Tuesday 29th May 2018
David Smith Confirmed to Close 2018 Conference
Having recently released the Opening Keynote Speaker for our annual Conference it seemed appropriate to share how excited we are that David Smith, 2 x World Champion & London 2012 Gold Medalist, will close the two day networking event.
David Smith is an athlete who will not be beaten. The word inspiration doesn’t even come close. David is a born winner, a force of nature who has repeatedly fought back to triumph over adversity.
A true survivor who has stared death in the face seven times throughout his incredible life and has simply refused to give in. All odds have been defied and doctors’ advice ignored in a truly extraordinary story of one man’s quest to not only live – but to win.
A life peppered with lows that would defeat the best of us and highs of which most can only dream.
David was born in Dunfermline, Scotland, in 1978, with two club feet and had repeated surgery as a baby and toddler to reset them. He was wrongly diagnosed as epileptic after fits and convulsions, which may have been early signs of the battles that would follow in later life. But David wasn’t going to let something as significant as that hold him back.
So when it was pointed out his club foot meant he could qualify as a Paralympian, he decided to bounce back, reinvent and leapt into a boat for the first time in his life and became a rower, with a fierce training regime and his eyes fixed on London 2012.
But, soon after, he was diagnosed with a large tumour in his neck. Surgery left him paralysed and his spine was rebuilt with cages and bolts – but he refused to let his Olympic dream die. Within months he finished first at the 2011 World Rowing Championships, followed by Olympic gold in London a year later.
“My Race is about staying alive; my medal is life”
Once again he reinvented himself and took up cycling with Team GB, focusing on the 2016 Olympics in Rio. But then the tumour returned- twice- requiring further surgery and leaving David severely paralysed.
Doctors told him he would never walk again and he needed to adjust to life in a wheelchair. The mental torture and realisation that his sporting life was over became his toughest battle yet. After 5 months in hospital and over a year of rehab David made it Back onto a bike and into competing again for Great Britain.
But as David says: “My love for sport, competing and winning and life itself transcends everything. I will not be beaten.”
We can’t wait to have David with us at the University of St. Andrews to close off Conference 2018.
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