Olympian Rebecca Adlington OBE is one of Great Britain’s most successful swimmers. Becoming a household name in 2008 at the Beijing Olympics, she has gone on to win 35 medals at a number of prestigious swimming events, including two gold and two bronze Olympic medals.
She has also won a World Championship gold, silver and bronze medal, a World Championship Short Course gold and silver medal, a European Championship gold, silver and bronze medal, and two Commonwealth Games gold and one bronze medal.
Now retired from competitive swimming, Rebecca has taken on a speaking career, appearing at events across the country to discuss her swimming career, what it takes to become a superstar athlete, and the impact her career had on her mental health and wellbeing. Her combination of charm and bubbly personality, plus her dedication to her sport, has made her a role model for up-and-coming female athletes across the globe.
Contact Great British Speakers today to book Olympic Superstar Swimming Rebecca Adlington OBE for your next event.
Rebecca Adlington first entered the pool at age 3, and hasn’t looked back since. She started out representing her local swimming club at elite sporting events before going professional in time for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. It was here she competed in the 400 and 800 metre freestyles, winning two gold medals, and breaking the Commonwealth record along the way. She became the first British woman to win a swimming gold since 1960 and the first British swimmer to win more than one gold medal at a single Olympic games since 1908.
The following year, the expectation on her had a detrimental effect, knocking her confidence and her performance. She swam at the World Aquatics Championships where she came home with two bronze medals. She followed this up in 2020 when she won a gold and a bronze at the European Swimming Championships, and another two bronze and two gold medals at that year’s Commonwealth Games.
In 2011 she won a gold and a silver at the World Aquatics Championships, before going on to win two bronze medals at the 2012 London Olympic Games.
In her professional career, Rebecca set a number of British and World records. In 2008 alone, she set a new British, Commonwealth, European and Olympic record in the 800 metre freestyle preliminary heats, before setting a new world record in the final race.
She is arguably one of the greatest distance swimmers in British swimming history.
Since retiring from professional swimming in 2013, she has become a familiar face at swimming events as a commentator, presenter and interviewer. She joined the BBC’s team for the 2015 World Championships, and went on to broadcast at the 2016 Rio Olympics, 2017 World Championships, 2018 European Championships, the 2019 and 2020 International Swimming League and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Over the years, she has formed a successful media partnership with Mark Foster and Helen Skelton.
Since retiring, she has also appeared as a guest star on a number of reality and panel shows including; ITV’s All Star Family Fortunes, Loose Women, The Chase and I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! BBC’s A Question of Sport and Celebrity Masterchef, and Channel 4’s Celebrity Come Dine with Me and 8 Out of 10 Cats.
Following her success at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Rebecca Adlington was awarded an OBE from the Queen for services to swimming and accepted the Laureus World Sports Awards ‘Breakthrough of the Year’ award from former Olympian, Sebastian Coe. She was also named as the Sports Journalists’ Association’s Sportswoman of the Year in 2008, an award previously won and now presented by The Princess Royal. Later that year she was voted third in the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award.
In 2009 the University of Nottingham awarded her an honorary degree as Master of Arts for her impressive contribution to British sport. The swimming centre where she began her career was renamed the ‘Rebecca Adlington Swimming Centre’ in 2010, and a number of high-speed trains and trams were named in her honour.
She is an ambassador of the Encephalitis Society, a national charity and the only resource of its kind in the world supporting people affected by the illness. In 2016, she became a Patron of Women in Sport to help support the charity’s work in transforming sport for the benefit of every woman and girl in the UK.
Following her retirement, she set up Becky Adlington’s Swim Stars – an initiative aiming to ensure every child in Britain will be able to swim at least 25 metres before they leave primary school. It is now the fastest growing high profile learn-to-swim company in the country, and it teaches over 10,000 children a week how to swim.
Rebecca is a thoroughly prepared and eloquent public speaker. Sharing the journey of her career, she talks about motivation and dedication as well as how teamwork is fundamental in achieving success in anything. She talks about what is truly important, focussing on wellbeing and how to find mental resilience when there are so many uncontrollable factors. She also draws on her learnings as a business owner and how she has had to deal with change. She is well practised in all manner of in-person and virtual events including keynotes, panels and Q&As.
– Being an Olympian
– Drive and Determination
– Being in the Spotlight
– Mental Health
Despite enviable success in the pool and a promising media and speaking career, Rebecca has not been shy about suffering from poor mental health, having experienced anxiety and panic attacks due to stress and the pressure and expectation put on her. As a speaker, she discusses how she managed to cope in high-pressure environments and provides tips and strategies for those in a stressful business environment.
Rebecca was a very welcome guest to our Annual General Meeting and spent time meeting our staff and service users before giving an interesting, inspirational and thought-provoking keynote speech. She is a lovely, down to earth person who really connected with people, and we were delighted that she was part of our AGM celebration.
Thank you so much for Friday, everyone loved your straight-talking, honest and interesting session. You understood the tone of the event perfectly and all the attendees remarked at how down-to-earth you were and lovely it was when you stayed for photos and chatted with everyone. Thanks again for all the dedication you showed, was much appreciated and the event was a real success.
Ollie, RMP Enterprise