Defending champions: which Bath alumni will be defending their Olympic wins at Paris 2024?

Posted in: Bath, On campus

The countdown has begun. With less than a year left to go until the Paris 2024 Olympics – and a little over a year until the Paralympics – some of the University’s top alumni athletes are keen to secure their spot in the games and defend their Tokyo 2020 titles.


Five amazing University of Bath graduates medalled at Tokyo, bringing home a total of four gold medals and one bronze. When the Olympic flame is lit in front of the Trocadero on Friday 26 July 2024, which of our defending champions will be there raring to compete?

Brunette male in a white sports kit grinning and holding a gold Olympic medal.

Joe Choong

One alumnus who will definitely be there is mathematics graduate, Joe Choong MBE, who has already secured his Olympic quota place for Team GB in the modern pentathlon. For the uninitiated, the sport consists of fencing, freestyle swimming, equestrian show jumping, pistol shooting, and cross country running.


Joe made history at Tokyo, becoming the first-ever individual medal for a British man in the five-event sport. His medal also became the seventh won by Pentathlon GB athletes since their National Performance Centre was established at the Team Bath Sports Training Village in 1998.


Joe secured his place at Paris 2024 by winning a team gold medal and an individual silver at the 2023 European Games in Krakow, Poland, alongside alongside Olivia Green (BSc Sport & Exercise Science 2022) Having secured his Team GB spot, he spoke with the official Team GB YouTube channel, saying: “When I was growing up, my dream was always to go to one Olympics… now I’ve been to two Olympics and a European Games and opportunities seem to keep coming. It’s a massive privilege and I hope there’ll be at least one more!”

Joe and Olivia were supported by sports scholarships funded by alumni while studying at Bath. Now they both have the chance to secure second quota spots for Team GB on home turf when theUIPM Modern Pentathlon World Championships are staged at the University of Bath during August. 


Kate French

Also expected to defend a gold in the modern pentathlon is Sports Performance graduate, Kate French MBE. At Tokyo, Kate produced strong performances in the swimming and show jumping before overhauling a 15-second deficit in the decisive run-shoot event and taking the title in style with a new Olympic points record of 1,385. Though she has taken a break from competing in 2023, she will support her team at the World Championships and is expected to try and place for Paris 2024.


Of her 2020 win, she said to Team Bath: “I don’t know what just happened, I can’t really believe it… I knew I had to focus, I knew I could do it if I just focused on my shooting and ran as hard as I could.” Kate later added that she’s “been in the sport for 15 years now, so it was such a good feeling to be able to say, ‘I actually did it!’”

Anna Hopkin

Of the 21 medals Bath-based athletes brought home from the Olympic and Paralympic games, a stunning seven were for swimming. One of those gold medals belongs to sport and exercise Science graduate, Anna Hopkin MBE, who swam the freestyle leg of the Mixed 4 x 100 metre medley relay. Together with Team GB athletes Adam Peaty OBE, James Guy MBE and Kathleen Dawson MBE, she secured a new world record time for the mixed relay of 3 minutes 37.58 seconds.

A smiling female swimmer in the pool wearing a Team Bath swimming hat.

Anna recently scooped up a bronze medal at the 2023 World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka for the Mixed 4 x 100 metre relay – her first ever World Championship medal. She said in a recent interview with Eurosport: "Obviously, [2020] was our most successful Olympic Games and we've just got to carry that momentum through and hopefully by next year in Paris, we'll have an even stronger team."

A brunette male with a beard wearing a white sports kit holding a gold Olympic medal.

Calum Jarvis

Sports performance graduate, Calum Jarvis MBE, also struck gold at Tokyo 2020, winning the 4x200m freestyle relay alongside teammates James Guy MBE, Matt Richards MBE, current mechanical engineering student and Bill Whiteley Sporting Scholar, Tom Dean MBE.


However, after 11 years with the British Swimming Performance Centre Bath squad, Calum announced his retirement from competing in 2022, saying: “I’ve been to all of the major competitions and got silverware, and not everyone in their sporting career gets to do that. I’m very grateful for the opportunities I’ve had, and a big thank you to everyone who’s been a part of that journey as well.”

A male Paralympian rowing a canoe in a river, with a sign saying Tokyo 2020 in the background.

Stuart Wood

To close out Tokyo 2020, maths and physics graduate, Stuart Wood, provided a fitting medal-winning conclusion for University of Bath sportspeople as he bagged the VL3 paracanoeing bronze at the Paralympic Games. Stuart, who first took up the sport with the University’s canoe club when he began studying in 2012, clocked 52.760 in a first-ever men’s Paralympic final for the Va’a boat class that was introduced at Tokyo. Stuart then went on to claim his first World Championship silver just two weeks later in Copenhagen.


However, shortly after his series of victories, Stuart was diagnosed with Stage 3b Hodgkin lymphoma – a type of blood cancer – and was forced to take a break from competition. Having received treatment and then the all-clear in 2022, he returned triumphantly to the spot by winning gold at the 2023 Sprint and Para-canoe World Cup in his first major race since his diagnosis.


Stuart said of his win: "After the last 18 months it's just great to be out racing again. To come away with the win as well – it's pretty special. My partner, friends, family and team really pushed me on." After this win, he is undoubtedly keen to secure his place at Paris 2024.


Tickets are on sale for the UIPM Modern Pentathlon and Laser Run World Championships 2023, a Paris 2024 Olympic Games qualifying event coming to the University of Bath this summer.


Posted in: Bath, On campus

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