Mark Foster burst onto the international swimming scene at 16 years old, representing England at the 1986 Commonwealth Games. He went on to represent his country for 23 years and became one of Britain’s most decorated swimmers.
Throughout his remarkable sporting career, he won 47 major international medals, competed at five Olympic games, was World Champion six times, European Champion 12 times, Commonwealth Champion twice, and broke the world short course freestyle world record an impressive eight times. He was also chosen as the flag bearer for team GB at the 2008 Beijing Olympics opening ceremony.
Mark Foster Television Presenter
Since retiring from swimming, Mark has become a familiar face on television, and his award-winning partnership with Clare Balding, from the aquatics centre during the Olympics in 2012, made him a household name. Mark’s expertise and natural style saw him co-hosting the swimming World Championships in 2013 alongside Gabby Logan and Rebecca Adlington.
Mark reunited with Clare as a regular presenter on the Clare Balding Show (2015-2016) series for BT Sport. He has been a regular participant on TV shows including Countdown (1982-), Question of Sport (1970-), Celebrity MasterChef (2006-), Come Dine With Me (2005-), Through the Keyhole (1987-), Beat the Star (2008-), Superstars (1973-2012), The Weakest Link (2000-), Celebrity Juice (2008-), The Million Pound Drop (2010-2015; 2018-2019), and was on the sixth series of Strictly Come Dancing (2004-) coming 11th.
Mark Foster Charity Work
Since retiring from competitive swimming, Mark has taken on an enormous amount of charity work. He is an ambassador for Sportsaid and Pools 4 School – for which he regularly appears on BBC TV news and local radio shows, works alongside LGTBQ+ charity Stonewall and sexual health charity The Terrence Higgins Trust; he appeared on Let’s Dance for Sport Relief (2009-2017) in 2010, supported ActionAid’s PoverTee Day in 2009 by having a T-shirt painted on his torso, and became patron of the Anaphylaxis Campaign in memory of a friend who died from severe allergies. He won £10,000 for the charity through appearing on Who Wants to be a Millionaire (1998-). He has been a celebrity judge for the Miele Fashion Prize in aid of children’s charity Sparks, worked alongside British Gas to encourage people to learn to swim, supported Grey-Away Day to promote prostate cancer awareness, and has support Movember by growing facial hair every November. In 2013, Mark established the Mark Foster Swimming Academy for young swimmers aged 11-17.
Mark Foster – Public Speaking
Mark’s post-swimming career has seen him reinvent himself as a successful motivational speaker and is now one of the most popular motivational speakers on the circuit. His ability to talk to a variety of audiences about a wide range of subjects makes him a highly sought after speaker.
In 2017, Mark came out as gay and explained that he thought his sexuality would negatively impact his professional swimming career, and that is why he hid it. But since he revealed his true identity, he has become a prominent advocate for LGBTQ+ issues.