Date of release: Thursday, October 26, 2017

Hon GradsAnn Brightwell, an Olympic gold medallist, and Jennifer Hargreaves, a leading expert in sports sociology, are to be honoured by the University of Greenwich today (Thursday 26 October).

In graduation ceremonies taking place at the Greenwich Campus, they will receive their honorary degrees in recognition of the outstanding achievements and contributions made to higher education.

Ann Brightwell, at the age of 22, won an Olympic gold medal in the 800 metres at the 1964 games in Tokyo. She was favourite to win the 400 metres, her main event, but was beaten into the silver medal position. Ann had only ever run the 800 metres in training, so winning gold was a huge achievement, one that was not replicated by a British woman for another 40 years.

The year before Ann achieved her gold medal, she gained a Certificate in Education from the university's predecessor, Dartford College of Physical Education. After retiring from athletics following the Tokyo Olympics, she embarked on a career in teaching.

In 1965 Ann received an MBE and forty years later was inducted into the England Athletics Hall of Fame, which honours those who have made an outstanding contribution to the sport of athletics.

Ann will receive the honour of Honorary Bachelor of Education (HonDEd), which recognises the achievements of this former student.

Professor Jennifer Hargreaves, also a university alumnus from Dartford College, trained as a physical education teacher and began her career teaching at Beckenham Grammar School. She soon moved on to become a college and university lecturer, finding herself increasing immersed in the work of the politics of sport, identity and gender.

Professor Hargreaves became a pioneer of sports sociology, specialising in gender issues. Her texts are widely published and include seminal works such as Sporting Females: Critical Issues in the History and Sociology of Women's Sports and Heroines of Sport: the politics of difference and identity, both texts still widely refereed to on sports related university programmes today.

Jennifer will receive the honour of Honorary Doctor of Education (HonDEd) which recognises the transformative nature of her research and academic work which has influenced policy, practice and the representation of women and girls in sport around the world.

Story by Public Relations

Picture: Ann Brightwell (right) and Professor Jennifer Hargreaves (left)