Rebecca Adlington OBE

Rebecca Adlington OBE

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Olympic Swimming Champion

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Synopsis

Rebecca swam in her first Olympics in Beijing, winning golds in 400m and 800m freestyle events, breaking a World Record on the way. She became the first woman to take swimming gold for Great Britain in forty years, and the first in a century to scoop two victories at a single Games. Going on to take two bronzes in London, and World and Commonwealth 800m titles, Rebecca then retired from competition. With a burgeoning media career as well as heading programmes to train swimming teachers and ensure primary school-age children can swim, Rebecca discussed the focus, motivation and purpose she has brought to life in and out of the pool.

Biography

Rebecca made her Olympic debut in Beijing and went on to win both 400m and 800m freestyle events. It saw her become the first woman to take swimming gold for Great Britain in over forty years and the first in a century to secure two wins at a single games.

After a successful club career Rebecca joined Team GB aged nineteen and travelled to China for the 2008 Games. After her sensational double-gold win, during which she broke the World 800m record, she went on to take Commonwealth and World Aquatics 800m gold shortly afterwards. At the London 2012 Games she added to her medal tally with two bronze medals.

When Rebecca retired from competition, she combined a media career with work for charities and schemes to promote swimming and sport in general. Her Swim Stars programme aims to ensure every child in the country can swim 25m before starting secondary school, whilst Becky Adlington Training focuses on developing swimming teachers.

Rebecca is a BBC commentator and pundit covering Olympic, World and European competitions. She has also appeared on I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!, 8 Out of 10 Cats and celebrity versions of MasterChef, The Chase and Come Dine With Me.

As Great Britain’s most successful ever swimmer, Rebecca has faced her fair share of sudden and unexpected setbacks. She talks about recognising what is truly important, focusing on wellbeing, and how to find mental resilience in a time when there are so many uncontrollable factors. She is open about her mental health journey, having suffered from anxiety and panic attacks due to stress. Rebecca takes audiences through her sporting journey, reflecting on the motivation and dedication, teamwork, marginal gains, and sacrifice required to beat the best in the world. She also draws on her learnings as a business owner and how she has dealt with change.

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