Has it been 4 years already?!….. London2012 will be but a distant memory – now roll on Rio2016!
We are just 72 DAYS from the Olympics and Paralympics kicking off in the tropical climes of Brazil, and to say we are excited would be – well, an understatement. Now, around any games, we experience a spike in enquiries for conference speakers to talk about their own experiences – as an athlete, coach or organiser. We also experience a spike in the number of conference speakers who actually talk about a games…. But are they any good?! In a helpful JLA way, here I separate the wheat from the chaff. The champs from losers. The gold, from the…well, not gold.
My OLYMPIC AND PARALYMPIC CONFERENCE SPEAKER COUNTDOWN:
(cue Tony Blackburn voice over)
In at 5, The Organisers! The warm and engaging Linda Moir. Linda implemented a customer-service strategy, organised 15,000 Games Makers to welcome over nine million spectators. What a legacy story for a conference speaker to impart to us. Then on to Greg Nugent, a conference speaker who not only covers his time building the very brand and culture of London2012, but also topics like data and lessons from a project on this scale. Or what about Andrew Amery about security and risk.
And at 4, The Legends! (aka multiple games, multiple medals) A conference speaker who is genuinely moving and funny in the same speech, Marc Woods. Former Paralympian and now pundit who is a quadruple gold medal winning swimmer, he speaks on change, trust and determination.
Now 3, and on to The Coaches! Sir Dave Brailsford has become the stuff some legends – He has honed a list of cycling champs on his watch (lots of them great conference speakers themselves – Chris Hoy, Victoria Pendleton, Bradley Wiggins). One of the hot topics of recent times, marginal gains, is pivotal in Dave’s team, and his approach is around focus, psychology and optimising natural talent. And how can I leave out Prof. Steve Peters – one of the most fascinating conference speakers I have seen in many a year – my Chimp is now under control.
In at 2, The Younguns! New and young conference speakers who are still pretty fresh from their Olympic experiences. The likes of Nicola Adams, Rob Richardson, Ellie Simmonds, or even Greg Rutherford who will be competing at Rio! Evolving and recent stories of glory.
And topping the list, It is the Presenters! Those dedicated lot who top and tail every heat, every race and every bout. As conference speakers and presenters go, these are some of the absolute best – of course the wonderful Clare Balding and Gabby Logan, through to newer faces like Alex Brooker and Jason Mohammad. The may not bring home any medals themselves, but they are champs in our eyes.
So there you have it. So many fantastic conference speakers and presenters – just don’t ask for any of them during August or September…