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Tears of joy and despair for Bristol’s star Olympians

Gold and bronze medallist Laura Bechtolsheimer

Gold and bronze medallist Laura Bechtolsheimer Getty Images

110m hurdler Lawrence Clarke

110m hurdler Lawrence Clarke Getty Images

Press release issued: 9 August 2012

Former University of Bristol student and Olympic star Laura Bechtolsheimer has won a bronze medal to add to the gold she’d previously won in the dressage at London 2012.

Laura scored 84.339 with her horse Mistral Hojris to take the lead and guarantee Britain a medal, but the penultimate rider Adelinde Cornelissen from the Netherlands upped the ante with a huge score of 88.196 before Team GB teammate Charlotte Dujardin stormed to victory with an impressive score of 90.089 to take gold.

Laura, from Gloucestershire, won a gold medal in the team event on Tuesday in front of a home crowd of 20,000 spectators at Greenwich Park.

The 27-year-old, who graduated in 2007 with a BSc in Philosophy and Politics, has played an integral part in helping GB's equestrian team end with three Olympic titles - two in dressage and a showjumping team gold. These are GB's first-ever individual dressage medals.

Hurdler Lawrence Clarke, who graduated last year with a 2.1 in Theology and Religious Studies, hit the headlines after an impressive performance in the 110m hurdles last night. He came fourth in the final – a feat which he could barely believe, telling the BBC: “I can't believe it. If you'd have said you were going to make the semi-final I would have taken that. To come fourth in the Olympic Games, it's hard to put it into words.”

Clarke set a personal best of 13.31 in the semi-final to clinch the last spot in the final. Despite coming into the Games ranked 20th in the world, he surpassed expectations to finish fourth in 13.39.

But there was disappointment for former Law student Georgie Twigg, who left the pitch in tears after the GB women’s hockey team lost 2-1 to Argentina last night. They will now play New Zealand tomorrow at 3.30pm in a bid to win the bronze medal.

Hopes are high for sailor Hannah Mills, who is guaranteed at least a silver in the final race of the women’s 470 sailing tomorrow. She’s currently joint first with partner Saskia Clark and will go head-to-head with New Zealand for the top medals. The 24-year-old, who is studying Engineering but has deferred her final year to focus on her sailing ambitions, will race at 1pm in Weymouth.

Fellow sailor Iain Percy won a silver on Monday on Monday in the Men’s Star Class. The former Economics student, who studied at Bristol between 1995 and 1998, was aiming for a hat trick after winning gold at both the Sydney and Beijing Olympics, but he and partner Andrew Simpson lost out on the gold in the last few seconds of the final race.

Claire Hallissey, 29, who completed a PhD in Immunology between 2006 and 2010, ran the marathon on Sunday in a time of 2.35.39, handing her a 57th place finish in the event.

For a full schedule of when the University of Bristol athletes are competing, please see the Alumni web pages.


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