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What makes successful people succeed? ponders Olympian

David HemeryDavid HemeryWhat is it that makes successful people successful? That was the question posed by Olympic athlete David Hemery CBE at the Marlborough Chamber of Commerce business breakfast last week.

Mr Hemery recalled his gold medal win in the 400m hurdles at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, setting a new world record in the process.

“On paper we (Hemery's British teammate John Sherwood won bronze) were the slowest, and the Americans should have won.

“On the podium, three things were going through my mind: relief that I hadn’t blown it; euphoria; and the question ‘why me?’

“It made me wonder, why do some people do well under pressure and others blow it?”

When his running career ended, Hemery worked as a coach in American, and it was while coaching at Boston University that he was given the chance to take a degree. For his dissertation, he interviewed people who had performed well under pressure.

“I found there are two attributes shared by high achievers,” he revealed. “They are self aware and self responsible. Someone who is aware of what to do and who takes responsibility will perform effectively.”

Today, David runs 21st Century Legacy to help to bring coaching and self-managed leadership to young people.

The intent is to inspire, engage and empower them to become more aware and responsible for their life choices, and a team of high-achieving athletes visit schools, coaching both teachers and students.

“I want young people to be the best they can be,” he said, “because that is a challenge for everyone.”

The next Marlborough Chamber of Commerce business breakfast will be held at Marlborough Golf Club from 7.30am until 9am on Wednesday, April 20. Attendance costs £9 and should be booked through Elaine Glass at Withy King via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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  • Silbury-Sunset---10-06-08-----07
  • Town-Hall-2011-05-03 08-
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  • Marlborough-2013-04-18 St Peters