James Cracknell is one of Britain’s most successful athletes of all time, with two Olympic Gold medals and six World Championship titles. His Olympic rowing finals - in Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004 - were epic battles, won by inches, which have gone down in history as two of the most watched sporting contests.
But it is since retiring from his 13 year international career that James has distinguished himself as a very special sportsman.
Unwilling to get a ‘proper job’ in 2005, James teamed up with TV adventurer Ben Fogle and set off in a 7m boat to race across The Atlantic. Despite their ocean-rowing inexperience, coming second was never an option for James, and after 49 torturous days at sea, the pair were first to arrive in Antigua. On their return, James and Ben wrote the critically acclaimed ‘The Crossing’ and the BBC transmitted the RTS award-winning documentary series ‘Through Hell and High Water’.
However, the Atlantic Rowing Race had also raised funds for Children in Need and at the start of 2008 James came up with the idea of pushing himself to his limits once again for charity, this time in collaboration with Sport Relief. Entirely under his own steam, James rowed The Channel; cycled down through France and Spain and finally swam The Strait of Gibraltar, accompanied by comedian David Walliams. It took him a mere ten days to cover just under 1500 miles and raise £340,000.
By the end of the year, James was ready for another challenge and it proved to be his toughest yet. In December 2008 he set off with former team-mate Ben Fogle and Dr. Ed Coats (the winner of a nationwide search) to take part in the inaugural Amundsen Omega3 South Pole Race. Suffering frost-bite, infected blisters, dramatic weight-loss, pneumonia and exhaustion, the team traversed the 473.6 miles, coming second only to a pair of Norwegian polar experts. In summer 2009, The BBC showed a 6 x 1 hour, prime-time Sunday night series of the adventure, ‘On Thin Ice’. The series was accompanied by a self-penned book of the race, ‘Race to the Pole’ (MacMillan).
In August 2009, James attempted to break the Land’s End to John O’Groats mixed tandem world record, alongside Olympian Rebecca Romero. Unfortunately the duo were stopped in their tracks in Johnstonbridge in Scotland, having cycled 500 miles in 30 hours and being well on course to the break the record, due to medical advice for Rebecca. The pair was devastated not to reach John O’Groats.
Of course, James has also managed to fit in a whole host of other physical feats: an incredible sub-three-hour marathon (2008); The London to Paris bike ride (2008); The New Zealand Coast to Coast race (2007); The Mark Webber Challenge (2006); setting a new world record for paddling The Channel on a surf-board (2005) and qualified to represent Great Britain in Triathlon competing at the 2009 European Championships for his age group.
In 2009 he also canoed the historical Devizes to Westminster race; cycled in The Tour de France's Etape, rode a rickshaw from Edinburgh to London with Ben Fogle and completed his second sub three hour marathon, this time in New York.
In 2010 James finished a phenomenal 12th in the Marathon de Sables. Most recently, he suffered a major head injury when he was thrown off his bike in America whilst filming a TV show for Discovery Channel.
James has held a ten-year post as a Daily Telegraph journalist. He was the Olympic presenter for ITV News at Ten in Bejing; hosted Channel 4’s Red Bull Air Race and ITV 1’s British Superbikes.
James’s sporting success has given him an invaluable insight into the physical and mental preparation required to perform at elite level. He is able to captivate and motivate his audience with honesty and sincerity, sharing many of the influences that have shaped his own attitude and determination to succeed.
James is in demand as an entertaining corporate speaker and is an ambassador for Adidas and BMW. He is married to television presenter and journalist Beverley Turner and has one young son Croyde and baby daughter Kiki.