Newcastle University

06/12/2024 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 06/12/2024 02:17

University alumni named in Team GB rowing squad for Paris Olympics

Newcastle University has a record six alumni among the 42 rowers selected by the British Olympic Association (BOA) to represent Team GB at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games this summer.

James Rudkin and Tom Ford have been named in the men's eight, Emily Ford in the women's Eight, and Lola Anderson in the women's quad.

Will Stewart and James Robson have also been selected in reserve to represent Great Britain at the end of July.

'Team GB's only brother and sister'

Speaking on the record number of representatives, Angelo Savarino, Head of Rowing at Newcastle University, said: "The University is as proud of these athletes as I am. When I started at Newcastle University in 2005, we had ten senior men and five senior women and just one full-time rowing coach. Now, we have 40 men and 40 women, with three full-time coaches.

"The average age of an Olympic rower is 28 years old, which means at least another four-year cycle after graduation. If you graduate halfway through an Olympic cycle, it might take six to eight years to reach that level. We had four rowers close to making the cut for 2012, which shows you the level they were at from a young age.

"All of the men and women in the team have been in the making at Newcastle University as far back as 2011. So, more rowers and coaches have translated into more athletes being selected for Team GB, along with the crucial guidance to develop the athletes while studying here."

Among the 23 female and 19 male rowers in Team GB, half are competing in their first Olympic Games, while the other half are experienced Olympians making a return. This includes Team GB's only brother and sister, Tom and Emily Ford.

The siblings participated in the Tokyo 2020 Games and have competed at the highest level in the build-up to this summer. Tom won back-to-back World Championship titles with the men's eight, and Emily took silver at both the 2023 and 2024 European Championships with the women's eight.

Tom said: "It's always amazing to be told you are selected for Team GB. For me, knowing that my sister Emily has also been selected for her second Olympic Games is huge. It's a proud moment for our family and being able to share this experience with Emily is just brilliant."

'Proud moment for us and our family'

For Emily, the pride of having her family in attendance is a moment she plans to cherish for the rest of her life after her debut at the Olympics in Tokyo was overshadowed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Emily said: "It's a hugely proud moment for both of us and our family. It's made even more special this time as we can have family and friends supporting us out there. This was a massive part that was missed in our last Olympics, so to be able to experience this with them is going to be even more amazing.

"The fact we have each other to go through this journey together is something extremely unique and something we will definitely cherish for life."

Emily started rowing at the age of 13, following in the footsteps of her older twin brothers. She continued her development during her four years of study at Newcastle University between 2013 and 2017.

She added: "Newcastle University was instrumental in mine and Tom's development. It was a wonderful place to be a student with great teaching, and looking back the support we received to develop in our sport while studying was pivotal.

"Help was always there when we needed it, and you could tell that student successes meant a lot to all areas of the university, hopefully we can give them more to be proud of this summer."

The rowing events at the Paris Olympics are scheduled to run from July 27 to August 3 at the National Olympic Nautical Stadium of Île-de-France in Vaires-sur-Marne, tickets are available to purchase here.

(Press release adapted with thanks to British Rowing)