Best Olympic success stories from UK boarding schools

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Best Olympic success stories from UK boarding schools

Sport is an important part of the boarding school experience in the UK. With high-quality coaching and facilities, boarding schools produce many athletes who go on to have successful careers in professional sport. With the Tokyo games having come to an end, we take a look at the Olympic success of some of the UK’s boarding schools.

Repton School

The Tokyo Olympics saw three of Repton’s former pupils competing. Repton has a history of excellent hockey players- the school currently holds a total of five Olympic medals for hockey. Ex-students Leah Wilkinson and Shona McCallin put in an impressive performance as part of the women’s hockey team this year. After a close final they won a Bronze medal for Team GB. Also representing Repton was swimmer Adam Peaty who became the first British swimmer to defend an Olympic title after winning the 100m breaststroke this year. Speaking of the success of their pupils, the Derbsyhire based school said that they are “proud to foster grounded individuals who are unbounded in their aspirations.”


Plymouth College

Independent boarding school Plymouth College, is known to be a world-leading school for performance sport – particularly swimming and diving. This year, the school sent swimmer Laura Stephens to compete in the women’s 200m butterfly. Former Plymouth College pupil, Tom Daley also made the school proud after winning two medals this summer. Daley’s first appearance at the Olympics was at the London 2012 games. After winning a variety of Bronze and Silver medals, Tokyo saw him win his first well-deserved gold.

Millfield School

Millfield School is an independent school in Somerset, known for its excellent sport facilities. The boarding school is no stranger to Olympic success. Ex-pupils have been present at every Olympics since 1956, returning over the years with a variety of medals. In 1980, Duncan Goodhew brought home both Bronze and Gold medals for swimming. Hockey player Stephen Batchelor won Bronze in the 1984 games, and Gold in Seoul four years later. 2012 saw a rowing world record and Gold medal for Helen Glover, which she successfully defended at the 2016 games.

This summer’s Olympics in Tokyo allowed Millfield to continue their sporting success. The school sent an impressive 14 alumni to the games – the highest number of Millfield athletes at any one Olympics to date. Nine of the Millfield athletes joined Team GB, with others competing for Kenya, Denmark, Brunei and Hong Kong.

Millfield swimmer, James Guy won Gold in the pool. Both Helen Glover and Rory Gibbs came in fourth in their respective rowing events, narrowly missing out on medals. Swimmer Suzanna Hext is preparing for the Paralympics, which begin on the 24th of August.

Speaking of their Olympiads, Millfield School said,

“These individuals represent a very small proportion of young people who have benefited in different ways from their time at Millfield through sport. We are proud to have played a small role in their personal success whether through sport or through the other experiences they have through the school.”


All girls school Queenswood sent three of their ex-pupils to the Tokyo games this year. Sisters Jodie and Hannah Williams raced together in the 4 x 400m relay, finishing in 5th place. Rowan McKellar won a World Cup Silver in rowing before heading to the Tokyo Olympics.

Jo Wakeley, Queenswood’s Director of Sport said,

“Jodie, Hannah and Rowan are amazing, inspirational, talented young women and great models for Queenswood Sport Scholars. When we interview young athletes, every one of them has an ambition to represent GB at the Olympics. So to have three former pupils heading to Tokyo is just a dream come true.”

Strathallan School

After spending seven years at Strathallan School in Scotland, Duncan Scott headed to university and then to the 2016 Rio Olympics. In Rio he claimed two silver medals, and this year made it to Tokyo to compete for Team GB. The swimmer made history at the Olympics this year, winning four medals in one summer – more than any other British competitor at a single Olympic games. Duncan has certainly set the bar high for our 14 students who are attending Strathallan this year!

This article appears in the following categories  Best of..., School Admissions

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