Medal winning Olympian Honoured

Kathy Smallwood-CookKathy Smallwood-Cook, a three-time Olympic medal winner, was presented with an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters at a ceremony on Monday 9 September.

The honour from the University’s School of Sport, Performing Arts and Leisure was made in recognition of Kathy’s outstanding contribution to sport, her standing as a role model for athletes, and her contribution to sport education.

Since retiring as a professional athlete, Kathy has gone on to teach PE at Mayfield Preparatory School in Walsall.

Reflecting on her award, Kathy said: “I’m absolutely delighted to receive this honour from the University of Wolverhampton.

“I know that the University boasts world class sports facilities at its Walsall Campus, and as a PE teacher in the Black Country I’m extremely pleased to see such focus being put on this area by the University.

“Sporting activity improves fitness, helps develop skills and gives young people the chance to work in a team as well as providing them with a sense of belonging. With their innovative facilities it is clear that the University understands what a crucial role sport plays for society in the West Midlands region.”

Born in Winchester, Kathy began her career at Reading Athletic Club, soon becoming a member of the British team.

Between 1978 and 1984 she was a permanent part of the Great Britain Women's 4x100m relay team, running the second ‘leg’ and winning a total of eight medals in Olympic, World, European, and Commonwealth Championships.

Her major results began with a silver medal at the European Championships, and a gold at the Commonwealth Games, both in 1978, followed by a bronze at the 1980 Moscow Olympics, where the team also set a new British record time.

Kathy has also enjoyed considerable success as an individual runner.  At the 1982 European Championships she won silver in the 200m, setting a new UK and Commonwealth record of 22.13 seconds, and less than a week later set a new UK and Commonwealth record in the 400m.

Considered to be her finest season, in 1984 Kathy won two Olympic bronze medals in the Los Angeles Games - again in the 400m and the 4x100m relay – and narrowly missed out by 1/100th of a second on a bronze in the 200m. 

Retiring in 1987, no British female sprinter has since come close to emulating Kathy’s achievements and in 2011 she was inducted into the England Athletics Hall of Fame.

The University of Wolverhampton’s graduation ceremonies take place at the Grand Theatre from Thursday 5 September to Friday 13 September 2013.

ENDS

For more information please contact Patrick Campbell in the Media Relations Office on 01902 322448

Date Issued: Tuesday 10 September 2013

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