“Success is a decision, not a gift,” says Olympic speaker and javelin thrower Steve Backley OBE in one of his many presentations. As a popular speaker he specialises in helping people to develop self-belief and cope with failure, understand their weaknesses, achieve maximum performance and develop a genuine passion for life.
Steve also tells audiences to thrive when faced with adversity – something he knows about only too well, having suffered performance-damaging injuries that have led to him missing out on medals on more than one occasion.
That’s not to say that Backley didn’t achieve incredible success in his career. Indeed, he collected nine gold medals and four silvers – two of the silver medals coming at consecutive Olympic Games in 1996 and 2000. The Olympic speaker’s other Olympic medal came in the 1992 games when he won a bronze, making him the only British track and field competitor to win medals at three different Olympic Games.
However, it is in the European Championships, Universiade and Commonwealth Games where Steve has excelled. Except for a silver medal at the 1998 Commonwealth Games, every time he has appeared at any of these events he has struck gold. Backley was the winner at the European Championships of 1990, 1994, 1998 and 2002. He was the best javelin thrower at the 1989 and 1991 Universiades and again at the Commonwealth Games of 1990, 1994 and 2002. To add to his impressive medal haul, Steve collected silver medals at the World Championships in 1995 and 1997. He was awarded the MBE in 1995 and the OBE in 2003, retiring from professional sport a year later, still holding the British javelin throwing record.
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