Colin Jackson CBE is without a doubt one of the greatest athletes that Great Britain has ever produced.
On the track, Colin seemed cool, calm and collected, but off the track he suffered ceaseless anxiety regarding his negative body image – he would compare himself to Linford, and so would the media, which eventually led to an eating disorder. Colin worried daily whether he was good enough and if he could live up to everyone’s expectations, despite the fact he had always been a superb athlete his sport was about individual achievement, and the immense pressure was his alone.
When Colin retired, a new anxiety took hold, now that his time had come to an end, who was he? He struggled to adapt to normal life and felt a profound sense of loss, feeling he was about to become a forgotten member of society. He found it difficult to ask for help because of the stereotype of athletes being fitter, healthier and happier. Colin is now comfortable talking about his body image and how, since retiring, he learnt to change his negative thoughts towards a healthy and positive view. He believes everyone can learn to feel less worried and cope with anxiety. Being able to be honest with people about a problem was a huge help for him on his road to recovery.
On retirement, Colin was a natural choice to become one of the key members of the BBC’s sports production team and he continues to cover all of their athletics output as a BBC pundit and presenter. Covering the Athens Olympics was obviously a highlight early in his broadcasting career and since then he has been an integral part of the BBC output for the Winter Olympics and European championships as well as most recently, London 2012.
In presentations, Colin draws from his long and successful career which epitomised the emotional ups and downs of the ultimate champion athlete. He guides audiences through the lows of his defeat at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and onto the highs of the World Championships that followed. He speaks of the lessons he learnt and how he turned his bitter defeat into renewed motivation and focus. He moves on to his steady relationship with his coach, Malcolm Arnold, his continually rising standards and consistent application in his quest for excellence. Colin discusses the importance of setting realistic goals and visualising and focusing on the end result, no matter what. All of these factors contribute to the winning formula the British public witnessed for so long and now make for truly inspiring and motivational presentations.
Thanks for sorting out Colin Jackson for our conference on Friday.He told a fantastic story with a great balance of humour, humility and emotion.Colin did a great job of relating his own personal journey into a commercial context. I am confident that many of the delegates left thinking how they could take his inspiration into their own lives and careers.
I would just like to say on behalf of the team here, and the IHG employees that attended, Colin did an outstanding presentation and was super engaging.
I hope he enjoyed his time with us, and I can’t thank him enough for his empathy and the time he shared with our colleagues. I would absolutely recommend Colin as a superb ambassador for how to be positive and how to bring it with you to share with everyone around you. His presentation echoes all that we needed for the tone and subject matter for Mental Health Awareness Week and Body Image.
Image copyright: By Ludovic Péron [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons
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