Alex Gregory: The Secret of Olympic Motivation
- Two time Olympic Gold medalist with five World Championship titles
- Shares lessons from his rowing career about performing well under pressure
- Takes audience on an emotional journey through the highs and lows of Olympic competition
- Demonstrates the importance of teamwork to achieving success
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With two Olympic Gold medals and five World Championship titles to his name, Alex Gregory MBE is one of the leading rowers in the world. Further to this, Alex was a member of a World first arctic rowing expedition where he and an international crew of athletes undertook a new challenge—to row across the Arctic Ocean.
Alex is an endurance athlete and motivational speaker who expertly addresses pushing oneself to the brink of human potential, reaching for audacious goals, and digging deep to find inner determination at all costs. Alex knows a thing or two about resolve; his Olympic success did not come easily. After a decade of failures and disasters, Alex was taken to the very edge of his belief, before making his way through to the other side and emerging as a world-class athlete and global champion.
It was whilst sitting on the sidelines as spare man for the Beijing Olympics in 2008, that everything changed for Alex. He was beaten, ready to leave the sport unfulfilled, unsatisfied, and broken. In his speeches, Alex describes a ‘lightbulb’ moments when several simple realisations fell into place. A new motivation, desire, and will to do what he believed he could was at that moment firmly embedded in his mind. Just twelve months later, Alex led the world to win his first of five World championship titles. In that short time, everything had changed, and confidence, consistency, and peak performance became his new norm. On August 4th 2012, on the waters of Eton Dorney, Alex and his crew forged their way to Olympic Gold on a momentous day that has gone down in history as ‘Super Saturday.’
As the only remaining member in the renowned Great British Coxless four, Alex was under enormous pressure to lead the boat to victory and ensure this incredible winning tradition continued in Rio. Drawing on all the lessons and experience he gathered over the years, Alex and his crew took GB’s fifth consecutive Olympic gold in the coxless four on the Rodrigo de Freitas lagoon right in the heart of the city. Despite the expectation and pressure to perform and win on the greatest sporting stage in the world, Alex did it for the second time in his career in what he describes as his “perfect race.”
Alex takes his audience on an emotional journey through the highs and lows of top level Olympic sport. His relaxed attitude and emotive words allows the audience to live the journey with him while developing the qualities and skill set of a double Olympic champion. Working as a member of a team to create a machine greater than the sum of its parts has been key to Alex’s continued success. In a sport where one must completely rely on and equally importantly motivate those around you, Alex is well versed in bringing a team together towards a common goal under the highest of pressure.
In 2013, Gregory was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire for services to rowing. In 2015, he was named “Olympic Athlete of the Year” at the GB Rowing Teams awards.
Alex spent a month exploring some of the coldest waters in the world while on a pioneering Arctic rowing expedition in 2017. With the desire to push his boundaries and test his mental capacity in a vastly different environment to what he was used to, Alex learnt far more about himself, team dynamics and leadership than he ever expected. An extraordinary journey discovering little seen natural wonders, exploring a rarely visited part of the globe, battling dangerous seas, immensely cold conditions eventually finishing the journey on a little known volcanic Island, Jan Mayen. The expedition was a resounding success for Alex, filled with lessons and experiences that will enthral audiences in all walks of life.
From Self-Doubt To Olympic Champion: Alex Gregory’s Inspirational Journey To Gold. Alex takes his audience on a journey of personal struggle that is at once frustrating, funny, emotional, and at times beyond comprehension. Why struggle for something for so long after so many setbacks? The answer lies in Alex’s enduring self-belief and desire to achieve despite everything around him telling him he couldn’t. Live this journey with Alex and see him come through the darkness as one of the strongest, most successful Olympic athletes of recent times. Alex can relate to everyone and anyone, showing how we can all turn things around with the right desire and mindset. His is an inspiring story told with feeling and emotion. In presentations, Alex reflects on how he relied on teamwork and a deep inner motivation to overcome adversity and achieve greatness, highlighting:
- The Importance of Setting True Goals. Everyone sets goals, but what do they really mean? Alex has a wealth of experience in understanding the difference between a goal that one will succeed in and one that will forever remain “just words.”
- Communication. Throughout Alex’s career, he has been a part of many different teams of various sizes. As one of the only activities that is done in absolute harmony yet often in silence, rowing is sometimes called ‘the ultimate team sport.’ This has given Alex an insight into working and adapting to those around him like no other. With many examples and experiences throughout his career, communication has become a key factor in his success.
- Dealing With Pressure. Alex has sat on the start line of two Olympic finals. A home Olympics where the pressure and expectation was excruciating, the second where anything but Gold would have been an abject failure. Alex talks openly and honestly about his methods of coping with and performing, without exception in these make or break, public situations.
- Prioritisation. Creating the ultimate you can only happen with intense prioritisation. Who do you want to be and why aren’t you there yet? Alex talks about how he learnt to step back, truly look at himself and become the person he needed to become in order to achieve his true goals. The journey certainly wasn’t easy, but everything about it was worthwhile.
- Developing & Maintaining Consistency. Consistency is key to performance. Over time Alex learnt this and started to understand the complexities of developing consistency every day in an Olympic cycle. This, Alex admits, is a huge contributing factor to his continued success and through once realising this, one can develop a culture of excellence within a team.
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Your presentation style is completely engaging and the humility you displayed as you spoke meant you could have held everyone’s attention for at least a few more hours, I’m sure! The effective way you brought your inspirational story of ultimate sporting success following the overcoming of many personal adversities, back to the jobs of every individual in the room, meant everyone couldn’t help but be left with a compelling feeling of personal motivation from your words. A week or so since the event, you are still being quoted continually by members of our team – a sentiment to how well your story still resonates with us all. I will be recommending you whole heartedly to all of my peers, as an external speaker who can bring significant value to any conference or team event.
Thank you so much for your very inspiring and at times, emotional talk this morning. The insights and your experience from your Olympic journey were thought provoking and funny as well as inspiring and motivating. It certainly provided excitement for the managers throughout the day and everyone I spoke to afterwards mentioned how spot on your comments were for where LeasePlan is today and the challenges we face. Given that one of our concerns was the translation of sport into business and making it real for our managers, we very much appreciate the thought and preparation you’ve put into our event.
Your style of presenting is relaxed and you build suspense well. Your use of language is potent and you set the scene very well – I’m even tempted to include a map of Lithuania (although I’d have to look that up aswell) . You mentioned that you were thinking about careers post rowing and I know you’ll be very successful if you choose to continue presenting – on TV or whatever format that takes. We’ve had some excellent responses to your session this morning and I’m sure that many will take away your messages that we can use in our business.
Alex gave us a fascinating insight into the world of rowing. His speech relayed his most invaluable lessons in perspective, consistency and overcoming adversity to achieve his lifelong goals which truly resonated with a lot of our audience in their own ways. It was great to see so many of the audience charmed by his medals that were being passed around the room!