University of Leeds alumni competing in Olympic Games


Four University of Leeds alumni are part of the TeamGB squad in the Olympic Games which is carrying the hopes of the nation on its shoulders.

Among the British squad who were selected to represent the country are Alistair Brownlee, Jonny Brownlee, Gordon Benson and Rebecca Galantree.

For triathlete Gordon, who completed his degree just two months ago and now holds a Bachelor of Science qualification in Nutrition, this month will be a defining time in his life: his first Olympic Games.

He will compete alongside two of triathlon’s foremost figures, brothers Alistair and Jonny Brownlee, who claimed gold and bronze in the London 2012 Olympics. 

Alistair Brownlee initially began his degree studies at Cambridge but moved to the University of Leeds to study Physiology and Sport.

This move was in order to focus on athletic training at the Leeds Triathlon Centre. He graduated in 2009 and now trains full time within the sport.

Jonny Brownlee completed a degree in History at the University in 2012, and the same year won the ITU world title. He is also a member of British Triathlon Squad training at the Leeds Triathlon Centre.

Earlier this year, the Brownlee brothers claimed first and second place in the World Series Leeds triathlon.

Diver Rebecca Gallantree is a veteran Olympian – Rio is her third games after a career which has seen numerous victories and top 10 results on the national and international stage.

Rebecca graduated in 2005 with a BSc in Sport and Exercise Science and arrived in Rio with a 2014 Commonwealth Games and 2015 World Championships gold medal to her name. 

She was among the earliest competitors in this year's games and on Sunday, together with diving partner Alicia Blagg, claimed sixth place in the 3 metre synchronised dive at the Maria Lenk Aquatics Centre. 

Sir Alan Langlands, the University’s Vice-Chancellor, praised the Leeds graduates, saying the University was proud of all four competitors. 

Patrick Craig, the University’s Assistant Head of Sport, said: “The University community has a great deal of pride in what Jonny, Alistair, Gordon and Rebecca have achieved so far. All of them have reached the pinnacle of their sports, and are an inspiration to every student here at Leeds.” 

The Brownlees and Gordon Benson are due to compete in the triathlon competition on Thursday 18 August.

A number of Leeds students and alumni are also due to compete in the Paralympic Games in September.

Pictured above: Jonny Brownlee in training at the University of Leeds swimming pool.