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Anna Hemmings, Britain’s leading female marathon canoeist, current World and European Champion was told by medical experts she might never race again. In 2005 however, she signalled a miraculous return to fitness by regaining her status as the World’s leading marathon canoeist at the Marathon Racing World Championships in Perth, Australia.
In 2006 she successfully defended her world title. It is her fifth gold medal in the 18 year history of the event, and her tenth World and European Championship medal, confirming her status as Britain’s most successful ever female canoeist. Anna’s achievements were recognised at the Sunday Times Sports Woman of the Year Awards, where she won the 2005 Champions Award.
Anna, 30, from Surrey, thought she would have to retire from the sport when diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in April 2003. Following a series of failed treatments Anna began to think that her hopes of competing again were ebbing further and further away. The illness left her exhausted and aching on a daily basis as well as physically fatigued after basic light exercise. However, Anna refused to give up and in September 2004, Anna learned about ‘reverse therapy’, an innovative and highly successful new treatment. By February 2005 Anna was finally able to resume training again. She then went on to win a clean sweep of National, European and World titles.
In 2005, Anna took her first World Championship title since being struck down by Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and gold in 2006 marks her continued domination of the sport.
Anna reconfirmed her status at the top of the marathon canoeing world by winning the 2006 ICF Canoe Marathon World Championships in Trémolat, France. Anna, who competed in the K1 Senior Women’s event, completed the punishing 28.95km (approximately 18 mile) course on the River Dordogne in 2 hours, 11 mins and 11 secs, an incredible 6 seconds ahead of Hungary’s Renata Csay and Portugal’s Beatriz Gomes, who finished second and third respectively. It is her fifth World gold medal, and her tenth World and European Championship medal, proving her prominence as Britain’s most successful ever female canoeist.
The victory marks the climax of yet another incredible year for Hemmings. Anna resumed full-time training last year and has since gone on to win a clean sweep of National, European and now World Championship titles for two years in a row.
The gruelling event, which included a field of 25 of the world’s leading canoeists, involved paddling four laps of 7 km plus three ‘portages’ whereby competitors leap out of their canoes and carry them over a 100m sprint across a stretch of sand before re-entering the water for the next lap. Hemmings, who was in the leading pack from the start, went for a characteristic break at the fourth and last portage, but still faced stiff competition from the Hungarian during the last lap. The final 100 metres came down to a sprint, where Hemmings impressively tore away to take gold.
Anna first broke into the top flight of the sport in 1997 when, at the age of just 20, she won the European Championship. In 1999 she successfully defended her European crown, before adding to her European successes by heroically winning the Marathon World Championships – becoming the youngest ever competitor to do so. She also became the first ever British female canoeist to win both European and World titles.
She participated in the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000 where she competed in the 500m singles discipline. The following year Anna really made her mark at the Marathon Canoeing World Championship when she became only the second person in the history of the sport to win both the singles and the doubles Marathon World titles. Anna has won a total of 8 World and European Championship medals, 6 of them being gold!
In 2001, the same year that Anna became double world champion, she graduated from Royal Holloway College, University of London with a BSC Honours degree in Economics and Management (2:1)
Areas of Expertise
• 4x World champion ( 2005, 2x 2001 and 1999)
• 2x European champion (1997 and 1999)
• Sydney 2000 Olympian (semi finalist)
• World Cup Winner 1997
• 2x World Championship silver medallist (1996 and 1998)
• World Cup silver medallist (1995)
• Junior Marathon World Cup Winner (1993)
• Junior Sprint World Cup silver medallist (1994)
• National Record holder K1 500m (1.52.46)
• 1991 Made the Great Britain Junior team for the first time,
becoming one of the youngest athletes to ever do so
• Sunday Times Sports Personality of the Year, student category
Runner up, 1998
• Surrey Athlete of the Year 1996
• Elmbridge Sports Personality of the Year 1997,1999, 2001
Anna is entertaining, direct and on target. She’s on a mission to inspire and equip people to think differently, to feel empowered, to take immediate action and to maximise results in any area of life. Anna’s story of success in the face of adversity gives people hope, strength and the understanding that anything really is possible. The audience walks away with the realisation that there are no limits and if you are just prepared to push the boundaries you can achieve beyond your imagination.
Anna’s exciting journey is not only inspiring but it also highlights the success strategies that helped her rise to the top. Anna demonstrates how these strategies can be applied to anyone in any situation – she has a great connectivity to business.
An air of believability surrounds Anna’s presentation because this is a speaker who has lived what she teaches. No other person can tell this passionate and compelling story of Anna’s true life experiences. Anna continues to compete at the highest level and so she is learning and experiencing more all the time - gathering new insights and fresh ideas to share with your people.
An engaging and captivating speaker, Anna is one of Great Britain’s sporting elite and her story of commitment, tenacity and self-belief translates well into every arena because she has the ability to interact with a wide range of individuals from school children to CEO’s of major companies. Anna is the perfect choice to provide motivation to enable individuals and companies to achieve their goals in an absorbing and entertaining way.
The same level of commitment that Anna puts into her sport is carried through into every speaking project too. She makes sure that she fully understands the audience, the company and their industry; ensuring that each event’s requirements are individually tailored for.
- Motivational speeches
- Conference Keynotes
- After dinner speeches
Thank you so very much for speaking at the DWP GOLD event last week. Your personal courage and convictions were inspirational and I wanted you to be aware of some of the feedback received from delegates.
‘Fantastic – inspiring speaker who kept us all involved in her story.’
‘Inspirational – Anna made it very relevant for us’
‘Excellent – Anna linked her own experiences to challenges we face in DWP very effectively’
‘Dramatic and motivating’
‘Very brave and inspirational’
Barbara Baker, Department for Work and Pensions, Programme Manager for DWP Gold Event
“I had the pleasure of hearing Anna Hemmings speak in February, 2004. Her stories of discipline and focus were very well presented. She was able to take examples from the very competitive world of sports and use them as great tools that could be applied to both business and personal endeavors.
I would welcome the opportunity to hear her speak again.
I highly recommend Anna to speak in front of any group—she presents her story with humor, determination and focus.”
Mary Kay Galvin, Assistant Director, Special Accounts Channel, Canon USA, Inc
“Anna’s success story is simply fascinating. Told in a unique way, Anna's uncompromising and passionate focus on achievement makes you want to get up and "Just do it" “
Mirjam Buhler Willey, Organiser of Nike Girls in Sport
“Rarely have I heard a more compelling and inspiring delivery. Her ability to connect her stories to the theme and mood of the moment is both a gift and a well developed talent.”
Andrew Pindar, Chairman of the Pindar Group
“You are excellent to work with as you are a gifted speaker – one who has no problem holding an audience in the palm of her hand.”
Mary Flavelle, Local Executive, Bracknell Chamber of Commerce
“Anyone who wants to succeed and be a winner will be motivated by Anna’s presentation. “
Trevor Souster, Nigel Quiney Publications
“Anna’s energy and enthusiasm are totally infectious, she livens up the stage, livens up the whole room and she captivates the audience. A wonderful inspiring speech that I’ll be remembering for weeks to come.”
Jill Pritchard, Director of Starlight Consulting
“Anna is truly a remarkable individual and one that any company or individual would feel motivated by. “
David Wigglesworth, Managing Director, Alphagraphics UK
“Anna was very very impressive; sufficiently so that I have booked her for an ongoing seminar that we are doing in about two months time”
Anthony Robinson, Business Development Manager, The UK Mortgage Co,
“Anna brings to her presentation an insight and awareness of elite performance that only a world champion athlete could do. Her presentation is inspirational and provides a level of focus that all can relate to in whatever it is they are doing. In Anna we have found an individual who is thoughtful and able to apply her story to real business contexts in a way that is grounded. She is a natural coach & facilitator. We would thoroughly recommend her.”
Jonathan Zneimer, Portfolio Director, Lane4 Management Group Ltd
“I wondered who the athletic young woman was sitting opposite me at a sports awards lunch three years ago and asked her what she did. In a wonderfully understated way she told me that she was a canoeist. Any good then? I asked. Not bad was the modest reply. How not bad is that then? I enquired. World champion was the answer. Not that bad at all then. Since then I got to know Anna better and better as she raced in our colours. What I hadn't realised though was her speaking ability. Asking her to say a few words to a group of customer guests at an event she took me and the audience by delightful surprise when she kept us spell bound and entertained with her stories. Rarely have I heard a more compelling and inspiring delivery. Since then Anna has been the star 'turn' at many of our employee and customer events. Her ability to connect her stories to the theme and mood of the moment is both a gift and a well developed talent. Just like her day job really.”
Professor Andrew Pindar, Chairman of the Pindar Group