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News > OP updates > Six of the best - OP Olympians

Six of the best - OP Olympians

As excitement mounts with the upcoming Summer Olympics in Paris, the school celebrates six OPs who have represented their country at the highest athletic level.
5 Jul 2024
Written by John Sadden
OP updates
Roger Black, Ed Leask, James Peters and Ross Morrison
Roger Black, Ed Leask, James Peters and Ross Morrison

Roger Black M.B.E.,OP (1977-84) 

During his athletics career, Roger won individual silver medals in the 400 metres sprint at both the Olympic Games and World Championships, two individual gold medals at the European Championships, and 4x400 metres relay gold medals at both the World and European Championships. Roger is now a television presenter, commentator and corporate motivational speaker, and was selected as a member of Team 2012 Ambassadors by the British Olympic Association. Roger regularly appears on television, and has appeared on Strictly and many celebrity gameshows, his latest being on The Chase in January 2024 when Roger impressed viewers with his general knowledge.  

Ed Leask O.B.E., OP (1955-65) 

In 1970, Ed won a silver medal at the International Flying Dutchman World Championships. In 1984 and 1988, he represented his country at the Los Angeles and Seoul Olympics in the Soling (three-man keelboat) competition, coming fourth on both occasions. Ed is Chairman of the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy, the 2012 Olympic sailing venue, and is a leading figure in marine sport and sports marketing. 

Ross Morrison (1990-98) (Paralympian) 

In February 1996, sixth-former Ross Morrison was taking part in a regular Wednesday afternoon rugby training session for the first team at Hilsea. But then, a freak accident – a one in a million chance – resulted in him breaking his neck. It was a serious break and Ross was sent for specialist treatment to a specialist unit at Salisbury District Hospital. He was there for seven months. Paralysed from below his arms, and confined to a wheelchair, Ross was determined to complete his A levels and returned to school. He refused to let his disability rule his life. He took part in School’s Ten Tors Expedition of 1998, finished his Duke of Edinburgh Award and won a place at Southampton University to study biochemistry. While at University he took a full part in student life, enjoying skydiving for charity. He then took up wheelchair rugby, playing for a London club in championships here, Europe and the States. Then, at the age of 20, Ross fulfilled his dream of winning a place in the Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby squad. In the 2004 paralympics in Athens he was a key member of the British team that came 4th. He also took part in Beijing in 2008 and London in 2012. Ross is now a Certified Personal Trainer and Wellbeing Advisor. 

John Hanlon OP (1919-23) 

John was selected for the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics 400m and 400m relay, but was eliminated in the first round. However, the following year at the A.A.A Championships, he triumphed in the 220 and 440 yards and was a member of the winning 4x400 yard relay team in 1932. He competed in the British Empire Games of 1930, and the following year won a silver medal in the 4x110 yard relay. John was the first ever police constable to qualify and practise as a barrister, and was the author of the Police Manual.  

Leonard Dawe J.P., OP (1902-09) 

In 1912, Leonard signed for Southampton FC, scoring on his debut appearance against Plymouth Argyle. He was a member of the Great Britain football squad for the 1912 Olympic Games but was not selected to play. He played once for the England national amateur team in the same year and made a further ten appearances for Southampton before concentrating on his teaching career. He became headmaster of The Strand School in south London and, in his spare time, was a crossword compiler for the Daily Telegraph.        

James Peters OP (2007-11) 

Among the first Team GB athletes to be announced for this year's Olympics in Paris, sailor James will be competing alongside crew mate Fynn Sterritt in the Men's Skiff (49er). It's not been an easy journey for James who was once nominated for BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year.  Despite ranking number one in the world in 2018, he and Fynn narrowly missed out on selection for Tokyo 2020 and decided to take a break from the sport.  They returned to competing in 2021 and finished sixth in the World Championships last year.  James said: 'It is a great feeling. Inevitably, straight away I’m considering how we can grab this opportunity and not leave a stone unturned in our preparation. Fynn and I believe we have a good chance to finish near the top of the fleet at the Games next summer. We’ve done it before, and the only challenge is to maximise our chances of doing it when it counts.' The school wishes him the very best of luck in Marseille. 

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