There were of course Oxford Olympians other than Colin Smith who excelled in Beijing, making Oxford the best represented of all the British Universities in terms of medals (see table).
Their performances highlighted the diversity of sporting talent within Oxford, with five of the six medals coming from rowers. Gold medals were won by Pete Reed and Andy Triggs-Hodge in the men’s heavyweight fours in a remarkbly thrilling race which saw the British boat haul down three quarters of a length on Australia in the final two hundred and fifty metres.
Further gold medal success came as Robin Bourne-Taylor claimed one as part of the men’s pairs. Acer Nethercott, who coxed the men’s eights which Colin Smith was also a part of, won silver, narrowly missing out to the Canadian boat.
In a very close race, Team GB left their last push just a little too late and came up just short of catching the Canadians, who had set a blistering pace at the start of the race.
The success of Oxford rowers should come as no surprise, so it was a pleasant surprise to see the university being representing in events away from the regatta. The most successful of these competitors was Daisy Dick, who took part in the eventing competition. Although she would almost certainly have taken gold for the best name, she was only able to come third, thus securing a bronze.
Although she may not have been the favourite amongst the Britons to walk away with a medal, she rose to the challenge. As the competition came to a climax she forced her way into contention and saved Britain’s blushes in an event in which they were highly fancied.
One other performance of note was Mara Yamauchi’s sixth placed finish in the marathon. The diminutive thirty-five year old finished ahead of the struggling Paula Radcliffe, and in doing so achieved the best placing for a British woman in the event.