CEO (interim) @ London Youth Rowing
After adding a Silver medal from the London 2012 Olympics to his 2008 Beijing Olympics Gold medal, Mark put up his oars and retired from being a full time athlete. He was determined to experience something completely different and out of his comfort zone so he worked in London as a Project Manager, putting together client proposals and looking after client projects. While he valued the experience of working in the City, a new opportunity came to him that provided him with a better use of his skills.
He took the role as Programme Director at London Youth Rowing, a charity that introduces young people to the sport of rowing which can help change their perception and beliefs in what is possible for them. He currently sits as interim CEO at London Youth Rowing and is in charge of overseeing the coaching program, increasing the exposure to the charity to potential donors, and introducing the Breaking Barrier programme – putting together companies and youths in the rowing charity to learn from each other.
Mark’s rowing career started at the age of 14 at the Poplar Blackwall & District Rowing Club when he was introduced to the sport by his father.
In 2001 Mark made the important decision to change class and race as a lightweight and he never looked back.
This change of direction led him to being selected to compete at the Athens Olympic Games. This dream, however, turned to disappointment when his crew came last in their event. Returning from this, Mark was determined that his dream could become a reality and began his training regime. He was appointed captain of the prestigious Leander Club, reaffirming his role in the rowing world. In 2008 Mark and his rowing partner, Zac Purchase, were the only unbeaten crew in world rowing, sealing their status by winning GB’s first ever lightweight medal and Olympic gold in the Beijing Olympics.
Following his triumph, Mark took a year away from competitive rowing and spent time coaching at UCLA. Watching his athletes compete reminded Mark why he loved training and competing so much, so he returned to the UK to start training for London 2012. Mark and Zac showed the world that they were still a force to be reckoned with by winning gold in the 2010 and 2011 World Championships. They were on course for gold at the 2012 London Olympics, but were just beaten over the line in a dramatic finish that resulted in a Silver Medal victory.
A lifelong West Ham and San Francisco 49ers fan and always enjoys making the effort to watch live sport whenever he can. Mark is a Freeman of the River Thames and was awarded the Freedom to the City of London in 2009. Mark was also awarded an MBE in the 2009 New Year’s Honours list in recognition of his achievement, and named the “Olympic Athlete of the Year” for 2011 for the sport of rowing, receiving the British Olympic Association’s trophy at the GB Rowing Team Dinner. In 2014 he was elected as a Henley Steward of the Henley Royal Regatta which has been one of his biggest highlights since retirement as an athlete.