Pushing the limits by elite athlete Adam

Forty of our sports performance and adventure sports students gained a personal insight into the training and lifestyle of an elite athlete thanks to two presentations from Senior Team GB canoeist Adam Burgess.

Adam, one of the world’s top ten senior canoe slalom athletes, joined us for an appearance day as part of his sponsorship by UK Sport. During his inspirational and enthusiastic talks he described the commitment needed from athlete and support team, the level of training required at world class level and his hopes for the future.

The current ‘Under 23 World Champion for White Water Canoe Slalom’, Adam recalled the thrill of standing on the podium in Brazil in April 2015 to receive his title, his travels to international competitions and the amazing people who had supported him. Other major wins in his career to date have included a 3xC1M Team Gold in the Junior World Championships in France and his first senior medal – bronze at the Oceania Championships in Australia this February.

The 23 year-old, from Staffordshire, told our students how he had combined studying for a degree in sports science at Nottingham Trent University with training at the nearby National White Water Centre, and how the degree would help him in his future career outside competitive sport.

Realising that he needed a job back-up once his guaranteed funding had come to an end, he said he had realised there were skills in sport which he could adapt for business.

Based at Lee Valley White Water Centre, London, the Home of British Canoeing, Adam is currently focused on making his boat go faster by pushing the limits in ‘race real’ situations.

Attributing his success to optimising all processes, he said: “I get excited by the technical side rather than just chasing the time. The attraction of being out on the water is that conditions change every time. Winners are not always the best athletes –  you’ve got to have a good day too.”