University of Bath alumna, Caroline Searle, has had her fair share of Olympic and Paralympic participation.
The European Studies graduate has had a very close relationship with the Olympics, having been involved in communicating the most famous sporting event in the world for over 24 years.
Caroline has played a part in every Commonwealth Games since 1986, every Olympic Games since 1988 and every Paralympic Games since 1992; that is not to mention three Olympic Winter Games as well.
The Bath Alumni played her first part in an international sporting event in the 1986 Commonwealth Games where she volunteered as a press officer for Team GB as part of a secondment from her work with Badminton England.
During London 2012 Caroline was press officer for the GB Olympic Rowing Team and is now chief press officer for the ParalympicsGB squad.
After graduating from Bath in 1980, Caroline started work in a bank as a graduate management trainee before leaving the security of a stable job to begin life as a freelance sports journalist and translator.
In 1992 she founded the successful Bath-based sports public relations company Matchtight. She explained what she loved so much about her job: “You have to be focussed and unsentimental when working with performance sport but that doesn’t mean to say you can’t enjoy it! Every day I wake up and feel how lucky I am to have been involved for nearly three decades in something that is so exciting.”
Caroline returned to the University in 1996 when Matchtight took over responsibility for sports management and publicity at the University.
She said: “I’m proud not only of our involvement on campus in PR and marketing terms but also in developing the bid for lottery funding we received for the Sports Training Village and the bob-skeleton push-start track.
“It’s such a bonus for sport at all levels whether you are just starting out or aiming to win gold at the Olympics or Parlaympics. I wish it had been here when I was a student! It gives the University a unique calling-card.”
Reflecting on her lengthy time served in the sports industry, Caroline looked back to when competitive sport was taken very differently.
“I remember a time when sport in this country was under-funded and under-valued. Athletes worked full or part-time and then trained after work. They represented their country but often came back from the Games with a five-figure debt. Now, the lottery has made a significant difference and we are clearly reaping the rewards.
“The Games have already been a resounding success. Lord Coe has led an extremely talented but also resourceful and organised team,” said Caroline.
“We are having one of the busiest summers we’ve ever known at the University. Twelve national teams have used our training facilities including the sports power-houses of Russia and China and now we are hosting the ParalympicGB athletes from ten sports who are preparing here for the Paralympic Games.”