Beyond the Olympics: Chile and Oxford aim to strengthen ties

Connections made by Chilean athletes using the English university’s facilities in preparation for the Games could lead to future sporting and academic exchanges.

Gymnast Tomás González may have fallen agonizingly short of a medal in both the floor and vault events, but González and his fellow Chilean athletes are winning support that could endure long after the London 2012 Olympic Games have concluded.
Thanks to a partnership developed during the Olympics, Oxford University and Chile are hoping to create opportunities for future academic and athletic exchanges.
Chile developed a special relationship with Oxford University during the London Olympic games, as Chilean track athletes used the prestigious university as a home base for their training, and staying in Oxford student housing.
Now, both Chile and Oxford are expressing interest in continuing that partnership.
Álvaro González, head of the Chilean Athletics Foundation, described his interest in taking Oxford relations beyond the Olympics and into academics in a recent interview with BBC Radio Oxford.
«We took the opportunity to establish a link through sport and now through education, because we’re thinking beyond the Games,” said Gonzalez.
Oxford University Director of Sport John Roycroft was especially interested in coaching exchanges between Oxford and Chile.
“Ideally we’d like to marry the technical expertise that some British coaches in this area have with that mentoring ability and support structure that happens in places like Chile, and I’m very excited by that,» he told the BBC Radio Oxford.
Building on the Chile-England Relationship
Chile and England already enjoy strong ties. Many Chilean soccer stars go on to play for British teams, and England is one of the most popular study destinations for Chilean students. Several popular scholarship program in Chile provide numerous opportunities for Chileans to study abroad, and English universities are the second most chosen by Chilean students after those in the United States.
«For Chile, it [Oxford] is a special place because lots of Chileans have come here to do post-graduate studies,» González said.
The exchange is mutually beneficial, as Chile offers world-class educational opportunities for Oxford students. Chile is an international epicenter for astronomy research, and Santiago has been ranked one of the top three best places to study in South America thanks to its quality of life and educational facilities.