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Sarah Winckless MBE Inspirational motivational and After Dinner speaker 

Sarah Winckless MBE  is an Olympic and World Champion medallist with over 20 years experience in high performance sport

In June 2016 Sarah Winckless MBE was appointed as Team England's chef de mission for the 2018 Commonwealth Games 

Sarah  Winckless MBE  has an impressive track record –  Chair of the British Olympic Association Athlete's Rowing Commission, LOCOG Athlete Commission Member during the London Olympics, and Rowing Commentator offers a unique and powerful perspective on how thousands of individuals from different backgrounds came together to create the perfect stage for our athletes to perform on.

A three time Olympian and Olympic medallist Sarah Winckless MBE  is also a qualified leadership coach and experienced speaker.  She has successfully transferred the passion she has showed on the  sports field to the development and motivation of teams

Sarah Winckless MBE understands the motivation and magic that a major sporting event can bring to the competitors, coaches and spectators. However as an athlete she  also understand about making the most of every opportunity that comes your way, and giving your best in every situation. She knows that the journey is sometimes a hard one, and as an athlete you learn to plot your progress in small, smart steps. Often the hardest step to take is the first one and through my talks she will challenge you to commit to your goals and have the courage to make that step.

Winner of the Helen Rollason Award for Inspiration at the 2013 Sunday Times Sports Woman of the Year Awards

Sarah Winckless MBE Inspirational motivational and After Dinner speaker

Sarah Winckless MBE Inspirational, motivational and After Dinner speaker

An Olympic and World Champion medallist with over 20 years experience in high performance sport.

Sarah  Winckless MBE  Chair of the British Olympic Association Athlete’s Rowing Commission, LOCOG Athlete Commission Member and Rowing Commentator offers a unique and powerful perspective on how thousands of individuals from different backgrounds came together to create the perfect stage for our athletes to perform on.  

In June 2016 Sarah Winckless MBE  was appointed Team England's chef de mission for the 2018 Commonwealth Games

Sarah Winckless MBE  understands the motivation and magic that a major sporting event can bring to the competitors, coaches and spectators. However as an athlete she also understands about making the most of every opportunity that comes your way, and giving your best in every situation. She knows that the journey is sometimes a hard one, and as an athlete you learn to plot your progress in small, smart steps. Often the hardest step to take is the first one and through my talks she will challenge you to commit to your goals and have the courage to make that step.

Much of the work that Sarah Winckless MBE performed was to simply allow the competing athletes to concentrate of their own performance on the biggest day of their lives. She is delighted to share the thoughts and processes that allowed the 541 Team GB athletes to come together and form the greatest team we have seen for over 100 years, and explain how 70,000 Volunteers were bought together and allowed to be at their best, whatever job they were given to do.
Sarah is happy to share her thoughts with you on how this can be used in the workplace to create an inspirational  legacy for both individuals and teams in your organisation

Sarah Winckless MBE  is also able to talk on the subject of 0ptimism Resilience and Courage and how using these values can make the most of our talents and enable you to be the best that you can be!

Going into the Athens Olympics Winckless had never won a medal at a Senior World Championships, and she and her partner Elise took calculated risk in the final to secure our Bronze medal. She followed this up with two Gold medal winning performances at the World Championships in the quadruple scull. With these results under her belt and her preparation for Beijing 2008 well on track, she suffered a career threatening injury which required a major operation. Demonstrating her resilience and determination she fought my way back to secure her Olympic selection and take her place in the Women’s eight.

Other topics include "Seeing past the brick wall"

During her early teens, her life was impacted by a change in her mother whose behaviour became strange and erratic; she was prone to mood swings and seemed to lose the natural grace of her movements. Her mother was diagnosed with Huntington’s disease.
Although now in a wheelchair and severely disabled, Sarah's mother has been an inspiration to her, fighting each step of the disease for a long as possible. In 1997 Sarah was tested and discovered that she also carries the Huntington’s gene. This means at some stage she will develop the disease. Currently well, but always facing this uncertain future, she  approaches life and its challenges with a hugely positive attitude ans is patron of the Scottish Huntington’s Association.

Sarah Wiinckless  understands that sometimes uncertainty can paralyse us, leaving us powerless to take the first steps to success but Sarah has learned to live with this uncertainty and has turned it into a motivating force. Sarah can talk about the steps and strategies she used to adopt this positive attitude.

She is able to present in a wide range of styles, including after dinner speaking, formal talks, multi media presentations and interactive physical challenges.

Sarah Winckless MBE Inspirational motivational and After Dinner  speaker

  Jason Bonnett, Terminal Duty Manager, Operations Terminal 5, BAA

"Myself and the delegates found Sarah Winkless to be interesting and engaging in her style. The teams were captivated on both events and I very much think this was down to both Sarah’s presentation style and content. The presentation combined a balance of childhood stories right through to Olympic competition and everything in-between. Throughout the presentation Sarah was able to draw comparisons between the sporting and business worlds, and how lessons learnt in sport can equally be used in the work place. I would very much like to use Sarah again particularly to help the teams give and receive feedback to each other. And finally I would have no hesitation in recommending Sarah for any future events."

Kelly Allenby, Head of 1st Line Customer Support, Technology & Processing Services, Visa Europe 

“Sarah Winckless provided an outstanding presentation at the recent ICS Forum hosted by Visa Europe in their Paddington Offices. Sarah was engaging and shared her fascinating story with humour and humility yet it was inspiring for all the attendees to hear how she had used courage and determination to achieved great success. The feedback from the audience was wholly positive and the comments showed appreciation for her honesty and openness throughout the presentation. ICS would be delighted if Sarah could speak at a future event if the opportunity arose”

England Hockey “Can you please pass on my regards to Sarah Winckless  for her talk on Monday, I found her very interesting and it was something different.”

Steve Humphries, Marketing Manager – Sports Parks and Green Spaces.  Coaching Special Olympians  

“‘Many congratulations’ on delivering a truly inspirational training workshop for both Lee and Zara yesterday. This will definitely help Lee with improving his listening and attention to detail skills. The pincer approach I’m sure will hopefully pay dividends in the near future. Both were buzzing after the session with big smiles on their faces. Once again, well done.”

Matt Ward, European Recognition Manager 

“Sarah’s enthusiasm and facilitation skills have been invaluable in helping us engage people at all levels in Telefonica O2 UK, from Customer Service Advisor to Director.

‘In group sessions, her ability to understand and communicate the needs of our business has enabled us to quickly energise people from different directorates around a common purpose or goal. 

‘Her experience as an elite athlete gives her a compelling story to tell - one which nicely illustrates some of the many similarities between the worlds of sport and business.”



Steve Mitchell, SkillsActive, Strategic Lead (NGBs and 2012 Legacy)

“Thank you again for the support and delivery yesterday – have been inundated with really positive feedback all morning. Your session went down brilliantly and I know the athletes learnt a lot”


Bexley Sports Awards January 2010
Nadine Wooldridge, Sports Development Officer, London Borough of Bexley

“It really should be me thanking you!! You made such a difference to the evening, your speech was really inspirational and I know the Sporting Best Athletes got a huge amount out of spending some time with you. It is great for them to meet people like you who have experienced the highest level of sport and really approachable and can offer some guidance. Hearing stories from you I am sure will inspire them even more to achieve their ambitions. 
Thank you so much for your time especially with the athletes after the event signing autographs etc, it really was the icing on the cake for many of them. I have had a quick look through the feedback forms and many of them say that the highlight of their whole evening was your speech!
Thank you again and I would be delighted if we are able to invite you back to Bexley in the future.”

On two separate occasions I have had the pleasure of attending presentations facilitated by Sarah Winckless. The first occasion was at the Scottish Huntington’s Association’s Family Conference in November 2008. Sarah spoke passionately about her experiences and how she has been motivated by them. Sarah engaged well with a large group who ranged from medical professionals, carers, lay persons and also those affected by genetic illness. Sarah managed to engage the varying needs of the group and kept even the most difficult persons captivated by her enthusiasm and passion. 

The second occasion when I had the enjoyment of hearing Sarah speak was when she was invited to a summer camp for young people affected by familial Huntington’s Disease (HD) in July 2009. Sarah facilitated a group discussion with over 20 young people ranging from age 12 to 24. Sarah managed the age range well and whilst she was speaking the young people were captivated by her enthusiasm, passion, resilience and honesty. I can honestly say that I have never heard a room of young people so quiet and captivated! Furthermore Sarah engaged well with the young people after the official presentation was completed and everyone who attend camp spoke of Sarah in the highest regard and are using her as their focus for staying positive and achieving life goals!

On both occasions I have found Sarah to be an incredibly enigmatic presenter who gages the needs of the group and adjusts her tempo and content accordingly. Sarah engages well with the varying needs of groups and is not fazed when asked difficult or personal questions, handling topics with the utmost care and consideration. 

Sarah is incredibly professional and a great ambassador and as such I would recommend her for speaking at your event, whether about HD, rowing, sports or any other topic such as motivation, making difficult life decisions, staying focussed etc.


Kirsten Walker   Specialist Youth Advisor   Scottish Huntington’s Association
“It has been an enormous privilege to get to know Sarah over the last year since she agreed to become Patron of the Scottish Huntington’s Association. Families that live with Huntington’s disease have taken her to their hearts and not just in Scotland, but all over the U.K. wherever she has met with them. Sarah has an enormous capacity to connect with others, to reach them in the most fundamentally human way and to touch others in a way that opens the door for them to share their hopes, their dreams and their fears. Sarah’s personal and professional story is inspirational and genuinely courageous and when she tells it, those who listen are moved and frequently impassioned to bring about changes in their own life. Yet Sarah’s feet are firmly planted on the ground and her love for her family, her humility and her openness to accepting personal moments of self doubt make her one of the most approachable and accessible individuals I have ever known.

Sarah has engaged in her role as patron of the SHA with real energy and commitment. We were amazed when she decided to fundraise this June and with her friend Victoria Wood, set herself the task of raising £10,000 in ten days. Astonishingly they actually raised £32,000. I believe this demonstrates that Sarah not only has a wonderful personality, but that she can also be an engine that propels both herself and others towards successfully achieving ambitious targets.

Perhaps the most poignant impact Sarah has had on our charity is when she attended this year’s summer camp which we run for young people whose lives have been touched by Huntington’s disease. Many of these young people have a fifty/fifty chance of inheriting the gene that causes Huntington’s disease, most live with very ill parents who already have the disease and most are young caregivers. The summer camp gives them a break away from those responsibilities and an opportunity to meet others in the same situation. Sarah shared her personal story at this year’s camp and it had a huge impact on those young people. Many spoke for the first time about issues that mattered to them. Some expressed their fear and distress and some, who were thought to be coping with the challenges they live with, revealed that they needed more support than was realized. It was a powerful and emotional day, but all of the young people I spoke with expressed how positive it had been for them. Sarah’s skill in communicating with those young people was evident and she always seemed to know just what to say to inspire, support and comfort. She truly is a gifted individual.

BOF NATIONAL OLYMPIC ACADEMY CONFERENCE Sarah Winckless was invited to present at the 2008 National Olympic Academy to 200 individuals involved in sport across a myriad of sectors including; Olympians, coaches, support staff, sponsors, administrators, lecturers and university students. 

Sarah’s ability to enthusiastically deliver and relive her Olympian moments with the audience was unique. She engaged each individual through her excellent communication skills and honed presentation skills and brought the reality of elite sport home to the group through a combination of humour and realism. Her engaging nature encouraged the audience to gain an insight into the unique make up of an Olympian and also be inspired by her determination, commitment and vision. 

Sarah not only presented effectively and efficiently she displayed all three Olympic values within her presentation style; excellence, respect and friendship and we would highly recommend her to any group of individuals or organisation hoping to motivate and inspire their team. 


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