L-R: Edge Hill Vice-Chancellor Dr John Cater, Katarina Johnson-Thompson and Barrie Wells officially open the Sports Centre

L-R: Edge Hill Vice-Chancellor Dr John Cater, Katarina Johnson-Thompson and Barrie Wells officially open the Sports Centre

As heptathlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson celebrates her Olympic success in Rio after setting a new British and Olympic heptathlon high jump record of 1.98m, we take a look back to a year ago when she was here to open Edge Hill’s £30m Sports Centre.

Katarina was joined for the opening by philanthropist and entrepreneur Barrie Wells, who has sponsored her throughout her career. The opening event saw them unveil a commemorative plaque and join other guests for a tour of the new facilities.

“I’ve been to Edge Hill a number of times, including with a group of schoolchildren and also to see my sponsor Barrie Wells be awarded an Honorary Degree by the University, and it’s fantastic to be back today for the opening of this amazing facility,” said Katarina. “It’s an honour to be here, and I’d like to thank Edge Hill for having me!”

Katarina isn’t the only famous face involved in this year’s Olympics to visit Edge Hill in the recent years.

Three Olympic commentators, Sir Chris Hoy, Clare Balding and Steve Cram, have also visited Edge Hill in the past 12 months for a variety of reasons.


In September 2015, World, European and Commonwealth 1500m champion, Steve Cram CBE, visited Edge Hill to share stories of his sporting exploits and give a packed audience insights into the secrets of his success, before answering questions about his remarkable athletics career.

During his visit, he also opened the University’s running track, which is on par with the biggest tracks in the UK, excluding the London Olympic stadium, and one of theClaire Balding largest in Europe.

Broadcaster, writer and presenter Clare Balding visited Edge Hill in November 2015 to deliver one of the largest public events in the University calendar, the Chancellor’s Lecture.

During the lecture, Clare discussed her passion for walking, women in sport, her career and the experiences that led to her becoming one of Britain’s leading broadcasters, and she gave her advice to current student who dream of a career in the media.

20160404SirChrisHoylaunchinghisnewbookatEdgeHillUni ©www.philtragen.comPTEH040416

20160404SirChrisHoylaunchinghisnewbookatEdgeHillUni ©www.philtragen.comPTEH040416

Eleven times World Champion and six times Olympic gold medallist Sir Chris Hoy visited Edge Hill in April 2016 to introduce his new pursuit – children’s books.

He read to a full audience of primary school children, before answering questions and signing his new book series, Flying Fergus.

John Cater, Vice-Chancellor of Edge Hill University said: “It was an honour to welcome Sir Chris Hoy to promote Flying Fergus to the children and parents of Lancashire. We wish Sir Chris every success in inspiring the hearts and minds of Britain’s future cycling and Olympic champions.”


Edge Hill even has a member of staff who is affiliated with the Olympics.


Dean Williams, Senior Lecturer in Physical Education and School Sport, spends most of his time when he’s not teaching, involved in the world of athletics.

Dean is one of the top technical officials nationally and he was one of the Chief Field Event Referees for the London Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012, where he oversaw a team of 69 officials running javelin, shot-put and a range of other events to ensure that the rules and regulations were being adhered to and measurements were made correctly.

 More recently, Dean was interviewed by Andrew Longmore of the Sunday Times for an article he was doing on re-living Super Saturday as the Rio Olympics started, and Andrew was keen to discuss the Chris Tomlinson ‘incident’ in the long jump, when the competition was paused so Mo Farrah could start his race.