Olympic medallist joins University

Olympic medal-winning gymnast Kristian Thomas is to launch a new stage in his career with a degree course at the University of Wolverhampton.

Kristian, who won bronze at London 2012, is turning his thoughts to academia by starting a BSc (Hons) Strength and Conditioning course.

The 27-year-old was part of the Great Britain’s men’s gymnastics team at Rio 2016 and will start at the Institute of Sport in Walsall this month.

Kristian has been awarded a scholarship by the University to support his sporting career, which he will use to assist with attending domestic and international competitions and sports equipment.

After a short break, Kristian plans to continue with his competitive gymnastic career and will decide which competitions to focus on in January. 

He said: “Being an elite athlete you work with strength and conditioning coaches on a daily basis. It is something I have always been interested in and something I may wish to go into as a career in the future. It is a great way to be involved in sport.

“I am from Wolverhampton so wanted to be local, and I knew I would be looked after at the University, which also has fantastic sports facilities.

“It is a weird feeling to be heading back into education – I have been away from it for 10 years. I have been training full-time for the last eight years so it is a bit of a change for me, but I’m excited about having another focus. I’m also looking forward to gaining knowledge about strength and conditioning which I can use for my own personal training.

“I’m grateful for the support from the University through the Scholarship programme, which will help when I attend domestic and international competitions but also buying sports equipment like hand guards and chalk – it takes the pressure off.

“Everyone knows gymnastics is a young man’s sport, so I need to start looking ahead to the future. This is a great opportunity for me to broaden my horizons.”

Kay Biscomb, Director of the University’s Institute of Sport, said: “We are absolutely delighted that Kristian has chosen to study a BSc (Hons) Strength and Conditioning degree with us. His many sporting achievements and experience of competing at the highest level will be a huge inspiration to fellow students. Elite athletes use strength and conditioning as part of their training and preparation for major competitions so he will have valuable experience to share.

“Many athletes want to consider alternative careers after they retire and coaching is an exciting and interesting path to pursue.”

Kristian Thomas won an Olympic Bronze medal as part of the men’s gymnastics team at London 2012. He was a Silver World Championship medallist in 2015, European Champion on Floor 2015 and Commonwealth Games Gold Medallist 2014.

Most recently he was the team captain of the Mens Gymnastics at Rio Olympics 2016.

The BSc (Hons) strength and conditioning course enables students to develop their skills in applying physiology, biomechanics, psychology and aspects of sports medicine to the effective delivery of strength and conditioning sessions for both individual athletes and groups of performers from a variety of sports.

ENDS

For more information please contact Vickie Warren in the Media Relations Office on 01902 322736.

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