James Cracknell OBE is an inspiring sportsman, double Olympic gold medallist, athlete and adventurer.
Since retiring from competitive rowing in 2006, James has continued to be a household name, carrying out dangerous and gruelling challenges for the BBC and Discovery. He has also used his passion for adventure and fitness to front successful campaigns to get the nation moving. And, has provided commentary for several high-profile sporting events.
James has completed several demanding challenges since his retirement that have been documented both on screen and in his written accounts. From late 2005 to the beginning of 2006, James and his friend, Ben Fogle, completed The Race Across the Atlantic, where they placed first. The experience was documented in the BBC show Through Hell and High Water, and the pair wrote a book about the race, titled The Crossing: Conquering the Atlantic in the World’s Toughest Rowing Race.
Only two years later in 2008, James paired up with Ben Fogle again, this time alongside Dr Ed Coats, to take part in the gruelling Amundsen Omega3 South Pole Race, which they successfully completed. This adventure was also broadcast on the BBC in 5 1 hour, prime-time Sunday night programmes, and was called On Thin Ice. Again, James wrote about this experience in his book, Race to the Pole.
In 2010 he completed the Marathon des Sables, which consists of completing the equivalent of six marathons in six days. He then went on to complete the Yukon Arctic Ultra, cycling over 430 miles in the race across the frozen Alaskan countryside.
In 2010, James attempted to cross America by cycling, running, rowing and swimming from LA to New York in record time. It was during this trip that James suffered a near fatal accident after being struck from behind by a truck while cycling through Arizona. After a difficult six-month recovery period, James went to the Canadian Yukon, completing The Coldest Race on Earth. These stunning adventures transmitted as Unstoppable: The James Cracknell Trilogy on Discovery.
Following this, James’s fronted a series for Discovery; World’s Toughest Expeditions in 2012 and in 2013, James paired up with Ben Fogle yet again for the BBC documentary Ben & James Versus the Arabian Desert.
Alongside this, James also starred in ITV’s new sports-science programme Eternal Glory, in which he competed against other former athletes and sports stars, showcasing his outstanding mental and physical dedication by making the final of the competition. Additionally, James is the BBC’s commentator for Rowing, and was heavily involved in the coverage for the Rio Olympics in 2016.
James has held ambassadorial roles for brands across a wide range of industries including American Express, Renault, JML as the ambassador for Nutriblitzer and Awesome Gym, the Dove Men + Care Father’s Day campaign and campaigns for Karrimor and Biosynergy.
He is a keen marathon runner, completing many marathons for chosen charities including the London Marathon in 2015, 2016 and 2017. In 2017 he broke his marathon PB, running an impressive 2:43:12. He is due to run in the 2020 London Marathon this April.
James is leading the Policy Exchange’s work on obesity and physical activity and has been heavily involved in their report calling for sugary drinks to be taxed as part of a series of measures to combat rising levels of obesity. Following this, James appeared in The Secret Plan to Save Fat Britain: Channel 4 Dispatches.
He studied for a Masters in Philosophy at Cambridge University and whilst there was chosen by Cambridge to compete in the 2019 annual boat race. Despite officially retiring from elite rowing in 2006, he was the oldest ever competitor in the history of the race, not only taking part but subsequently winning.
James is also charity ambassador for Headway, the brain injury association.