David Andrew Smith MBE from Aviemore took up Paralympic Rowing in 2009 after representing Great Britain in able-bodied Karate between 1993-1999 and Bobsleigh from 2002- 2008. During this time he also worked with the British Ski Teams as a national assistant coach.
David was born with clubfoot and came close to having his right foot amputated at birth. After spending his first three years learning to walk in special boots and plaster casts, a career in Olympic sport seemed doubtful. However, that was just a hurdle he needed to get over and it was not going to hold him back.
After years of problems and missing out on the 2006 Winter Olympics by the smallest margin, a routine physio session discovered an abnormal reaction in his neck. Further tests were arranged which would lead to the discovery of a spinal cord tumour which was crushing his nerves. For 10 years he had seen many doctors, but being such a rare condition nobody had thought about it.
The surgery in May 2010 involved cutting into his spinal cord, removing three vertebrae, bypassing his voicebox and rebuilding his neck with metal cages and screws.
After his first surgery to remove the tumour he then developed a blood clot and woke up completely paralysed. He was rushed back into hospital to undergo more life-saving surgery.
During a month in hospital where he had to learning to walk again, from his bed David started his rehab using only his mind, he visualized training and spent hours a day training his mind in the belief that it would have a positive effect on the body.
After just 5 months out of hospital he was back in a boat in winter training and on skis.
14 months out of hospital David won the World Rowing Championships in the mixed coxed four, breaking the World Record for the second time, and then went on to win Gold in the mixed coxed four at Eton Dorney during the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
David is now going to undertake an astonishing challenge of being the first Paralympian to cycle around the world for charity.
As a motivational speaker, David Andrew Smith shares his life story and how he went from his hospital bed to winning a London 2012 Gold medal and then onto cycling around the world.