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Olympic gold medallist comes to Abertay

1 June 2015

Olympic gold medallist Ben Hunt-Davis will be sharing his wisdom with Dundonians on Wednesday (3 June) when he brings his motivational talk ‘Will it make the boat go faster?’ to Abertay University.

As a rower, Ben competed in three Olympic Games and six World Championships, and was part of the mens’ eight who won gold at the Sydney Olympics – the first time Team GB had been successful in this event since 1912.

Although the odds were against them, Ben and his team achieved their goal and he now shares his Olympic-winning strategies with audiences around the world.

What worked for them was changing their approach and, in the two years leading up to the final, constantly asking themselves the question: ‘Will it make the boat go faster?’

It was by living, working and training by this question that the team became successful and – in his motivational talk – Ben explains how they did it, providing take-home messages and techniques to help individuals, teams and organisations become more effective at what they do.

The event has been organised by the Dundee Academy of Sport and, although intended mainly for sports development professionals, is relevant to anyone looking for inspiration and to develop the way they work.

Alan Clark – Project Officer at the Dundee Academy of Sport – explains why they invited Ben along:

“Ben’s achievements are pretty inspirational in and of themselves, but hearing him talk is something else: he knows a great deal about overcoming adversity and reaching what can sometimes seem like unachievable goals.

“If you watch the footage of the final from Sydney, for a long while it looks like the team are only going to come second. Even the commentators seem to have given up on them.

“But what he says they didn’t take into account was that the team had been doing things differently in the two years leading up to the event: constantly asking themselves and each other – in relation to everything they did – ‘Will it make the boat go faster?’

“This is what made it possible for them to push the Australians into second place, and this attitude and strategy is what he now uses to help businesses, sports coaches and entrepreneurs achieve their goals.

“At the Dundee Academy of Sport, one of our main aims is to develop the skills of those working in the sport and leisure industry in and around Dundee, and Ben’s talk should definitely help do that.

“Often, people get really fired up by a motivational speech while they’re sitting in the audience, but then feel at a loss when it comes to putting these ideas into practice.

“With Ben, it’s different, as he gives his audiences instantly usable techniques that can improve performance not just in sport but in all areas of work and life, so I’d encourage anyone who wants to be successful to come along and find out how to do it.”

The event begins at 6pm on Wednesday 3 June and will take place in the Main Lecture Theatre at Abertay University. Tickets are free, but booking is essential via Eventbrite.


For media enquiries please contact Kirsty Cameron T: 01382 308935 M: 07972172158 E:

Notes to Editors:

The Dundee Academy of Sport was launched in January 2014, and is a partnership between Abertay University and Dundee & Angus College.

It has three main aims:

  • to engage young people in their wider education by bringing subjects like history and maths to life through sport - either through their participation in sport or their interest in it. The intention is to widen and increase school attainment levels.
  • to further develop the region’s workforce in the sport and leisure industry by working with local communities to offer training and development opportunities for sports teachers and professionals, as well as volunteers.
  • to be Scotland’s leading provider of sports education and research by providing seamless transition from school-leaver right up to PhD level.
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