Oxford posed Games question for Edmonds

03 May 2012 / 12:42

Olympic hopeful Abigail Edmonds has revealed how she had to fight for a second time to study maths at Oxford University after she chose to compete as a sprint canoeist at this year's Games.

Following the Beijing Games four years ago, the 21-year-old faced the most daunting decision - to pursue Olympic glory or concentrate on her academic career and accept a place at Oxford. It had to be the Olympics and a spot in the K4 boat, competing over 500 metres.

Given that she had not turned down her place to go travelling round the world but instead reach the pinnacle of an Olympic sport, she might have been forgiven for thinking one of the world's elite universities would have held her place open.

But Oxford refused to make it easy and defer her place. Instead, she had to re-apply earlier this year and take time out from her gruelling training schedule to sit further exams for St Peter's College.

Since then there has been little let-up and while her team-mates might be reading magazines or catching up with friends during down time, Edmonds has more often than not had her nose in a maths book, crunching equations and solving complex conundrums.

Edmonds said: "It was three or four years ago, I was making up my mind as to whether to join the senior squad and go full time or accept my place at Oxford.

"I ended up joining the senior squad and turning the place down. I got in touch with them and asked whether I could have my place back but I had to go through the whole admissions process again, but I have my place for a second time.

"I guess maths and canoeing are quite different but once you've finished a training session, you really need to switch off your mind and focus on something different otherwise you will waste so much energy.

"It's a good way to recuperate and because I like doing it I would rather sit down with the maths books than watch an episode of 90210. One of my team-mates picked up one of my maths books the other day and said 'x equals 10, that must be the answer!' They take the Mickey out of me a little bit but that's all part of the fun and games.

"I guess maths for me is about struggling to find an answer, and there are so many different ways you can find an answer to something."