Olympic champion Sally Gunnell visits Hull for the first time as part of Humber Business Week

By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 6 Jun 2018

Olympic icon Sally Gunnell OBE made her first-ever visit to Hull this week to share her inspirational story to an audience as part of the Humber Business Week.

The former track and field athlete, who famously won gold at the 1992 Olympic Games, said she had been blown away by the train journey into the city, which takes in the sights of the River Humber and the landmark Humber Bridge.

Mrs Gunnell spoke at the KCOM Stadium at The Institute of Directors (IoD) lunch, part of a series of events held on Monday, June 4 to kick off the Business Week.

Speaking exclusively to Hull Live, the former Olympic, World, European and Commonwealth champion said: “This is actually the first time I have ever been to Hull. I have a friend who lives here, and when she found out I was coming she was so excited.

“It was a lovely train journey into the city, and on the last bit along the river and past the Humber Bridge.”

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As well as speaking at high-profile events across the country, Mrs Gunnell also visits workplaces and organisations to give advice on how to improve health and wellbeing.

The audience at the IoD lunch enjoyed a long talk from the Olympic icon on her rise to the top, and the hurdles she overcame along the way.

Sally Gunnell OBE with Hull Live business reporter Phil Winter

“When I saw the list of speakers that have done this event in the past, I thought I had a tough act to follow,” Mrs Gunnell said.

“I did not start doing this until many years after I finished my athletics career. The thought of standing on a stage was just horrifying, but I want to tell my story and hopefully people can take something away from it.

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“It is all about self-belief. The final part of the jigsaw for me was self-belief, so that is what I try to pass onto other people now.”

Mrs Gunnell’s rise to the top of her 400m hurdles event was hard won.

Sally Gunnell OBE speaking in Hull

After suffering disappointment at the World Championships in 1991, the athlete stormed back to win gold at the Olympic Games in Barcelona in 1992.

She then defied the odds as she set a new world record and became world champion the following year.

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Since her retirement, she has also worked with the BBC covering athletics events around the world.

“I keep myself very busy, and my eldest son also runs now,” she told Hull Live.

“Watching him compete is so nerve-wracking. I found it much easier being out on the track doing it myself than watching someone else.

“I think it is about knowing what you want to achieve, about having that vision and self-belief, and working hard until you get to where you want to be."

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