Chris Holmes (swimmer)
Christopher Holmes, Baron Holmes of Richmond, MBE (born 15 October 1971) is a British former swimmer and life peer in the House of Lords. He won a total of nine gold, five silver, and one bronze medal at the Paralympic Games. Holmes represented Great Britain at four Paralympic Games between 1988 and 2000 and is the only British Paralympic swimmer to win six gold medals at a single Games. After retiring from swimming he worked as a journalist and solicitor. He was Director of Paralympic Integration for the London Olympics and it was announced that he would be elevated to the House of Lords in August 2013, as a Conservative Party Peer.
Early Life and education
Holmes was born in Peterborough on 15 October 1971, his family moved to Kidderminster when he was three. He attended Harry Cheshire Comprehensive School, Kidderminster. He went on to attend Kings College, Cambridge graduating first with an undergraduate degree in Social and Political Sciences and then in 1998 with an MA (Cantab). In 2001 he gained a post graduate diploma in law (PGDL) at BPP Law School and in 2002 he completed the Legal Practice Course.
Holmes was already a good swimmer with the goal of representing his country, when he became blind as a teenager due to Familial exudative vitreoretinopathy, a genetic eye disorder. He joined a Birmingham club where he committed to the same training regime as other sighted swimmers aspiring to the Olympics. Chris was a member of the Great Britain swimming team from 1985-2002 and Captain for 5 years. He qualified for the Seoul 1988 Paralympic Games, where he won two silver medals and a bronze. At the Barcelona 1992 Paralympics, four years later, he gathered a record six gold medals, and a silver. He went on to take another three gold medals and a silver at Atlanta in 1996 and finally one more silver at Sydney in 2000. He is often described as "one of Britain's greatest Paralympians". He also became a Paralympic activist, in particular drawing attention to the issues of equal accommodations and facilities for Paralympic athletes. In addition to the Games Chris swam at 2 World Championships and 7 European Championships, held 7 world records, 10 European records and 12 GB records.
Holmes has been involved with various UK Sports Bodies. He was a Member of the Implementation Board for the UK Sports Institute, from 1999-2000, seeking to build a world class sports institute to rival that of Australia. From 2001-2004 he sat on the UK Sport Awards Panel, responsible for the funding of elite Olympic and Paralympic athletes. From 2005-2013 he was a member of the Board of UK Sport, responsible for the funding for the Olympic and Paralympic athletes set to compete at the London 2012 Games. Holmes chaired the Audit and Risk Committee for seven years. He was also a member of the Mission 2012 Panel. Holmes was also an Ambassador to London 2012 Olympic Bid 2003-2005.
From 2002 Holmes was a Commissioner for the Disability Rights Commission where he also sat on the Legal Committee and Audit Committee. Key legal successes included the Ross V Ryan Air Court of Appeal Decision, Roads V Central Trains and Archibald V Fife Council.
Between 2002-2009 Holmes worked as a Solicitor specializing in commercial, employment and pensions law at Ashurst, London.
In August 2009, he was named the Director of Paralympic Integration for the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics in London. In 2012 the UK delivered the largest Paralympics ever, including more athletes from more nations competing, highest ticket sales and the most extensive media coverage of any previous Paralympics.
Holmes speaks regularly at corporate, public sector, community and charity events across the UK and worldwide.
In 1992 Holmes was Midlands Today Sports Personality of the year and Bass Midlander of the year. The following year he was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the New Year's Honours, for services to swimming for the disabled. The SAF Paul Zetter Award was presented to Holmes in 1996 and in 1997 he was Sports Personality of the year Variety Club of GB. On 4 July 2012 he received an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws from Bath University.
On 13 September 2013 he was created a life peer taking the title Baron Holmes of Richmond, of Richmond in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames. He made his maiden speech on 28 November 2013 in a debate on the Economy: Broadcast Media and has also contributed to debates on the Budget, Employment, Education, the World Wide Web, the legacy from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and pensions. He sits on the Digital Skills Select Committee which will make recommendations and report by early 2015.
Styles and Honours
- Mr Christopher Holmes 1971-1993
- Mr Christopher Holmes MBE 1993-2013
- The Lord Holmes of Richmond, MBE 2013-
- "Christopher Holmes HOLMES OF RICHMOND". Debrett's People of Today. Retrieved 13 May 2015.
- "The face of modern celebrity", The Independent, 7 September 2005
- Working Peerages announced Gov.uk
- Alex Wolff (25 June 2012). "Britain hopes to overhaul attitudes during the 2012 Paralympic Games". Sports Illustrated.
- "Chris Holmes the nine time paralympic champion whose leadership is integrating the games like never before". www.insidethegames.biz. Retrieved 14 October 2014.
- "Paralympians Club, Chris Holmes". www.paralympics.org. Retrieved 14 October 2014.
- "Rod Carr And Chris Holmes Appointed To The Board Of UK Sport", Department for Culture, Media and Sport, British government, 11 September 2005
- "England and Wales Court of Appeal (Civil Division) Decisions". http://www.bailii.org. BAILII. Retrieved 15 October 2014.
- "England and Wales Court of Appeal (Civil Division) Decisions". http://www.bailii.org. Retrieved 15 October 2014.
- "United Kingdom House of Lords Decisions". http://www.bailii.org. Retrieved 15 October 2014.
- "From Ashurst to the Paralympics". The Lawyer. Retrieved 14 October 2014.
- Listen to Chris Holmes: on being a Paralympian, his new role, and more. London 2012 blog (official blog of the organizers of the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics); published 2009-08-28, retrieved 2009-09-03
- "Creating a lasting legacy from the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games". Office for Disability issues. Retrieved 10 July 2014.
- Pring, John (16 January 2013). "London 2012 paralympics boss will lead on disability for EHRC". Disability News Service. Retrieved 14 October 2014.
- "Chris Holmes MBE: Planning and delivering inclusive events: why wouldn't you?". Youtube. NSW Government. Retrieved 14 October 2014.
- The London Gazette: . 31 December 1992.
- "Record-breaking Paralympian receives honorary degree". University of Bath. Retrieved 14 October 2014.
- The London Gazette: . 17 September 2013.
- "Lords Chamber, 28 November 2013". www.parliamentlive.tv. Retrieved 14 October 2014.
- Holmes Of Richmond, Lord. "Spoken material by subject". Hansard. Retrieved 15 October 2014.
- "Digital Skills Committee". http://www.parliament.uk. Retrieved 15 October 2014.