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York students and graduates achieve their Olympic dreams

As the nation celebrates the achievements of Team GB at London 2012, students and graduates of York St John University are fulfilling their very own Olympic dreams.

York St John University Vice Chancellor, Professor David Fleming, said: “It’s fantastic to see our students and graduates using the skills they’ve gained at university to be part of the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.  We are very proud of everyone who has been chosen for this once in a lifetime experience to work, perform and volunteer at this year’s Games and wish them all the very best of luck in their future careers.”

Jennifer Dunn, a third year Sports Society and Development student at York St John University, is involved in the football at Newcastle SportsDirect.com stadium as part of the 2012 Olympics. Jennifer was selected for the role after applying online and taking part in an all-day interview. Jennifer said: “It’s amazing to be part of the Olympics. I’ve been playing football since I was 12 years old and have always enjoyed watching the sport. I would love to work within the sport industry as an event organiser or development officer so this is really valuable experience for me.”

Lisa Wiles, a physiotherapy graduate from York St John University, was selected to work at this year’s Olympics. Since graduating in 2008, Lisa has opened her own clinic ‘Hands That Heal – Physio and Massage’ and gained valuable experience working in sport for her local rugby team, GB wheelchair basketball, Hull Stingray Ice Hockey team, Yorkshire Jets Netball team and Rapid Tennis Academy.  At this year’s Olympics, Lisa is treating athletes from around the world. Her first role is in Newcastle, working with soccer teams for ten days, she will then make her way to London for the wheelchair basketball games as part of the Paralympics.

Catherine Hague, a second year Sports Society and Development student at York St John University, will be helping with the Paralympic sport GoalBall. Having been involved in the sport during her time at University, Catherine was asked to apply for the role by Olympic organisers.  

Three Sides Theatre, a theatre company formed at York St John University last October, was chosen to be the official street performers for the cultural Olympiad during the 2012 Olympics. The third year film and television production with theatre studies students, Carys Cook, Sarah Kay and Chris Ward, are currently performing on Tower Bridge. Olympic entertainment chiefs have asked them to bring the same warmth to the streets of London that they brought to York when they took to the streets with their sofa and invited people to talk to them about anything they wished. Three Sides Theatre use performance and the media as a way of bringing communities together, creating a voice for those who have a story to tell.

York St John University alumni Julee Sanderson was part of the Olympic ceremony, she said: “It still sounds very surreal to me to say ‘I was drumming during the Olympic opening ceremony’ but I was. Donned in industrial revolution garb, I stepped out in front of a stadium full of 80,000 people and billions more on TV screens around the world and drummed my heart out for 17 minutes.

“Although we’d had two dress rehearsals in front of audiences, the reaction on the night was just incredible. The best moment for me was after the rings were lit and the music stopped; there was a brief pause and then the stadium erupted into applause. It is a feeling I cannot describe.

“I was also lucky enough to be marshalling in the athletes’ parade.  My role was as human barrier to keep the athletes safe and stop them getting into areas they were not supposed to be in, as well as some dancing to keep the crowds entertained. My position was in front of the royal box, and I had a very peculiar moment of coming out of a dance move and looking up to see the Queen looking right at us. It felt a long way from my final year performance in St. Mary Magdalene’s Leper Chapel in Ripon!”