Former Champion Swimmer
Mark won 47 international freestyle and butterfly titles including six world titles and eleven European. He also set eight world records and competed at five Olympics before honing his punditry skills for the BBC and taking to the Strictly dancefloor. As well as lessons in preparation and focus, he has more recently opened up about his sexuality and how his reluctance to be open about being gay with colleagues and coaches may have impacted on his professional performance and general wellbeing.
One of the UK’s most successful swimmers, Mark Foster is a six time world champion, eleven time European champion and set eight world records, including holding the 50m record in both freestyle and butterfly at the same time.
Mark’s career started as a teenager instructed by his mother and he became the faster swimmer in the UK by the age of 15 when he was first selected for the British team. Five years later he claimed his first international individual medal, bronze in the Commonwealth games and started to claim world records over the following years.
Despite his success in European and World competitions, Olympic success eluded Mark. Following disagreement with the team management, Mark was not selected for the 2004 Games and he retired from competition two years later. He returned from retirement a year later, however, stating he still wanted an Olympic medal. He claimed silver in the world championships, and qualified for the Olympic team, his fifth appearance at the Games. He was the flag-bearer for the team at the opening ceremony of the Athens Games, but success in the pool didn’t follow as he narrowly failed to qualify for the 50m freestyle semi-finals.
Since retiring for the second time, Mark has become a regular on television both pool-side and away from sport. He has competed in Who Wants to be a Millionaire, The Weakest Link, and Strictly Come Dancing. Mark’s pundit role during the London 2012 Games provided an award-winning partnership with Clare Balding, and he continues to play a key role in the BBC’s Olympics, Commonwealth and World Championships coverage team.
As well as inspiring teams and individuals with his experiences from elite sport, Mark has also reflected on the role his personal life has played in his professional performance. Despite the dedication, sacrifice and achievement in the pool, it was only recently that he openly spoke about his sexuality and considered how his reluctance to be open about being gay with colleagues and coaches may have impacted on his professional performance and general wellbeing.
“Mark was great – everyone agreed it was the best and buzziest we’ve had” Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce
“SportBusiness Group has worked with a number of high profile athletes in a professional speaking capacity and would consider Mark one of the best.” Luke Upton, Conference & Event Manager, SportBusiness Group
“Mark delivered an excellent presentation and is a very pleasant and entertaining gentleman. He stayed around to chat to the guests until the early hours of the morning which was way above and beyond expectations. The feedback from the guests has been fantastic.”Richard Holden, Head of Franchising, Lloyds TSB Commercial
“Thank you for the motivational session you held with us last week. The team really enjoyed the session and the motivation vibe was great, the feedback has been tremendous, your approach hit the spot!” Prabal Gupta, Lloyds Private Banking Wealth and International
“Mark helped us launch our campaign to cut Britain’s hot water usage and was an inspiring and engaging speaker. He was very easy to work with and went the extra mile to make sure that he completely understood the campaign before the speech on the day and by using the products in his home. He made sure that all of our key messages were included in an entertaining and inter-active speech. We have no hesitation in recommending him and would love to work with him again in the future.” -Emma Healey, Energy Saving Trust
“Mark spoke at our annual conference and was a huge hit. He managed to combine inspirational messages with funny moments from Strictly and great interaction with the audience.”
Emma Bradley, Education and Special Projects Ltd
“He was most definitely lovely and very charming to meet and towards all our Macmillan professionals. He absolutely nailed his ‘personal’ opening of the awards ceremony, however, unfortunately we felt that his delivery of the auto cue was not as enthusiastic as we had hoped. Mark was brilliant though, and he mingled with the delegates and was happy to have his photo taken with everyone after the ceremony.” Macmillan
Matthew Willetts MA is the Director of Comicus who has over 35 years experience in television, film, theatre, and comedy club/cabaret entertainment, working as a performer, screenwriter, producer and agent. He lectured at Southampton Solent University in Comedy, Screenwriting, Television, Theatre & Radio. Matthew can sometimes be seen and heard on TV & Radio and often quoted in the national press and media publications. As well as speaking regularly at festivals and industry conferences, he has been a judge at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the Montreux Television Festival.
Some reviews of Mark Foster
Absolutely Brilliant !
SportBusiness Group has worked with a number of high profile athletes in a professional speaking capacity and would consider Mark one of the best