Chris Holmes London, UK
- Britain’s most successful Paralympic swimmer
- London 2012 Director of Paralympic Integration
- Sought-after motivational speaker
Chris Holmes, Baron Holmes of Richmond MBE was Director of Paralympic Integration for London 2012. Using all his political skills and strategic know-how, he famously delivered the most successful Paralympics ever. It was the same determination that had earlier helped him become Britain’s most successful Paralympic swimmer of all time. In the pool Chris won nine gold medals, achieving a record six gold medals at a single Paralympics. At those same Games, as team captain, Chris led the British team to top spot on the medal board for the first time. He won a string of World and European titles, broke 35 world records and was awarded an MBE for services to British sport at the incredibly young age of 20.
In his inspirational talks Chris describes the setbacks and the hard work as well as the victories. He talks about what it was like to go blind overnight at the age of 14. He explains how he never lost his ambition and determination to succeed and ultimately achieved dreams formed before losing his sight; to attend Cambridge University and represent his country in sport. He explains, also, how he beat the competition by facing down everything in training, embracing change and maintaining focus. A leading motivational speaker, Chris understands how to create the conditions for success. He now applies a similar approach in his leadership role, encouraging others to fulfil their own potential.
Chris has an unusual depth and breadth of experience. After retiring from competitive swimming he worked as a journalist before qualifying and working as a commercial lawyer for a leading international City practice. He was also appointed as non-Executive Director to the Disability Rights Commission and UK Sport and was an Ambassador for the successful London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic bid.
In 2013 the Prime Minister invited Chris to join his team in the House of Lords becoming Lord Holmes of Richmond. Chris brings his wide-ranging experience to bear in this role and actively relishes this new political position. His experiences navigating the ancient corridors of power with guide dog Lottie offer numerous insightful and entertaining anecdotes. He is currently working with the Digital Skills Select Committee, which was appointed in 2014 to consider information and communications technology, competitiveness, and skills in the UK.
In other roles Chris demonstrates a continuing commitment to organisations and values in which he believes passionately. As non-Executive Director for the Equality and Human Rights Commission, Chris works to improve the equality and human rights legislative framework in the UK and globally alongside the UN. Chris is a Patron of the British Armed Services charity ‘Help for Heroes’, working closely with servicemen and women returned from Iraq and Afghanistan. Chris also works as Ambassador for the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust and as a Supporter for the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme.