Derek enjoyed a long athletic career during the 1980s and 1990s which saw him break the British 400m record twice and challenge American dominance of the event. He was a prominent member of the Great Britain 4 x 400 metre relay squad that took gold at the 1991 World Championships in Tokyo, the 1986 European Championships in Stuttgart and the Edinburgh Commonwealth Games of the same year.
He is perhaps best remembered for an incident during the 1992 Barcelona Olympics 400m semi-final which in 2012 was voted the 3rd greatest Olympic moment in history in a poll of viewers of the US broadcaster NBC.
Tipped as one of the favourites for gold, Derek unfortunately tore a hamstring on the back straight but, full of determination, picked himself up to somehow finish the race. He and his father, Jim, who had made it through security onto the track to help, were cheered home by the Spanish crowd in incredible scenes that summed up the power of the human spirit.
The injury Derek sustained that day was worse than at first thought and, after seven operations in under two years, he was forced to retire from athletics. However, he isn’t the type of man to give in and, in resolute response to his specialist saying that he’d never represent his country again, Derek went on to play basketball for England and just miss out on an England Rugby 7s cap – to this day nobody on these isles has managed to represent their country in three separate sports!
Derek has taken up kickboxing in recent years, reaching the final of a national competition, and has thrown himself into motorcycle racing by becoming the co-owner of his own team, RG Moto, who compete in the No Limits 3 and 6 Hour Endurance Championships.
Joining the Champions Celebrity team in February 2015, Derek now draws on all of these experiences in his role as a successful motivational speaker and over the past 17 years has established himself as one of the most charismatic figures on the after dinner speaker circuit. He is a gifted and warm event host and regularly inspires children with his uplifting message at school events. Furthermore, he has built a great track record as a brand ambassador in recent years and has worked as both an athletics commentator and pundit for the BBC, NBC and Eurosport.