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UCLan student shares Olympic dreams

26 July 2013

Lyndsey Boardman

Lorna brings Oceania athletes’ stories to life 

A book edited by a University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) publishing student that brought a piece of London 2012 history to life has been officially launched in two countries.

Student Lorna Hargreaves edited Oceania; An Odyssey to the Olympic Games as part of her Master degree in publishing. She was commissioned by Oceania Olympic officials to edit the book about their countries experiences during the Games.

The book brings together a collection of stories written by young journalists from the Reporters’ Academy, a charity that works with under-privileged youngsters, about athletes from several Pacific nations who overcame social and economic barriers to take part in the London 2012 Olympic Games.

The athletes from 15 countries visited UCLan and other places in the North West to train for the Games.

Lorna has already received accolade for the book from athletes and officials from the Oceania National Olympic Committees when it was launched in Fiji in April. The UK launch at UCLan celebrated Lorna’s achievement as the text is now on sale via Amazon.

The 24-year-old managed to edit the book in less than two months and even worked on it on Christmas Day to make sure she met her deadline. 

“I’m really proud of the final result and seeing my name on the cover of the book makes all of the hard work worthwhile.”

Speaking at the UK launch at UCLan’s Media Factory Lorna said: “It’s been an amazing experience and I’ve had lots of positive feedback.

“It’s taken a lot of work to weave the stories together in a narrative that captures the Olympic experiences of athletes who had to go the extra mile to make it to London.

“They came from islands that have limited facilities and suffer from a lack of funding so the athletes’ stories are unique and inspiring. I’m really proud of the final result and seeing my name on the cover of the book makes all of the hard work worthwhile.”

UCLan was an official training camp for 14 athletes in preparation for the London 2012 Olympic Games; the athletes from Fiji, Guam, Samoa and Tuvalu spent three weeks in Preston preparing for their events using the University’s multi-million pound sports facilities.

The Reporters’ Academy journalists were given exclusive behind the scenes access at the Olympics to cover the Oceania’s athletes’ progress from their North West training bases through to the Games in London.

“Taking on such a complex and high-profile book was a challenge but Lorna is a great student and rose to that challenge. UCLan Publishing is proud to be involved with this wonderful project.”

Gemma Martin, an 18-year-old student whose own stories are included in the book, said: “We were able to follow the athletes’ journey from the moment they arrived in the UK until the competed in the London 2012 Olympic Games. Having a press pass at the Games meant we gained so much experience and it’s fantastic to see this come to fruition in a published book.”

Head of UCLan Publishing Debbie Williams said: “This was such a great opportunity for Lorna. Taking on such a complex and high-profile book was a challenge but Lorna is a great student and rose to that challenge. UCLan Publishing is proud to be involved with this wonderful project.”

Oceania; An Odyssey to the Olympic Games was published by UCLan Publishing, the University’s own publishing house, which offers students the chance to work in a real publishing environment to produce commercial books for sale on the open market. The book is now on sale via Amazon.