OLYMPIANS are on their marks in a bid to get more people into university.
As part of National Universities Week, Sunderland University chancellor Steve Cram has added his voice to the campaign.
In exclusive Talking Head films, past and present Olympic stars, including Dame Kelly Holmes and Jason Gardener, talk about the importance of time at university.
Former city student Steve said: “I’m proud to be part of Universities Week. The University of Sunderland helped formulate me as a person.
“It had a major impact on my success in my athletics career, but also in other things I’ve gone on to do.”
Other Olympic medallists featured include Allan Wells and Leon Taylor, alongside athletes and London 2012 hopefuls Perri Shakes-Drayton, Scott Moorhouse, Beth Tweddle, Kathryn Twyman and Ben Rushgrove.
The Talking Heads films demonstrate the diverse ways in which universities across the UK have engaged with London 2012.
The Sunderland Echo and Sunderland University are running the Degrees of Success campaign to encourage more Wearsiders to go to university.
It hopes to increase numbers applying for degree courses.
Nicola Dandridge, chief executive of Universities UK, said: “Universities play a fundamental role in our society in so many different ways, as demonstrated so clearly by their extensive contribution to London 2012.
“The films released for Universities Week illustrate the extent to which sporting professionals value the role universities have played in supporting their careers.
“You do not have to be a university graduate to benefit from the world-class research and facilities that our universities produce.”
Karen Rothery, chief executive officer of British Universities & Colleges Sport, said: “Sport and our universities are inextricably linked. It is the commitment to sport from both individuals and academic institutions alike which have made university contributions to London 2012 so significant.”