Born with both feet facing backwards, David Smith spent the early years of his life having bones broken and reset in order to give him the best chance of full mobility. Despite having one permanently fused ankle, he went on to represent Britain in both Karate and then Bobsleigh. He is a two-time World Champion and 2012 Gold Medalist in various sports, and his incredible story of perseverance and adaptability in the face of repeated adversity should be a lesson to us all.
In 2010 David required life-threatening emergency surgery to remove a tumour embedded in his spine. Complications form this surgery left him temporarily paralysed, but his inexhaustible strength and conviction drove him on to a near full recovery. Not giving up on his dream of being an athlete, David retrained in adaptive rowing and after only two years of recovery went on to win a gold medal at the 2012 London Paralympic Games.
In an almost unbelievable stroke of bad luck, the tumour returned mid-2014, and more life threatening surgery was required. Now, having regained his ability to walk once more, David is planning on representing Britain at the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games in a fourth sport: cycling.
David regularly gives hugely inspirational talks at a range of event types and venues. His public speaking has been highly commended:
“One of the strongest, most moving, humbling and inspiring speeches I have ever heard.”
“The most incredible hour I have ever heard somebody speak”