University of Stirling sports scholars heading to the Winter Olympics

Back to news
Mili Smith, Team GB curler
Curler Mili Smith, who received a sports scholarship at the University of Stirling, has been selected for Team GB.

A University of Stirling student and two recent graduates of the sports scholarship programme will leave for Beijing in the coming days after being selected to represent Team GB in curling at the Winter Olympics.

Current Sports Studies student Ross Whyte will be joined on the 5,000-mile flight to the Far East by former sports scholars Bobby Lammie and Mili Smith, who graduated in 2020 and 2021, respectively.

In addition to the sports scholars, Hailey Duff – who graduated from the University of Stirling with a Business and Finance degree in 2019 – and team skip Eve Muirhead, who was made an honorary graduate of the University in 2018, will make the trip to China.

Smith, who has been selected as alternate for the women’s team, Muirhead, and Duff are joined in the women’s team by Vicky Wright and Jen Dodds. Whyte, also alternate, and Lammie are part of the men’s team, skipped by Bruce Mouat, which also includes Grant Hardie and Hammy McMillan Jr.

Ross Whyte and Bobby Lammie, Team GB curlers

Ross Whyte, left, and Bobby Lammie, right, will join Mili Smith on the flight to Beijing.

York-born Whyte, 23, now based in Stirling, said: “It is a tremendous feeling to be selected to represent Team GB. It’s a dream come true – a really good achievement for me. I’m really excited to get out there and show what we, as a team, can do.”

Reflecting on the support received through his sports scholarship at the University of Stirling, he said: “Not only do you get the flexibility in academic studies, you receive financial benefits as well – and it all helps towards making sure you can compete, alongside doing your studies.”

Watch interviews with the athletes in the film above.

Lammie, 24, from Stranraer, who studied Sport and Exercise Science while a scholar at the University, said: “It feels great to be selected for the Winter Olympics – it’s the result of lots of years of hard work and I feel very proud of this achievement. The Winter Olympics is the pinnacle of our sport – and I’m really looking forward to getting there and feeling that pressure.

“The support from the University has been very important in the lead up to the Olympic Games. It allowed me to graduate a couple of years ago and gave me the opportunity to become a full-time curler, with a degree behind me.”

Curler Mili Smith pictured alongside Cathy Gallagher and David Bond, of the University of Stirling Sport.

Mili Smith, centre, is congratulated on her selection by Cathy Gallagher, Executive Director of Sport, and David Bond, Head of Performance Sport at the University.

Smith, from Guildtown near Perth, graduated with a BA Psychology from Stirling last year. The 23-year-old, who is the daughter of 1991 world champion David Smith, said: “It feels absolutely amazing to be selected to represent Team GB. We just want to make the most of it and do as well as we can.”

The Winter Olympics runs from Friday 4 February until Sunday 20 February. The men’s curling competition gets under way on Wednesday 9 February and the women’s on Thursday 10 February.

Cathy Gallagher, Executive Director of Sport at the University of Stirling, said: “I’m absolutely delighted for Ross, Mili and Bobby following their selection for Team GB at the Winter Olympics. We’re incredibly proud of all that they have achieved in their curling careers so far – and look forward to cheering them on over the next few weeks.

“The success of Ross, Mili and Bobby reflects the comprehensive sports scholarship that the University has in place for our high-performance athletes, as well as the effective partnerships with governing bodies, including British Curling.”

Curlers Ross Whyte and Bobby Lammie pictured alongside Cathy Gallagher and David Bond, of University of Stirling Sport

Ross Whyte, left centre, and Bobby Lammie, right centre, were wished well by Cathy Gallagher, Executive Director of Sport, and David Bond, Head of Performance Sport at the University of Stirling.

The selection comes just months after six University of Stirling athletes travelled to last summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo – returning with five medals. Duncan Scott made history by winning a record four medals to become the most successful British Olympian at a single Games, while fellow Stirling swimmer Kathleen Dawson won gold in the Mixed 4x100m Medley Relay. Both athletes were made Members of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the New Year Honours list, in recognition of their success.

The Team GB swim team in Tokyo also included Stirling’s Ross Murdoch, Aimee Willmott and Cassie Wild, while fellow sports scholar Gabriella Wood became the first woman – and second person ever – to represent Trinidad and Tobago in judo at the Olympics. Stirling student Ben Rowlings also competed in Japan – representing Team GB in wheelchair racing at the Paralympics.

The University of Stirling is Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence, and its performance programmes offer world-class coaching, training, competition, and funding support to athletes – enabling them to excel in their sport while studying.

You may also be interested in