Although the University’s sporting achievement and commitment to providing the best training environment for athletes is evident, Loughborough is also ensuring that it is involved in innovative research, community activities and cultural projects that will all contribute to London 2012. Robert Knott and Jarrah Webster have been to find out how the University is creating a lasting legacy from the 2012 Games.
Hosting elite sportspeople is not new to Loughborough. Notable alumni include the likes of Lord Sebastian Coe and Sir Clive Woodward, who respectfully are both playing pivotal roles in delivering a successful 2012 Games.
The last 12 months has seen the University holding a number of international sporting events on campus in Olympic sports such as handball, tennis and water polo. The annual Loughborough International Athletics event saw World Champions Dai Greene and Jessica Ennis both competing.
With unrivalled sporting facilities, world-leading research in sport science and sport medicine, and home to National Performance Centres in a range of Olympic sports – including athletics, swimming, hockey and triathlon – the University is strongly committed to the 2012 Games and the hundreds of athletes that will pass through its doors.
But for all the history and reputation that Loughborough has built up over the last 60 years, 2012 will be very special for the University as it plans to welcome Team GB and Japan, and supporting their athletes in the build up to the Games.
For Team GB particularly, hosting such a camp is all the more challenging with London 2012 being a ‘home’ Games. As ‘host nation’ Team GB can enter athletes in all 26 sports, including the likes of handball, volleyball and football that are playing in an Olympic Games for the first time in many years.
A number of these sports will be utilising the University’s facilities for their training and preparation in the final days and weeks prior to London 2012. But it is also expected that every member of Team GB – comprising athletes, coaches and support staff – will visit the Preparation Camp to be officially welcomed as members of the team, receive critical pre-Games briefings and collect their kit, including opening and closing ceremony outfits.