralympics team, holding senior roles across eight Olympic and Paralympic cycles, and appointments as Chef de Mission from 2012 to 2016. She will also be Chef de Mission for ParalympicsGB at the Winter Games in Pyeongyang next year.

Penny graduated from Loughborough University in 1988 with a Postgraduate Certificate in Education. She maintains links with Loughborough through collaboration with the University’s Peter Harrison Centre for Disability Sport and has also utilised the resources available at the University to help drive and deliver her strategy, with the motto of 'Best Prepared'.

Before presenting the award of Honorary Doctor of the University (DUniv), the University’s new Chancellor, Lord Sebastian Coe, thanked Penny for the Herculean work she has done to make the Paralympic movement in Britain and globally what it is today.

“There is no coincidence that the Paralympic movement has gained under your period of stewardship, particularly in terms of performance and direction. Thank you so much for doing what you’ve done,” said Lord Coe.

Accepting the award, Penny said she felt privileged to be recognised for her work in Olympic and Paralympic sport and immensely proud given that Loughborough is the world-leading sport university.

She said: “Personal success is often a result of collaboration with and support from others. Talented individuals can achieve a lot, but in my experience talented teams can often achieve much more.

“ParalympicsGB’s incredible success in Rio was down to the talent, pride and determination of every team member. Our success demonstrated exactly what is possible when a high performing team within a high-performing system comes together with a shared vision.

“The 2018 winter Paralympics will be my tenth Games. My longevity is without doubt down to the inspiration and energy that I draw from the incredible athletes, their talented and dedicated support teams and my British Paralympic Association colleagues. Ours is a ‘can do’ culture, an environment where ability not disability shines through and where the term ‘impossible’ transposes easily to ‘I’m possible’.”

Notes for editors

Press release reference number: 17/102

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Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines. It has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme, named the best university in the world to study sports-related subjects in the 2017 QS World University Rankings and top in the country for its student experience in the 2016 THE Student Experience Survey.

Loughborough was ranked 6th in the Guardian University League Table 2018 and 10th in The UK Complete University Guide 2018 and was also named Sports University of the Year by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017. It has been awarded a Gold rating in the Teaching Excellence Framework, which recognises institutions that deliver consistently outstanding teaching that is of the highest quality found in the UK.

Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’ and is in the top 10 in England for research intensity. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

The Loughborough University London campus is based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and offers postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities. It is home to influential thought leaders, pioneering researchers and creative innovators who provide students with the highest quality of teaching and the very latest in modern thinking.

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