Steve Williams, OBE is a double Olympic Gold medallist in the rowing fours in two of the most emphatic Olympic races of all time, Athens and Beijing.
In Athens 2004, along side Sir Matthew Pinsent, James Cracknell and Ed Coode, Steve had an epic battle with the Canadians, who were as determined to win as the British. After 2000 meters the British prevailed on the finish line getting their boat in front to win by the narrowest of margins, just 0.08 of a second or, as the Daily Mail reported, “the length of a Crunchie bar”.
Four years later, Steve was back to defend his Olympic title in Beijing. The final was the ultimate test for the crew to hold their form and nerve as the Australians shot out to a commanding early lead. For almost the entire race their relentless pushes made no impact until, in the dying strokes, the British “never-say-die” spirit prevailed to allow them to take a glorious Gold.
In a ten year career at the top of one of the most demanding sports Steve has also won four World Championship titles, has a trophy cabinet full of international honours and has enjoyed many other highlights including sustaining a three year unbeaten run of 27 international races.
Steve has had to win the hard way. As a proudly self-professed ‘normal guy’ he has none of the natural physical attributes an Olympic rower ‘should’ have and with more than his fair share of set-backs getting to and staying at the top has not been easy.
Steve’s Olympic dreams were almost derailed just as he started when in 2000 he missed out on selection for the British Olympic rowing team for Sydney. Going instead as a ‘travelling spare’ his job was to carry the oars and watch from the riverbank. As humbling and painful as this experience was for Steve it was also his breakthrough as it proved to be a journey of self-discovery that he has never forgotten and a critical part of his learning how to win.
Steve will join Richard for the North Pole and Everest legs of the 737 Challenge.