Duncan Goodhew

Lessons in Success from one of the UK's Best Known Olympic Swimmers


Olympic Gold Medallist.

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Speaker Profile


About Duncan Goodhew


An inspirational athlete, Duncan Goodhew is keen to help others to achieve their goals and maintain a positive attitude. He is best known for winning a gold medal in the 100 metre breast stroke at the Olympic Games in Moscow in 1980. Now working with charities and as a speaker and writer, he is one of the UKs best loved athletes.

Early Potential

Goodhew was born in Marylebone, London on the 27th of May 1957. He went to a preparatory school before attending Millfield Schools in Somerset, a school renowned for its sporting provisions and successes. He has said that the fact he lost his hair at the age of ten and his dyslexia inspired him to succeed and spurred him on in his sporting career.

Swimming Success

Duncans swimming ability was evident from a young age and as an adult he became the captain of Englands swimming team.

After years of training and success in smaller competitions, Duncan first competed at the Olympics in Montreal in 1976. Though he did not win a place, the experienced prepared him for his next Olympic experiences. Duncan became a household name in 1980 due to his success at the Olympic Games in Moscow, where he won gold in the 100 metre breast stroke and bronze in the 4 x 10 metre medley relay. Due to his Olympic achievements, Duncan was awarded an MBE in 1981 for services to sport.

Although Duncan is most well-known for his swimming performances, he also competed at bobsleigh and was a member of the British team at the 1981 European Championships.

Post-Olympic Work

In 1986, Duncan was involved in founding the Swimathon campaign, which involves fundraising through swimming events. He is currently the president of the organisation, which has raised millions of pounds for charity in the years it has been taking place.

Duncan was part of a swimming relay race in support of the Myelin Project in 2001. The race began at Santa Catalina Island and finished at Santa Monica and consisted of eight teams. Each team had a member with multiple sclerosis (MS).

As someone who has achieved well in sport, Duncan is a believer that children and young people should be encouraged and enabled to play sports and to remain physically fit and healthy.
Duncan has appeared on television on a variety of programmes and in 2002 his gold medal winning Olympic performance featured as one of Channel 4s 100 Greatest Sporting Moments.

Speaking Topics


  • Staying motivated
  • Goal setting

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Books By Duncan Goodhew


  • Swimming in Action (Sport in action) (1988)
  • Fix Your Life - Now!: The six-step plan to help you fix your life (with Victoria Hislop) (2002)
  • Sink or Swim: The Self-help Book for Men Who Never Read Them (with Victoria Hislop) (2001)
  • Olympics '84: The British Challenge (1984)

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