Giles Long MBE, Motivational Speaker, Paralympic Gold medalist Sydney 2000, Olympic Swimmer, Bone Cancer victim, Giles Long has established himself as a powerhouse of the Great Britain Paralympic Swimming Team. He is one of the most successful and well-respected Paralympic swimmers of our time. Giles’ life and career delights audiences from many countries with humour and tales of how sheer grit and teamwork can achieve the highest levels of performance. With excellent feedback every time many organisations re-book Giles for further events. Giles’ journey to elite success is very different from the typical athlete. At the age of thirteen Giles was diagnosed with cancer. The bone tumour in his arm meant that his dreams of going to the Olympics, held as a seven year old boy, were shattered. Despite the apparent end of his potential competitive able-bodied swimming career, Giles carried on swimming, finding the process of goal setting and building a team around him, in a time of rapid change, not only focussing but exhilarating. But coming to terms with his newly acquired disability was something Giles initially struggled with. The culmination of this anxiety was at a GB Paralympic training weekend when he entered a huge room full of other people with a disability. This made him realise what having cancer really meant, and he faced a decision as to whether to continue as a disabled swimmer. A chance meeting with an eminent swimming coach changed all that. In what is a very poignant part of Giles speech, Giles manages to have the audience sitting on the edge of their seat. He’ll have you crying one minute and laughing out loud the next. Giles broke his first World Record at the age of 17 and in 1996 qualified for the 100m Butterfly at the Atlanta Paralympics as the fastest man in the world. But an unexpected beating in the heats by a newcomer forced Giles to re-evaluate where his targets and goals truly lay. He left Atlanta with the gold, though only just. It was a wake-up call.

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Background

Giles Long has established himself as a powerhouse of the Great Britain Paralympic Swimming Team. He is one of the most successful and well-respected Paralympic swimmers of our time.

Giles’ life and career delights audiences from many countries with humour and tales of how sheer grit and teamwork can achieve the highest levels of performance. With excellent feedback every time many organisations re-book Giles for further events.

Giles’ journey to elite success is very different from the typical athlete. At the age of thirteen Giles was diagnosed with cancer. The bone tumour in his arm meant that his dreams of going to the Olympics, held as a seven year old boy, were shattered.

Despite the apparent end of his potential competitive able-bodied swimming career, Giles carried on swimming, finding the process of goal setting and building a team around him, in a time of rapid change, not only focussing but exhilarating. But coming to terms with his newly acquired disability was something Giles initially struggled with. The culmination of this anxiety was at a GB Paralympic training weekend when he entered a huge room full of other people with a disability. This made him realise what having cancer really meant, and he faced a decision as to whether to continue as a disabled swimmer.

A chance meeting with an eminent swimming coach changed all that. In what is a very poignant part of Giles speech, Giles manages to have the audience sitting on the edge of their seat. He’ll have you crying one minute and laughing out loud the next.

Giles broke his first World Record at the age of 17 and in 1996 qualified for the 100m Butterfly at the Atlanta Paralympics as the fastest man in the world. But an unexpected beating in the heats by a newcomer forced Giles to re-evaluate where his targets and goals truly lay. He left Atlanta with the gold, though only just. It was a wake-up call.

Areas of Expertise

The lessons learned honed Giles’ skills in change management, leadership, in teambuilding and how to create positive teamwork. Giles was able to make the hard decisions necessary to remain at the top even through low periods where stagnant performance and poor results all pointed the other way.

At the Sydney 2000 Paralympics Giles again took gold, setting a new World Record in the process. With one dream realised another had to be created. With that Giles decided to go for 3 Gold medals, from 3 Paralympics, in one event. Taking hard decisions early, driving change earlier and keeping those in his team motivated, produced a performance at the Athens Paralympics in 2004 which Giles tells as a triumph in his speech.

This fantastic performance produces reflection on an exceptional career, giving clarity of how far the extent of each individual’s team stretches, the importance of every individual as a leader, and how they can use positive change to their advantage.

These are all explicit and implicit messages that Giles passes on to the audience in an entertaining, and sometimes subtle, way that allows them to examine their own attitudes and fears, and how they can meet their own challenges.

Client Comments

“ thought provoking, entertaining and extremely well received by several hundred at JPMorgan. We strive to ensure ours is a driven and inclusive working environment, Giles’ presentation helped to remind us that we must always challenge our preconceived ideas on what is acceptable and what is
achievable. I would recommend that any organisation which is seriously committed to empowering, motivating and inspiring all their employees, should take the opportunity of listening to Giles.”

Chris Winter, Treasury Services Operations Manager, JP Morgan

“Our conference was designed to make everyone feel part of “The Team”; part of the bigger picture. Giles’ address was both motivational, highly appropriate, was perfect to conclude the day, and far done more eloquently than we could manage ourselves.”

Peter Maher, Director, Smith & Williamson Pension Consultancy

“I found Giles’ story one of the most moving yet motivational presentations I have ever seen as unlike other motivational speakers from both the business and sporting field Giles does not attempt to draw parallels with others rather deliver a story which will touch very member of the audience and illustrate success is in the hands of the beholder. The team still talk about his presentation and it is often refereed too in discussions weeks after the event, I have personally re looked at the video clip ten plus times as it really puts into perspective some of the challenges I face on a day to day basis, I would recommend Giles as an accomplished speaker for any team be they sales or administration based; even the cleaner will brim with pride afterwards.”

Frank Parsons, Head of Sales, Winterthur Life



“Giles is one of life's true achievers. His journey from cancer survivor to gold medal winner is truly inspirational, and makes him the ideal motivational speaker. When he speaks about self-development, he does so from his own, personal experience, and so his words are extremely powerful.

"Giles spoke at a Lloyd's event with people from throughout the world present. There were a range of very different cultures and beliefs represented in the room, but Giles seemed to connect with them all. He is without a doubt one of the best speakers we've ever had."

Julian James, Director, Worldwide Markets, Lloyd’s

“Giles story is not only about Olympic success, it is about adapting to overcome unbelievable odds and achieving a dream not once, but twice. Told with wit and perfect frankness, Giles offers us all an amazing and perfect model of how change can be managed and even embraced for success.”

Cliff Mumm, President, Bechtel Infrastructure Corporation

“Giles speaking is inspiring and engaging. He leads his audience through his own personal, and often emotional, battle to overcome change and drive towards World class performance - providing lessons to be learnt for all organisations....”

Andy Rubin, CEO, Pentland Brands Plc

“Giles has spoken for us now on several occasions and each time our staff leave inspired and motivated to move forward; both in their work for Visa and in their personal lives.”

Colin Grannell, Executive Vice President, Visa

“Giles’ story is inspiring; we need more of this sort of thing. He has a valuable motivational contribution to make, in terms of coping with adversity, responding to bad news and, despite everything, setting his sights on winning. We would definitely hire him again as a speaker!“

Steve Hunter, IT & Logistics Director, Accenture

“…the audience were clearly captivated by your story, you could hear a pin drop, and yet seconds later you had everyone in fits of laughter. Very entertaining, and many of the audience mentioned that you touched something inside them with your story. Thank-you Giles, and I'll certainly recommend you to other organisations looking for a speaker, who'll be a guaranteed hit.”

Iain Crighton, Director, Saab

“Thank-you so much for the wonderful speech you gave at our Transformation & Celebration conference. 95% of our feedback from delegates said that your speech was excellent and that it made a real difference to how they perceived their roles within Ascham Homes.”

Hassett Auguste, CEO, Ascham Homes



“Giles’ ability to re-align his Olympic dreams after his cancer diagnosis, to go on and win Gold at the Paralympics is the perfect example of continual change through leadership. The teamwork parallels he draws from the sport to business world are equally powerful and when told with his wicked sense of humour make for a very motivating and inspiring story. Giles is an excellent speaker and his achievements are comparable to another hero of mine, Lance Armstrong.”

Mel Goldberg, Partner, Max Bitel Greene

“Giles helped to underpin the message we wished to convey to our staff with his humorous and touching speech.”

British Olympic Association

“Giles delivered a powerfully moving talk to DBM's Senior Executive Networking Group. Delegates described his impact as 'enriching', 'energising', and 'inspiring'.

Giles provides an intervention that is ideal for any organisation or group who wish to overcome serious challenges, are about to go through significant change, or require a 'pick-me-up' after going through tough times. That just about covers everybody!”

Stuart Lindenfield, Senior Managing Consultant, DBM

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