Sarah Stevenson MBE
4 time Olympian, Bronze Olympic medallist,3 time world champion and the most successful British Taekwondo athlete of all time. London 2012 athlete who had the honour of reading the athletes oath at the opening ceremony. A superb motivational story has highs and lows, in between success (including sponsorship by none other than Hollywood legend Jackie Chan) has come heartbreak with injuries and the tragic death in the same year of both her mum and dad, a remarkable lady.
Book Sarah Stevenson a truly Inspirational person
Sarah Stevenson MBE, Inspirational Speaker
Born in Doncaster, England in 1983, Sarah started her training at the Doncaster All Stars Taekwondo team. Her first tutor Master Gary Sykes is acknowledged as the driving force behind Sarah's success. Sarah started to make a name for herself in 1998, by becoming Junior World Champion at the tender age of 15, followed by Junior European Champion in 1999.
Sarah Stevenson qualified for the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, drawing the attention of legendary Hong Kong martial arts star and Hollywood film star Jackie Chan who sponsored her while promoting the film Shanghai Noon in the UK. As a teen she nearly took a medal in the 2000 Olympics finishing in 4th place, Sarah became World Champion in 2001, the first British World Champion ever.
Sarah has since become four times European Champion and World silver medallist in 2005. In 2004 she competed at the Athens Olympics once again performing well.
In 2008, Sarah competed in the Beijing Olympics with the extremely well documented controversy that led to Sarah being eliminated in the quarter finals after the referee failed to recognise clear points scored. The decision was later overturned but with 10 minutes to prepare, Sarah was always up against it. Even after losing this match and injuring her ankle in the process, Sarah came back to win the bronze medal, the first ever medal for GB Taekwondo and become one of the most memorable athletes from the Beijing games. It was around this period that she worked for 6 years with the famous sports psychologist Dr Steve Peters.
Consistently Competing at top level, losing parents from cancer, getting the MBE, reading athletes oath at the London 2012 Olympics at which she competed well……….and beyond
Not only has Sarah shown a consistent ability to compete at the top for a number of years, but has inspired many on and off the mat. She set up her own academy aiming to educate and train young, aspiring athletes across a range of sports. Just a further example of why Sarah is a true ambassador to Great British sport. Sarah’s most remarkable achievement came in May 2011 by becoming World Champion for the third time during a year of tragedy………….
Sadly in 2011 she lost her mum and dad, both were taken ill with cancer and both gone within months of diagnosis, it is hard for people to comprehend how difficult 2011 was for Sarah as a year.however, she did not want to focus on sadness but the strength that her parents showed and which they passed down to her. They were determined, they were courageous and they were strong together and individually. Although they lost their respective battles they were never "Beaten"
Off the mat, Sarah was awarded an MBE in 2012 for services to taekwondo and was selected by her fellow athletes to read the Athlete oath at the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics in front of a live audience of many thousands and a worldwide TV audience of millions. She also has an honorary doctorate from Sheffield Hallam University. A hot tip for the gold medal in 2012, she broke her hand at the Olympic qualifiers but still took the silver, she sadly had a career ending injury mid way through London 2012.
"Sarah's fluent speech at the inaugural "Us Girls" awards ceremony stunned and inspired the entire room. She nervelessly spoke from the heart about the emotional and physical ordeals she has suffered in her life and how she overcame unthinkable adversity to become world champion in her sport. Despite the desperately sad nature of her story, Sarah eschewed the inevitable sympathy. She is clearly so proud of her late parents that she wanted us to know how brave they were in their unbeatable battle against cancer and the role their courage played in her exceptional victory. Their spirit clearly lives on through their daughter and they would, in turn, be extremely proud of the way she continues to inspire others."
Jacqui Oatley Sports Journalist, BBC, ESPN and regular Match of the Day Commentator
It warms my heart to listen to Sarah speaking. She is genuine, natural and honest which are qualities that you simply can't buy in a speaker. Sarah rightly and unashamedly allows her personality to come through and this, coupled with her passion for the subject, is very positive and powerful. Sarah's story is uplifting, heart wrenching and a total inspiration to any audience who is lucky enough to hear it."
Jo Harrison. Performance Lifestyle Lead (North) - British Cycling
"Listening to Sarah tell her story is an exceptionally moving and inspiring experience. She talks from the heart about the tough life experiences she has been through, combining real honesty with her sense of humour as she takes you on the rollercoaster of a journey. She provides lessons and really makes you think about the way you approach life. She is always down to earth and tells it as it is! Her story and how she has learnt to cope and make choices in both life and sport will be an inspiration for any audience."
Sarah Broadhead GB Psychologist for London 2012
"Sarah is such an inspiration. She is down to earth and a brilliant motivational speaker. She has been through so much and has come out strong. She is a courageous young woman that you cant help but admire and respect. After hearing her story you will think anything is possible! All of our guests loved her. Our event was a huge success and Sarah was pivotal in that success."
Helen Crowley Us Girls Fieldworker & Knowledge Manager