Former Paralympians, Danny Crates and Giles Long, were recognised with Honorary Doctorates of Science from UEL’s School of Health, Sport and Bioscience at the North Greenwich Arena in London today.
Both athletes embody the drive, ambition and commitment to sporting excellence, which encompass UEL’s ambitions to be the number one university for sport in London by 2015.
After losing an arm in a traffic accident, Danny went on to win Gold in the Athens 2004 Paralympics, setting an 800-metre world record in doing so; while Giles overcame childhood cancer to become one of the UK’s most successful Paralympic swimmers.
Since retiring from professional sport in 2007, both have carved out successful careers as motivational speakers and embarked on television careers this year during Channel 4’s Paralympic coverage; Giles inventing the pioneering Lexi system for explaining the range of competitor classifications to a television audience.
Danny said: “Thank you for this award. You don’t understand how important it is for me to be receiving this honorary degree alongside Giles. We are both local lads, we are both Paralympic medallists and we both embarked on television careers for Channel 4 this year. If you had given it to one of us but not the other, believe me, you would have heard about it!”
Giles said, in reference to the Lexi system, which is considered one of the key factors that made the Paralympics such a TV hit: “Good ideas are something that the UK is a world beater at. If you have an idea, pursue it, because you never know if it might be an idea that changes the world.”
He added: “If something that I invented helped people to enjoy the London 2012 Paralympic Games, then that’s pretty cool.”
The University of East London (UEL) is a global learning community with over 28,000 students from over 120 countries world-wide. Our vision is to achieve recognition, both nationally and internationally, as a successful and inclusive regional university proud of its diversity, committed to new modes of learning which focus on students and enhance their employability, and renowned for our contribution to social, cultural and economic development, especially through our research and scholarship. We have a strong track-record in widening participation and working with industry.