British rowing champion and double Olympic Gold Medalist and international adventurer James Cracknell OBE is to speak at this year’s World Travel Market opening ceremony.
He joins the Rt. Hon. Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for the Olympics and Paralympics, who will officially open the event. The theme of the ceremony will be “Inspiring the World.”
World Travel Market at ExCeL London is the venue for a number of sporting events including boxing, fencing, judo, table tennis, taekwondo, weightlifting, wrestling, Paralympic table tennis, Paralympic judo, Paralympic powerlifting, sitting volleyball, and wheelchair fencing.
ExCeL is close to the The London Olympic Stadium, a stunning centerpiece of London 2012.
“The opening will be a powerful means of underlining the similarities of the Olympics and, in a modest way, World Travel Market,” said Reed Travel Exhibitions Chairman Fiona Jeffery.
“Both bring people closer together from across the world, breaking down cultural and geographical barriers, motivating and inspiring people to greater achievement,” she said.
Cracknell will speak about how the Olympics helped to inspire him to a number of superhuman performances.
He won his Gold Medals in the coxless fours at Sydney in 2000 and the Athens Games in 2004, famously rowing with Sir Steven Redgrave.
In 2006, he participated in an emotional BBC documentary series in which he came second in the pairs division of the Atlantic Rowing Race, partnered by television presenter Ben Fogle.
It was in the same year that Cracknell announced his decision to retire from competitive rowing.
In 2009, James turned his attention to two epic adventures, trekking 473 miles to the South Pole and swimming the Straits of Gibraltar with the UK comedian David Williams.
Last year, he participated in what is thought to be the toughest foot race on the planet, the Marathon des Sables, a six-day, 156-mile, ultra-marathon, run in the searing heat of the Moroccan desert, where temperatures rise to 49C (120F), coming in at12th place.
It was shortly after this when Cracknell received a direct hit on the back of his head from the wing-mirror of a giant fuel tanker while competing in a coast-to-coast journey across the United States, using four disciplines: cycling, running, rowing, and swimming.
He ended up in intensive care with a severe head injury – but defied doctors by recovering.
The World Travel Market VIP opening ceremony takes place at ExCeL London on Monday, November 7 at 11:30 am.