Posted Tuesday 20 January 2015
Multi-gold winning medallist James Cracknell gave an inspirational speech at his recent visit to Kingston University – talking to students about his road to Olympic and World Championship success and the challenges he has faced since.
James had an illustrious international rowing career, winning two Olympic gold medals and six gold medals in the World Championships. He is also well known for his endurance feats. In 2006 he rowed across the Atlantic Ocean with Ben Fogal, which he says taught him a lot about how to approach challenges.
"Unlike the shorter races, when crossing the Atlantic, you can't see the end; you can't see the goal you're aiming for. So you have to set yourself mini goals, and each time you achieve one of those you start working to achieve the next one."
It was while attempting another endurance feat – cycling, swimming and rowing from Los Angeles to New York - that James was involved in an accident and received a near fatal head injury.
"I am still recovering. Brain injuries change you and the way you behave, but it has just become another challenge to overcome. Doctors have certain expectations but if we accept the limits that other people put on us, we'll never reach our full potential."
James presented this year's students on the Sports Performance Programme with their certificate and jacket, saying that the programme was a big advantage to student athletes.
"Being a student is difficult enough, let alone combining it with being an athlete. Kingston University's programme gives athletes the support they need off the field of play which is every bit as important as the support coaches give on it."
Find out more about Kingston's Sports Performance Programme.