Derek Redmond, former World champion athlete

England Wheelchair Rugby LeagueKent County Cricket Club

Having enjoyed a successful sporting career, former World champion athlete Derek Redmond is now Group Performance Director at Thomas after being astounded by the powerful insights Thomas assessments provide.

Derek Redmond is best known for his heroic finish at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, which saw him hobble to complete the 400 metre sprint after tearing a hamstring. With his father's arms around him and to a standing ovation, Redmond limped a lap of the track, saying later, "I don't like to give up at anything". The footage of those heart breaking five minutes is now world-famous and has been used for inspirational videos by Nike, Visa and the International Olympic Committee.

During his career Redmond held the British record for the 400 metres sprint and won gold medals in the 4x400 metres relay at the World Championships, European Championships and Commonwealth Games. While his success on the track is now in the past, his pride, passion and sheer determination in the face of disaster have made him one of the world's most popular and most sought-after public and motivational speakers.

Since retiring from athletics, Redmond has also played basketball for England and professionally for the Birmingham Bullets and has played competitive rugby union for Coventry RFC and Stow RFC. He is also a respected coach and advisor for international athletes.

Having successfully transitioned between a career in athletics to his second career as a consultant and adviser in business, Redmond knows more than most how important self-knowledge is for success both on and off the track.

"To be a true champion you need to be physically strong but even more importantly you need to be mentally strong," he says.

Discovering psychometrics

After a mutual friend introduced him to the MD of Thomas International Sport, Redmond was persuaded to take the PPA, an assessment developed by Thomas Sport that determines how well an individual works and how that person might fit in with a team. The assessment, which takes roughly 8 minutes to complete, is then assessed and a person is given feedback and a structured breakdown of their profile. It was originally developed for the workplace, but since then, a sports-specific assessment has been sculpted to help retired athletes make the transition from sports to business. The more a person understands their strengths and weaknesses, the better positioned they are to find the right role. The tool is used by both athletes and businesses in this matchmaking recruitment process. For Redmond, the PPA assessment marked the start of a new path in his career.

When Thomas Sport took me through my profile it blew my socks off! I actually had to put the call on speaker phone so that my wife could hear a complete stranger know me as well as she does.
 

After that it was just a matter of logistics. Redmond is currently Group Performance Director at Thomas.

“There are three people in this world that know me really well. My dad, my coach and my wife, and here was someone who I have never met and it was like they had known me all my life. I couldn't believe how accurate it was.”

But not every athlete will be as lucky as Redmond in being matched perfectly with a coach. This is an area in which psychometric tools could have a serious impact, he says.

“I got lucky with my coaches, but I can see how psychometrics would have been very helpful in getting the maximum out of the relationships an athlete has with their team.”

Psychological profiling helps you know the best preparation for you, it means that when you go into a competition you are not going in blind, everything is planned out and calculated.
 

Can business learn from sport? Athletes are not perhaps the first demographic that springs to mind when thinking about a day at the office. But the characteristics needed to succeed in both business and sport are the same, Redmond says, and it is exactly this which means an athlete is perfectly positioned for the 9 to 5.

“My character today as a businessman is because of the experience I had as an athlete,” he says.

The mind-set of a successful sportsman is no different than that of a successful businessman. In both sport and business you have to be focused, disciplined, committed and passionate otherwise you won’t succeed. Sport has given me the traits and characteristics to help me in business.

Lydia Boucher

Lydia Boucher

Lydia joined the marketing team in 2013 after graduating with a degree in English Literature. She specialises in campaigns and internal communications and loves being able to fulfil her passion for writing in her day job. Outside of work, Lydia enjoys spending her summers at music festivals across Europe.