Olympic Rowing Gold and Silver medallist Mark Hunter – awarded an MBE in the 2009 New Year’s Honours List – attended Havering Sixth Form from 1994 to 1996.
Mark, who won his gold medal in the lightweight double skulls rowing event at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, and a silver medal at London 2012, went to Bower Park School before joining College.
He was introduced to the sport of rowing by his father at the age of 14, and while at Havering Sixth Form, he represented the College at the London Youth Games.
Mark studied A Levels in Media Studies, Environmental Science and PE. On leaving College he chose to fully immerse himself into the sport he loved and was determined to reach the top. In 2001 he made the important decision to change class and race as a lightweight, and he never looked back.
He won Gold in Beijing with his lightweight double sculls partner, Zac Purchase, but the pair were pipped at the post in the London 2012 Games and had to settle for silver. They were so distraught and emotional after the race that even presenter John Inverdale, who was interviewing them, shed a tear on live TV.
Experiencing such disappointment and having to pick himself back up, made Mark the perfect motivational speaker. He retired from competitive rowing in 2013 and came back to College to give students an inspirational talk at a Motivational Conference.
He gave students a presentation on his experiences and how he motivated himself to become the best in the world at his sport. He also gave advice on how to approach challenges in order to make goals become a reality.
Now retired from rowing, in 2014 he was elected as a Henley Steward of the Henley Royal Regatta and he took on a Project Management role in the City. From there he became Programme Director and then interim CEO at London Youth Rowing, a charity that introduces young people to the sport of rowing.
After years of enduring the gruelling regime of being an Olympic sportsman, since retiring from competitive racing, he has enjoyed doing different things and seeing more of his family and friends.