British Athletics Legend, Linford Christie OBE was the guest speaker at the recent Herts Sports and Physical Activity Partnership’s Annual Partners’ Forum, held at the University of Hertfordshire.

Christie – the only British man to have won gold medals in the 100m at all 4 major competitions, open to British athletes -  the Olympic Games, the World Championships, the European Championships, and the Commonwealth Games – spoke of his journey from grassroots sport to the Olympic podium and wowed the packed audience with an insightful and informative overview of what it takes to reach the very top in one’s chosen sport.

Now aged 59, Britain’s fastest ever sprinter recalled his time working at the tax office and in the accounts department of the Co-op as a young aspiring athlete. He had not taken up running seriously until he was 24, when he decided to go full time without any sponsor – having failed to make the Great Britain Team for the 1984 Olympics.

Recalling his hugely successful track career Christie said:

“I wasn’t the quickest in the world, but I made the other competitors believe that I was.”

The Annual Partners’ Forum, also celebrated the achievements of the Herts Sports and Physical Activity Partnership over the past 12 months, including the highest rated external Quest assessment and its award-winning Fit, Fed and Read programme, which has recently attracted £497,000 from the National Lottery Community Fund.

In reflecting on the event, HSP Partnership Director, John O’Callaghan said:

“We were delighted to welcome Linford Christie to our annual event. What he managed to achieve in such a stellar international athletics career is nothing short of brilliant, but it was also great to hear first-hand of his early life struggles and modest introduction to the sport, where he would eventually excel.

To hear him thank those selfless volunteers that gave his early career a leg up and who had helped him to believe in what was obviously huge innate ability, was heart-warming, and his frank, informed and humorous interaction with our partners and stakeholders went down a storm.

It is not every day that you get to meet a true sporting legend and we are indebted to our event partners, Everyone Active, for organising Linford’s visit. That he was able to join us to celebrate some of our achievements over the past 12 months was simply wonderful.”