Chris Holmes MBE – Lord Holmes of Richmond is Britain’s most successful Paralympic swimmer ever winning 9 gold medals (6 at a single games) a string of World and European titles and broke 35 World Records.
Despite losing his sight overnight aged only 14, Chris Holmes gained straight A’s at A-level and a place at Cambridge University to read politics. While still at University, Chris won 6 gold medals at the Barcelona Games in 1992, a feat never equaled by any Briton. He went on to compete in Atlanta in 1996 and Sydney in 2000 winning a further 3 gold medals.
Chris Holmes is now a commercial lawyer at a leading City practice. He is a member of the board at UK Sport where he is heavily involved in ensuring that the performance pathway for the athletes set to compete at the London Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012 is soundly in place.
Chris is a former Disability Rights Commissioner where he served on the board, audit and legal committees for 5 and a half years.
Chris was also an ambassador to the successful London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games bid where he was closely involved in securing the top sporting prize for this Country.
Chris’ presentation takes his audience on the journey from childhood dream to sporting success, from loss of sight over night aged 14 to gold medallist and World record holder aged 20.
His story focuses on goal setting, personal leadership, performance, building and maintaining a team, and crucially, being able to react, refocus and rebuild to adapt to often traumatic change.
Within 3 months of losing his sight, Chris was back in the pool training alongside his fully sighted club mates. Only a year later he was competing at the junior European Championships in Moscow where he, by his own admission, was thoroughly beaten.
Returning from Moscow Chris refocused his goals and leading from within built a team around him to attempt to achieve a unique feat 5 years later at the Barcelona Games.
Chris’ story continually reinforces the importance of constant scrutiny and re-evaluation of oneself, personal and team goals and the need for decisive, often difficult, decisions to be taken and committed to.
Chris’ story demonstrates that though the goals can be clearly committed to at the outset, the subsequent journey is seldom straight forward. It is how we choose to react to those forks in the road which makes all the difference.
Chris’ presentation concludes with a challenge to his audience: to look inside themselves, to understand what is possible to achieve, how this will involve individual leadership, playing several parts in different teams and ultimately achieving their individual and shared potential.
Chris’ use of humour is infectious, drawing his audience into the story, enabling them to think the unthinkable, face down their fears and grasp the opportunities.
Areas of expertise:
Chris’ story is about striving for excellence as individuals, as teams. Through his experiences in sport and business he is able to fundamentally understand what it takes to motivate, to commit to a path and to deliver be this in the pool, on the shop floor or in the board room.
Chris’ career demonstrates the need to understand the need for continuous evaluation and cultural change, often against a majority committed to the status quo. He demonstrates not only that change is essential if an organisation is not to fall off the pace or fail to hit it’s targets but it is the most positive force which any individual or organisation can embrace.
Business focused messages which Chris addresses in his presentation include:
- Team Dynamics
- Goal Setting
- The Importance of the Journey
- Change Leadership, Management and Dynamics
- Addressing Adversity as Individuals and as Teams
- Relentless Positive Approach