Former Hartpury student Dan Norton has become the college’s second Olympic medallist in as many days after picking up a silver in Rio.
The BSc Sports Conditioning and Coaching graduate was part of the Great Britain men’s rugby sevens side who finished second to a strong Fiji side who outplayed them in yesterday evening’s final.
Despite losing the final 43-7 to the pre-tournament favourites, former Hartpury RFC player Norton bagged tries in both the semi-final and final. His first came as his GB side came from behind against second seeds South Africa to win 7-5, with Norton stepping inside his man and under the posts for his score.
Norton’s final try was somewhat more of a consolation as his side were overwhelmed by a strong Fijian side but he still comes away from Brazil with an Olympic Silver medal around his neck.
Earlier in the tournament, GB had finished top of their pool after winning three from three of their group games against New Zealand, Kenya and Japan. They needed extra time against Argentina in the quarter-finals as a ‘golden score’ saw them over the line as they scored the first try of the game.
Ruaridh McConnochie, also a former player for Hartpury RFC, was another member of the Great Britain squad and despite not seeing quite as much game time as teammate Norton he will still return home an Olympic Silver medallist.
Hartpury’s Director of Elite Sport, Tom Radcliffe, said: “This is the first time we’ve seen any former students competing at the Olympics and to be able to say that Dan is the second student in as many days to come away with a medal is absolutely fantastic. Our programmes have only been running for a short while and I think it’s testament to all the people who work as part of them at Hartpury that we’re able to see graduates competing on the world stage and winning Olympic medals.
“Hopefully people like Dan, Ruaridh and Astier Nicolas - the French star who won gold and silver in the equestrian eventing – can inspire the next generation of youngsters and even those who have their eyes on places at Tokyo 2020, where we’ll be hoping to see a few more of our former students.
“We’ve recently introduced a multisport academy to help provide support to students at Hartpury who are not participating in sports that we currently offer elite programmes for. We’re now able to provide services like strength and conditioning, sports psychology and lifestyle management to students who might be talented in sports like athletics or weightlifting for example.
We’re hoping that it will allow us to see even more of our students to go on and compete at the top level.”