Sir Steve Redgrave CBE, made history in 2000 when he won his fifth Olympic Gold medal in Sydney. He is the only Olympian to have one five gold medals in an endurance sport and therefore arguably the greatest Olympian of all time. In addition Steve has won nine world championships and three Commonwealth gold medals.
Redgrave who is dyslexic left school with few qualifications but very quickly rose to become the first superstar of world rowing. He had attended Great Marlow School a Comprehensive School where his huge frame drew the attention of the Head of English, Francis Smith who coached rowing. Rowing wasn’t a popular sport at the school and of the twelve pupils who started under Francis Smith only four continued. Steve was one of this four who went on to win everything at national level and set him on course for five gold medals.
Steven earned his first gold in the 1984 Olympics rowing in the mens coxed four on Lake Casitas in Los Angeles. In 1988 in Seoul with Andy Holmes such was their dominance in the pair they added a cox and attempted an unprecedented attempt at two gold medals. They won gold and bronze. In 1992, he was diagnosed with colitis and in 1997, with type 2 diabetes. But despite the harrowing medical tests and treatments, he triumphed over any competition and collected one medal after another.
In 1991 he began his partnership with 19 year old Matthew Pinsent who arrived onto the British Rowing Team with freak physical performances. Redgrave and Pinsent crushed their competition between 1991 and 1996 leaving the other nations fighting for the minor medals. They won Olympic Golds in the 1992 Barcelona and 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Redgrave famously said on live television immediately after winning the 1996 Olympic final “if anyone ever sees him near a boat again then they were to shoot him”, such was the enormity training to win his fourth consecutive Olympic gold medal and his battle with personal health approaching these Games.
After the 1996 Olympic win the strain on the great man was obvious and coach Jurgen Groebler opted to build a mens four for the 2000 Olympics. Again with Pinsent and James Cracknell and Tim Foster they formed a four that went unbeaten for the years into Athens except that they lost in the major regatta in Lucerne immediately before the Olympics which was a major blow.
Redgrave’s health and Tim Foster putting his hand through a window added considerable pressure. A nation also awaited to see if Redgrave could win five golds in a row and become the only man in Olympic history to do so in an endurance event. The rest of the story is folklore. The four won Olympic Gold by a few feet watched by one of the UK’s largest ever audiences at almost one o’clock in the morning. Redgrave had done it, a nation rejoiced and breathed a sigh of relief.
"Steve continues to inspire new generations through his broadcasting commitments. He's become a confident and committed performer who commands enormous respect from our audiences and has great on-screen presence. Steve's is able to offer viewers real insight not just in Rowing, but more generally into the world of elite sport and the pressures of competing at the highest levels. He's been a great asset and made a huge contribution to the success of the BBC's Olympic coverage."
"Having Steve attend our final review of a year, during which our 'Going for Gold' theme had been prominent, was a fitting way to close a busy 12 months for us. The surprise element worked well for our team - the impact of welcoming such a high-profile 'golden' personality into our workplace was extremely positive. Steve's presentation was an ideal blend of personal experience matched with reflections on our business environment. The parallels that exist between the challenges faced by an Olympic gold-medallist and those of a Technology function in a Business Information company are remarkable! The effect of having Steve spend time with us, sharing his story and reliving his experiences, was inspirational and motivational. Steve engaged our audience with his warm style and winning charisma and it was great that he was able to spend time informally with our team members after the presentation. We appreciated the generosity with his time and his willingness to chat to people and join in photos."
"Tesco were delighted that Sir Steve Redgrave could make a unique contribution as a speaker at a recent launch. As our foremost Olympian he brings a reputation that is both inspiring and motivational. Sir Steve demonstrated a level of approachability and openness that helped make the event truly memorable."