James Cracknell is one of Britain’s most successful athletes of all time, with two Olympic golds and six World Championship titles. His Olympic rowing finals - in Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004 - were epic battles won by inches, that have gone down in history as two of the most watched sporting contests.
But it is since retiring from his 13 year international career that James has distinguished himself as a very special sportsman.
Unwilling to get a ‘proper job’ in 2005, James teamed up with TV adventurer Ben Fogle and set off in a 7m boat to race across the Atlantic. Despite their ocean-rowing inexperience, coming second was never an option for James, and after 49 torturous days at sea, the pair were first to arrive in Antigua. On their return, James and Ben wrote the critically acclaimed The Crossing and the BBC transmitted RTS award-winning documentary series Through Hell and High Water.
But the Atlantic Rowing Race had also raised funds for Children in Need and at the start of 2008 James came up with the idea of pushing himself to his limits once again for charity, this time in collaboration with Sport Relief. Entirely under his own steam James rowed The Channel; cycled down through France and Spain and finally swam The Straits of Gibraltar, accompanied by comedian David Walliams. It took him a mere ten days to cover just under 1500 miles and raise £340,000.
By the end of the year, he was ready for another challenge and it proved to be his toughest yet. In December 2008 he set off with former team-mate Ben Fogle and Dr. Ed Coats (the winner of a nationwide search) to take part in the inaugural Amundsen Omega3 South Pole Race. Suffering frost-bite, infected blisters, dramatic weight-loss, pneumonia and exhaustion, the team traversed the 473.6 miles, coming second only to a pair of Norwegian polar experts. The BBC showed a 6 x 1 hour, prime-time Sunday night series of the adventure in summer 2009 ‘On Thin Ice’. The show proved so popular it will be repeated in the winter. The series was accompanied by a self-penned book of the race, Race to the Pole (MacMillan).
James’ outstanding sporting achievements and challenge experiences, combined with intelligence and sense of humour make him a popular choice of corporate speaker. James speaks with an eloquent and relaxed yet informative style and offers a fresh approach to corporate speaking which is always well received. James has motivated and entertained many blue chip clients including Morgan Stanley, KPMG and GlaxoSmithKline.
James is happy to work to a client's brief and will incorporate specific messages or even tailor his existing material to highlight certain business areas, if preferred. However his standard presentation, that is naturally adapted with each individual audience in mind, is truly inspiring and he never fails to engage his audience.
Topics can include the Olympics, the Atlantic Row Race, his Sport Relief Cross Continent Challenge and the South Pole Race.
Key Points can include:
Responding to pressure.