A student who has juggled his studies with practising on the slopes is among the graduates who are collecting their degrees from the University of Bath this week (Thursday 5 July).
Jamie Barrow, snowboarder and recent Olympic torchbearer, will graduate with a BSc (Honours) Sports Performance degree at Bath Abbey in front of his parents who have travelled over from Switzerland to see him graduate.
Jamie, 20, has been on the British Snowboard Cross Team since the age of 15 and has competed on the FIS and Europa Cup circuit since he was 16. He came to the University knowing the challenge he would face in balancing his academic commitments with his sporting schedule.
He said: “I came to the University of Bath because it has some of the best sporting facilities in the UK and it gives the opportunity to train amongst the best in the world.
“It’s proved to be everything I hoped it would be.”
The British Youth Snowboard Cross Champion (2008) and Junior Snowboard Cross Champion (2009, 2010 and 2011) most recently had success winning the 2011 British Universities Indoor Snowboard Championships.
Jamie was born and raised in a small village in the Swiss Jura mountains after his parents moved there in 1988. Having grown up with snow all around him, Jamie learnt to ski and subsequently snowboard from a very young age.
His rapid development in snowboarding did not go unnoticed and in his first year at University he was nominated as the 2010 Santander University of Bath Sportsman Fresher of the Year.
Since 2009, Jamie has been involved with grass roots work, giving presentations in schools to inspire children to participate in sport. He works with sports charities such as RELAYS and the Youth Sport Trust/ Sky Sports Living for Sport programme and the University’s Department of Sports Development & Recreation.
Jamie is also a Lloyds TSB Local Hero and gives motivational talks to school and business audiences to inspire them to do what they love, in their working or sporting career.
He said: “It is very important to me to encourage young people to do what they love. This is why I participate in these programmes because even if just one person leaves feeling like it has helped, it was worth it. My story is particularly relevant for children with dyslexia, like myself, who have to work so much harder to achieve academically.”
As well as helping to inspire young children to chase their dreams, the 2014 Russia Winter Olympics hopeful has been doing research into snow sport start gate technique. This provides new insight for athletes and their coaches needing split-second advantage in international competition.
He said that receiving his degree after a physically and mentally tough three years will mean a lot: “Keeping up with study, training, competing and trying to find funds is like trying to live four lives.”
Having now completed his undergraduate degree, Jamie intends to concentrate full-time on training and competing during the snowboard season (December to April) in order to give himself the best chance of reaching the 2014 winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
He has two clear goals in sight. Firstly, to qualify for the 2014 Winter Olympics and secondly to set the new British snowboard speed record, and attempt to break the 100mph barrier.
Nicolas Willsmer, Jamie’s tutor and dissertation supervisor in the Department of Sports Development and Recreation, said: “Jamie began his studies at the University in 2009 and has shown tremendous dedication to developing both as a student and athlete. It has been a pleasure working with him over the last three years.
“Jamie has really demonstrated what it means to be passionate about sport, during his time at the University he has effectively combined his own training for elite snowboarding, with his studies, whilst also being involved in inspiring the next generation of athletes. I’d like to congratulate him on his achievement, and I am delighted to have played a part in his time at the University.”
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