Mark Hunter MBE
Mark Hunter is a double Olympic medalist, winning a gold medal in Beijing and a silver in London.
Mark’s rowing career started at the age of 14 at the Poplar Blackwall & District Rowing Club where, having been introduced to the sport by his father, his dream of representing his country was born and his desire to achieve Olympic glory stirred. He quickly progressed through the GB rowing ranks, representing his country in the World Junior Championships in 1995 and 1996 before going on to achieve success at the U23 World Rowing Championships from 1997 to 2000.
In 2001 Mark made the important decision to change class and race as a lightweight, and he has never looked back.
Success in the men’s four in 2004 during the World Cup series was followed by being appointed captain of the prestigious Leander Club in 2005 and a win in the double scull in 2006 World Cup. Then, in 2008, a year in which he and Zac Purchase were the only unbeaten crew in world rowing, he confirmed his status as one of the leading rowers in his class by winning an Olympic gold medal in Beijing.
Following his triumph in China, Mark took a year away from competitive rowing and spent time coaching at UCLA. Watching his athletes compete reminded Mark why he loved training and competing so much, and he returned to the UK with his eyes firmly on winning back his place in the boat. In 2010 and 2011, confirming that they were back at the top of their game, Mark and Zac won consecutive World Championships.
Mark and Zac's final race in London 2012 was one of the most gripping of the Olympic regatta and, whilst the Gold medal eluded them by a close margin, their post-race interview captured the hearts of the nation and they have been held up as examples of the Olympic spirit.
An East London local and lifelong West Ham fan, Mark is a Freeman of the River Thames and has a regular column in London’s Evening Standard. He was supported by British Airways, BMW, Capita Symonds and Anglian Windows on his journey to London 2012.
Since retiring from professional sport, Mark has taken on a number of roles, first with leading property specialists Capita Symonds and, latterly, as Programme Director at London Youth Rowing where he has worked with coaching staff as leader and mentor.
What sets Mark apart from other Olympic speakers is that, whilst he brings with him a story of success in a sporting arena and, more importantly, an awareness of what it takes to achieve it, he also brings invaluable, hands on experience from both the business and charity sectors, offering a unique perspective of how sport and business relate. Mark offers his account of his career and achievements with a humour that contrasts sharply with his vivid recollections of the moments when he wondered if he could, or should, continue chasing his dream.
He addresses the issues of leadership, teamwork and dealing with setbacks as well as the important role of mentors throughout his career - both on the receiving end of mentoring as a rower and as a mentor himself at London Youth Rowing. Mark delivers his talks with ease and charm, helping audiences learn from his experiences and take inspiration from them.
Mark did a fantastic job of bridging the key concepts related to his successful athletic career with the financial industry. My management team was highly impressed with his perspective on teamwork, focus, and goals. His is an inspiration on numerous fronts.
Olympic gold medallist Mark Hunter was a revelation and a riveting key note speaker.
I’ve met a few inspirational speakers over the years but Mark has set a new benchmark. A compelling story delivered without notes that took us on his journey through initial crushing defeat, that 4 years later became Olympic glory.