Going for Gold
Posted on 23/07/2012
As the capital counts down to the Olympic and Paralympic Games, King’s students and staff torchbearers, athletes and volunteers get ready to make the Games a success.
Three King’s torchbearers will carry the Olympic Flame through Islington on 26 July. Dr Ian McFadzean, Senior Lecturer in Pharmacology; Pharmacology PhD student Abigail Morris and third year LLB Law student Laura Arowolo were nominated by King’s students and staff and selected by Samsung for the accolade. Abigail said: ‘I feel extremely proud to be representing both King’s and Great Britain as a torchbearer.’ Laura added: ‘It feels pretty surreal that I’ll be holding the Olympic Torch. The fact that just minutes from where I reside the world’s best athletes will be competing is both exciting and inspiring.’
London will host the Olympic Games from 27 July to 12 August and PhD Law student Katherine Grainger MBE, who made history as the first British woman to win medals at three consecutive Games, will compete in the Women’s Double Sculls. Katherine told the BBC: ‘Without planning it, both my Olympic career and my PhD have met at the same time and the culmination for both is 2012.’ KCLSU’s Kinetic Elite Athlete Scheme has supported other Olympic hopefuls in the run up to the Games, including Mary Cohen (Fencing), Zoe Lee (Rowing) and Antonio Infantino (Athletics).
The Paralympic Games will follow from 29 August to 9 September and going for gold will be first year Geography student and Paralympics GB footballer Michael Smith, who suddenly lost his eyesight due to a rare genetic condition, Leber’s Optic Neuropathy, at the age of 18. Two years on, Michael has gained a place on the national team and says: ‘Football acts as a great way to channel a lot of the frustrations of being blind, and being on the pitch of my own accord and my own merit is a great feeling. The main values of the Paralympics are Courage, Determination, Inspiration and Equality – all qualities that disabled people have to show on a daily basis through life.’ A recent King’s alumnus who has also qualified to compete in the Paralympics is Ryan Chamberlain (MA Science & Security, 2011), who took up rowing at King’s after losing his left leg when a drunk driver struck him while cycling in Bolivia.
Behind the scenes, up to 70,000 ‘Games Makers’ will help to make the London 2012 Games happen. Amongst the many King’s students and staff who are volunteering as ‘Games Makers’, Physics student Jack Allen will assist athletes at the Victory Ceremonies; Nursing student Jing Lau will oversee the Aquatics Centre radio equipment; Business Management student Laurene Aubry will be an interpreter; Anatomy, Developmental & Human Biology student Emma Rogers will be a first aider; Learning Technologist Paul Gillary will provide IT support to the International Broadcast Centre, and medical student David Gee will be a London Ambassador. French & Hispanic Studies student Stephanie Fairbairn said: ‘I can’t wait to meet people from all different backgrounds and use my language skills.’
King’s is operating the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)-accredited London 2012 Anti-Doping Laboratory in partnership with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) during the Games and hosting the London 2012 Festival Press Office.
Looking to the future, King’s and KCLSU are developing a sporting, health and well-being agenda. To lead this, the College has appointed Andy Allford, GB Badminton Team Leader and Coach, who will join King’s in September.