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Tokyo bronze

Newcastle University alumni win Olympic rowing bronze

Published on: 30 July 2021

Two Newcastle University graduates helped propel Team GB to a podium spot in the men’s eight final at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Two Newcastle University graduates helped propel Team GB to a podium spot in the men’s eight final at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Tom Ford and James Rudkin were part of the men’s eight crew who delivered a strong performance to win bronze in the final race of the Tokyo 2020 regatta. Team GB finished behind silver medal winners Germany, by one tenth of a second, and the race winners New Zealand.

Tom (pictured bottom row, first from right) represented Newcastle University Boat Club (NUBC) from 2012 to 2015, and was men's captain in 2014. He was first selected for the GB Rowing Team at U23 level in 2013. James (pictured bottom row, second from right) was part of NUBC from 2013 to 2015, and men’s captain in 2015. He joined the GB Rowing Team senior squad since joining in 2017.

Before the start of the Olympic Games, Tom said: "Being selected for the Olympic Games means everything to me. For as long as I can remember I have wanted to be a professional sportsperson and to have achieved my childhood dream is beyond anything I could have imagined.”

Newcastle University was represented by four athletes in Tokyo. The other two Olympians were Emily Ford, who was in the women’s eight rowing crew, and Harry Glover. Harry just missed out on a Bronze medal when the GB Rugby Sevens team lost out narrowly to Argentina. The four Olympians were part of Newcastle University’s performance scholarship programme, supporting them to excel at their sport and academically.  

Professor Chris Day, Vice-Chancellor and President, Newcastle University, said: “We are incredibly proud of our graduates’ success at the Olympic Games. On behalf of the entire University, I would like to congratulate James, Emily, Tom and Harry. Their achievement is a result of all the hard work and the commitment of our student athletes and staff who support them.” 

Angelo Savarino Head of Rowing, Newcastle University Boat Club, added: “I am so happy for Tom and James, to win an Olympic medal at their first Olympiad.

“Their journey has been impervious, as for many Olympians five years in the making is a tremendous amount of time to dedicate to the sport chasing that dream.

“Boat club captains, friends, teammates first at Newcastle, then rowing for GB in the same boat, they shared so many things over the last eight years James, and 10 years Tom, since they came to Newcastle university.

“It might sound obvious but they both have even been exemplar student-athletes. Hope to see them again in Paris 2024.”

GB men's celebrate winning the bronze medals. Image: David Pearce

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