Over one third (36%) of British medal winners in the 2012 London Olympics were educated at fee-paying schools, which educate just 7% of the school population, a study by the Sutton Trust reveals.
Over half (54%) of Olympic winning rowers meanwhile were privately educated – compared with just under a third (32%) coming from state comprehensive schools, with the remainder from grammars.
The research also finds that one in ten (10%) of British Olympic winners who attended a British university went to Oxford or Cambridge, and 60% attended a selective university.
The proportion of privately educated Olympic winners (36%) is similar to that for MPs (35%), but less than leading journalists (54%) or judges (70%) according to Sutton Trust studies.
Sir Peter Lampl, Chairman of the Sutton Trust, said: “While we congratulate all our Olympic winners, this research shows that independent school students are more than 5 times over-represented amongst our medal winners relative to their proportion in the population – which is also the case at leading universities and in the professions more generally.
“This comes as no surprise as children in independent schools benefit from ample time set aside for sport, excellent sporting facilities and highly qualified coaches, while in many state schools sport is not a priority, and sadly playing fields have been sold off.”