16 August 2012
Glasgow Caledonian University Principal and Vice Chancellor Professor Pamela Gillies has congratulated GCU graduate Laura Bartlett following her medal-winning performance at the Olympic Games.
Laura, 24, who graduated with a BA Business Studies, has won the admiration of Scots across the country, including Shona Robison, Minister for Commonwealth Games and Sport, who described her as a “hockey hero” after Team GB’s triumph over New Zealand in a thrilling match to clinch the bronze medal on Saturday.
It was Laura’s second appearance at the Games – she was called up to the squad for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing while still a student and has since notched up more than 40 caps for Great Britain and nearly 60 for Scotland since her international debut in 2007.
Professor Gillies said: “We are incredibly proud of Laura’s Olympic medal achievement. Laura has had an amazingly successful sporting career, but to be part of a medal winning team at the Olympic Games takes this one step further.
“We know she had to come back from a serious knee injury in 2010 so her dedication and commitment to her sport and her team is to be commended. The London 2012 Olympics have been an amazing success and I hope many of our current students are inspired by Laura to fully achieve their potential. I know that there is a wider debate about how to secure a lasting Olympic legacy and through initiatives such as our Caledonian Club-led ‘Tale of Two Sporting Cities’, GCU is committed to playing its part. I hope Laura will be able to visit her university soon, so that we can fully pay tribute to her efforts and success.”
Laura grew up in Glasgow and played for her school, Glasgow Academy, from the age of nine. She continued her quest to become one of Britain’s top players while studying at GCU and now plays for Reading in England’s Investec Women's Premier Division.
Speaking to GCU, Laura said: “The Olympics have been an amazing experience and to win bronze is overwhelming. I have received hundreds of messages of congratulations, many from old school friends I haven’t seen in years and people I don’t know well, who have said that they have been inspired by Team GB’s performance.
“Thanks to Lottery funding, the players were able to train full time to become the best we could be, individually and as a team, so we could take on the best in the world. I have sacrificed a lot for my sport but winning a medal at the Olympics made it all worthwhile.”
Meeting the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, before and after the Olympics also gave the team a boost.
Laura said: “Kate visited us during a training session before the Olympics and came along to watch the game against China. We were excited to meet her as she is a great supporter of hockey and is interested in how we are performing. Her support and the Olympics have helped raise the profile of hockey and I hope many more young people are inspired to get involved in sport.
Laura’s rise to the top of her sport has brought numerous accolades, trophies and medals, as well as the respect of her peers.
In 2011, she was awarded the title of British Olympic Association Athlete of the Year by Great Britain Hockey in recognition of her outstanding performances for Scotland and for demonstrating the Olympic values of friendship, excellence and respect.
The Team GB hockey team - which was made up entirely of graduates and students –battled their way into the history books by winning the Britain’s first Olympic medal in the sport for two decades.