This year, the Dunford Lecture, was given by Sir Steve Redgrave; five time Olympic gold medallist and Britain’s Greatest Olympian. The talk had been much anticipated by the whole school and certainly lived up to expectations. It was not only inspiring but also hugely stimulating and interesting to everyone, athlete or not.
After watching a short documentary of his achievements we listened as Redgrave recalled how he got into rowing. He took it up as an opportunity to get away from school, a strikingly humble start for such an astonishing career. His modesty was hugely apparent, especially when he questioned the success of his career since he had never achieved his original goal of winning the men’s single sculls as well as claiming that he only continued with rowing since he had nothing better to do.
Redgrave also spoke of his more recent role in sport; he recalled humorously greeting our superb athletes at Eton Dorney, the Olympic rowing venue this summer. He earned the nickname the ‘King of Hugs’ by Dara O’Briain as every British athlete who came off the water leapt into his arms because they hadn’t the energy to stand after the colossal effort they had just put in on the water.
Along with the other members of the Griffith Society, I was lucky enough to also have supper with him. Discussing professional competition with him was a once in a life time experience and one I will never forget. Ultimately, it was a fantastic evening and one of the best Dunford Lectures the school has hosted.
Georgia Statham (EL U6)