As the 2016 Olympic games approaches Marketors had the pleasure of an evening with Giles Long MBE the Paralympian gold medallist, TV presenter and inventor of the Lexi system.
Giles is a three-time Paralympian Gold Medal winner and his talk was inspirational. Soon after he retired from his swimming career the Master was asked to mentor him and he has gone on to also be a successful motivational speaker and best-selling author.
He told the audience of Marketors and Brand Exchange members that as a child he loved swimming. When he was seven his enthusiasm was such that at this early age his ambition was to become an Olympic swimmer. Thus his early years were one long round of early morning training sessions.
But at the age of 13 Giles was diagnosed with cancer. The bone tumour in his right arm meant that his dreams of going to the Olympics were shattered. He had a full humeral prosthetic replacement, i.e. a ‘metal bone. But despite long periods of treatment and operations he returned to swimming.
His coach at the time encouraged him by saying if you could perform 10,000 things before the cancer and now you can only do 9,000 do not concentrate on the 1,000 you no longer can but instead concentrate on the 9,000 you still can. He then discovered competition for disabled athletes.
Giles found the process of goal setting and building a team around him, not only focussing but also exhilarating.
- He broke his first World Record at the age of 17 and in 1996 qualified for the 100m Butterfly at the Atlanta Paralympics as the fastest man in the world.
- At the Sydney 2000 Paralympics Giles again took gold in both the single 100m Butterfly and the relay.
- At the 2004 Athens Paralympics if he had won another gold he would have been the first UK athlete to win gold at three consecutive Games in the same event. Others have won more but in different events. He broke his own world record but so did two others ahead of him so he had to settle for bronze.
In 2005 he was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) and has gone on to write Changing to Win, both an autobiography and a motivational book. He has delivered over 700 motivational speeches. And he has become a popular member of the Channel 4 Paralympic presenting team using his proprietary system of Lexi graphics to explain the different levels of disability.
Giles answered a series of challenging questions from an enthralled audience and then members and guests retired to the members’ lounge where the discussions went on into the evening.
Members can read more about this event in the next edition of Marketor