With two Olympic gold medals and five World Championship titles to his name, Alex Gregory MBE is one of the leading rowers in the world.
Alex’s unprecedented success did not come easy. A string of failures and difficult times over a period of eight years took Alex to the very edge of his belief, but through determination and tenacity he came out the other side a much stronger athlete. Alex was first selected in the renowned Great British coxless four in 2009 where he and his crew went on to win his first World Championship title. A second World title in 2011 lined Alex up perfectly for the Olympic games the following year. Using the lessons learned from earlier in his career, Alex and his crew forged their way to gold on the waters of Eton Dorney on August the 4th 2012, a day that has gone down in history as ‘Super Saturday’. After this Olympic success, Alex was awarded an MBE.
Continuing to pursue his career in rowing, Alex changed boat classes in 2013 and raced in the men’s eight where he and his crew took a historic victory at the World Championships in South Korea. This was the first time a British men’s eight had ever won the World title. Adding an additional two World titles to his collection, Alex was in prime position heading to defend his Olympic title in Rio de Janeiro. Being the only remaining member of the coxless four from the winning London Olympic crew, it was Alex’s job to guide the crew to victory once again. This he and his crewmates did in fine style, surging ahead and crossing the line in the lead bringing Alex his second Olympic gold medal. Alex’s journey was not straightforward but he learnt how to perform and has become one of the most trusted, successful athletes in the sport’s history. That gold medal-winning result in Rio was Alex’s final race, but not Alex’s final row…
Alex has recently returned from a groundbreaking Arctic Expedition where he and an international crew of athletes undertook a new challenge – to row across the Arctic Ocean. Setting off from Svalbard, heading North, the crew reached the permanent ice shelf. This was the Northernmost recorded latitude ever reached by a rowing boat, after which the crew turned South and headed for Iceland. Over the next 10 days, the crew encountered whales, navigated ice floes, battled storms and large swells. In extreme conditions and with failing power supplies, the crew took refuge on the rarely visited and military occupied Norwegian Island of Jan Mayen. The expedition ended two weeks later when by chance and pure luck, a supply vessel agreed to transport the men back to the mainland of Norway.
Alex takes his audience on a journey of personal struggle that is at once frustrating, funny, emotional, and at times beyond comprehension. Why struggle for something for so long after so many setbacks? The answer lies in Alex’s enduring self-belief and desire to achieve despite everything around him telling him he couldn’t. Alex can relate to everyone and anyone, showing how we can all turn things around with the right desire and mindset. His is an inspiring story told with feeling and emotion, reflecting on how he relied on teamwork and a deep inner motivation to overcome adversity and achieve greatness.