JLA’s Octavia Rothwell talks through the best Olympic talent on offer…
As a relatively new member of the JLA team, I’m still rather in awe of some of the motivational speakers who cross our threshold on a weekly basis (see Rory’s blog post on Giles, Martin and Alastair for examples of said awe). This summer, sport has provided a fresh focus for my amazement – the feats our minds and bodies can accomplish is pretty incredible. Admittedly, there has been frustration (mainly from the losers of the office Euro sweepstake), but there’s also been much exultation – Murray’s victory at Wimbledon, and of course the triumphs of the GB Olympic team.
Katherine Grainger, Laura Trott and Jason Kenny, and Sir Chris Hoy and Sir Bradley Wiggins are just a few of the remarkable athletes who displayed their sporting prowess at Rio this summer. Watching these men and women gives me the motivation, even if not quite to attempt a triathlon, to at least put on some trainers and go exploring. Although never quite making the team at school, hanging up my flag for another four years fills me with slight nostalgia.
But it’s not over yet. Because this week marks the beginning of the Paralympics. As bold and impressive as their brothers and sisters we saw earlier this summer, these super humans embody the sheer might and perseverance of the human body and spirit. It’s not just on the track and field though that these Paralympians can motivate you to stave off hibernation; to add another string to their bows they are also incredible motivational speakers. I’ve picked a few here to whom I look for inspiration…
Marc Woods will be hosting the swimming coverage this year; losing a leg to cancer as a teenager, he became a gold medallist for swimming himself, and now talks about the courage and determination needed to push yourself when everything seems out of your control. An exceptional speaker, he demonstrates the self-motivation necessary to overcome hardship when you think all is lost.
The Paralympian Martine Wright is perhaps the ultimate example of this. Losing both legs in the 7/7 bombings, she’s displayed the utmost resilience in the face of extreme adversity. Playing volleyball as part of her rehabilitation, she went on to be part of the women’s team at London 2012. She has also learnt to ski, skydive, and pilot a plane…need I say more? She’ll be part of the team covering the Paralympics in Rio, and is a hugely motivational speaker, talking audiences through determination and diversity.
Sarah Storey is another athlete who proves it’s possible to prevail over disability. A gold medallist in swimming and cycling, she first competed when she was just 14. Having pushed herself to her limits, she speaks about what it takes to succeed and how accomplishment can be achieved through attention to the smallest of details. Rio will be Sarah’s seventh Paralympics, having first competed back in 1992. If that doesn’t make you stand up in haste from your sofa, I don’t know what will.
This is just a small handful of the awe-inspiring Olympic motivational speakers we work with. There are countless other remarkable competitors; I’ll be following the coverage with Marc and Martine, keeping my eyes peeled for more motivation for the impending winter.