June 2011

Taking Achievement to New Heights

Steve Williams OBE, a friend of the gallery and subject of a recent sculpture by artist Ben Dearnley popped into the gallery earlier this year before flying off for the trip of a lifetime…

Since retiring from professional rowing double Olympic Gold medallist Steve Williams found himself a new challenge and as with his rowing he exceeded all expectations. On 25th May 2011, 5.25 am (UK time) Steve Williams reached the summit of Everest, close behind his travelling companion: Richard Parks, who was marking his fifth summit.

Parks is currently working towards a record breaking 737 challenge to stand on the seven highest summits of the world, including the North and South poles to raise £1million for Marie Curie Cancer. Steve Williams’ joined Parks on the 737 Challenge for the North Pole and Everest Legs and just over a month both men have succeeded in reaching the Geographical North Pole and the summit of Everest. For William’s it has been a test of endurance and stamina not unlike his races as part of the men’s coxless four. But how did mounting Everest compare to winning gold in Beijing?

Williams’ explained: “It’s impossible to compare, it was really special, but I don’t know how to compare it to the Olympics, for a starters rowing at the Olympics you share it with 4 other guys, the 3 guys and the coach, it’s very much a shared experience, you couldn’t do it without the guys, of course Rich and I were working as a team throughout the North Pole and Everest but it’s very different just standing there on the summit with just you and your Sherpa, you get on well with your Sherpa and you have to, but he only speaks a little English so that is one way it is very different to the Olympics.”

Ben Dearnley’s sculpture: a bronze bust of Steve Williams can be seen in the Terminal 5 Expo Art Gallery. The sculptor has gone on to create a bust of Paralympic gold medallist Oscar Pistorius and is currently working on a magnificent life-size sculpture of swimmer Mark Foster.

Congratulations to both Steve Williams and Richard Parks for their amazing achievement.Image

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