Over the next term, HSC will be attempting to discover the identity of Hampton’s Greatest Sporting Moment, with your help. This article recounts Ollie Stanhope’s World Championship Gold medal. This will compete against three other moments in Group Seven. Vote in our Twitter poll on Friday to decide your favourite moments – the winner will progress to the quarter-final stage!
Amid Hampton’s myriad rowing medals, it’s possible that one man stands out more than most. Former First VIII rower Ollie Stanhope OH (2016) has three World Championship gold medals, won in three consecutive seasons.
Born with mild Cerebral Palsy, Stanhope is an eligible para-athlete, and partakes in adaptive rowing for Great Britain.
After leaving Hampton, Stanhope joined Great Britain’s Rowing team in 2017, and was immediately selected for the PR3 4+ boat – the PR3 classification encompasses a range of impairments, including limited range of motion in an ankle or wrist or visual deficiencies.
Along with his four teammates, Stanhope travelled to Sarahota, Florida, after being selected for the 2017 World Championships within months of joining the squad. Despite heavy competition in the form of powerful nations like the USA and Italy, GB were unmatched, storming to a 23-second victory, securing a gold medal and a World Best time in the process.
One year later, Stanhope and his crew were back in search of more glory, this time in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. Again, GB surged to a stunning win, first dominating their Heat to qualify for the final. The race for gold was a tight one: Britain were engaged in a race-long tussle with the strong American crew, but eventually pulled clear in the latter stages to win by two seconds, much to the excitement of Hampton History teacher Mr Martin Cross, who was commentating on the race.
Stanhope wasn’t done there, though, and returned to global competition in 2019 in search of a third straight World Championship gold medal. Again, there would be little match for Britain, who won their Heat and semi-final to qualify for another final.
This time, it was perhaps their strongest performance yet. Despite more stiff competition, Britain won yet another World gold, beating their American foes by 12 seconds.
Stanhope was scheduled to compete in Tokyo this summer at the 2020 Paralympic Games, but the COVID-19 crisis caused the regatta’s postponement. One would assume that Stanhope will return in 2021 as a staple of the British boat as they search for Olympic gold to add to their collection of three World Championship titles.
Few Hamptonians can claim even one global sporting title, let alone three in a row, and thus Stanhope’s World Championship triumphs can be considered a phenomenal achievement for both him and the school.
In an interview with HSC in 2018, Stanhope noted that he’d “learnt all the skills I needed at Hampton, and that was where I knew I had the ability to compete well. There were some really good rowers coming through at the same time as me: Dom Jackson, Jens Clausen, Tom Worthington. I was competing with them, so I knew that I was in the area I needed to be to qualify as a para-athlete.”
When you consider the fact that Stanhope competed as an able-bodied rower in the First VIII, and only became a para-athlete in 2017, his success becomes even more impressive. A medal at Tokyo next summer would be just reward for a celebrated international career to this point.