HR & Management

Mark Foster: Olympian inspiration

2 min read

12 January 2012

He’s competed in the Olympics six times. He’s won 47 international medals. British pro-swimmer Mark Foster knows what it takes to deliver results. Here are his (gold) nuggets on staying on top of your game.

On teamwork:

“Everyone has their own role and plays their part. As a swimmer, I stand on the block on my own. But I have to have the right team behind me to perform at my best: my coach; team manager; physio; training partners; family. Teams only work when they pull together.”

On self-discipline:

“Talent alone is not enough. You need discipline. It’s no coincidence that the people who work harder achieve more! I raced and trained with many people over the years who were more talented than me – but I trained harder and wanted it more. Have realistic short-term and long-term goals and stay focused on them.”

On motivation:

“There are elements of everyone’s job that they don’t like. For me, it was the 5am starts! Diving into freezing cold water and swimming 10km isn’t fun, but I knew I had to do it to get results. The thing I love, the thing that motivates me, is representing my country and standing on top of the podium.”

On losing:

“No-one wins all the time. And that includes Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps! If you don’t have a go, you’ll never know what you’re capable of. Don’t be one of those people who says: ‘I didn’t try because I’m scared of failing’. Do your best and give it 100 per cent.”

On money:

“Money changes everyone. Sport used to be my hobby. But when it’s your career, you need to earn a living. I didn’t retire until I was 38. That’s late in the world of swimming. I agree with performance pay. The better you perform, the more you should make. We all need incentives.”