Unless you were hiding under a stone somewhere the chances are you were watching the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games. But at London Higher our work on the Games had begun almost ten years earlier, in 2003.
In a hot committee room in Senate House, two years before the Games were awarded to London, we convened the first meeting of universities to discuss the Olympics. On the agenda that afternoon was whether London universities had anything to contribute to the Games if they ever came to London and whether or not we should support the bid. Four years – and a lot of meetings – later – London Higher, with support from HEFCE, the LSC and HEFCW, launched Podium – the Higher and Further Education Co-ordination Unit. And over the next few years Podium helped facilitate countless opportunities for London HEIs, from hosting training camps to linking academics to the world’s press. Oh, and another thing – the podiums on which every Olympian and Paralympian received their medals were designed by students at The Royal College of Art – one podium leads to another.