Giles Long MBE grew up in Braintree, Essex, UK and enjoyed being in the water, joining Braintree and Bocking Swimming Club aged seven. When he was 13, he was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer, in his right arm. After undergoing chemotherapy and surgery, he resumed his swimming and continued to swim in able-bodied competitions, although by this point he was only using his left arm.
However, just two years later, the disease returned, causing a serious infection during which he nearly died. Once again he was given chemotherapy and underwent surgery.
Giles’ first major international swimming competition was at the 1994 World Championships, where he won the gold in the 100m butterfly, breaking the world record at the time. He would go on to represent Great Britain at the 1996, 2000, and 2004 Paralympics, winning three gold, two silver, and two bronze medals in total. He announced his retirement from the sport in 2007.
Upon retirement, Giles Long went on to write for The Daily Telegraph and published his first book, Changing to Win in October 2008 (which was reprinted in 2010), and has hosted numerous sporting TV shows.
He joined Channel 4 where he presented the IPC World Swimming Championships from Eindhoven in 2010, a key event in the lead up to the station’s coverage of the London 2012 Paralympics. He also led the channel’s coverage of the IPC World and the IPC European Championships, and the 2016 Paralympics in Rio. Also for Channel 4, he presented That Paralympic Show, and The BT Paralympic World Cup live from Manchester in 2011, as well as the European Wheelchair Fencing Championships in Sheffield the same year.
Over the years, he has also worked for Sky News, BBC News, BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 5Live, and BBC Radio Manchester.
In November 2012, Giles was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Science from the University of East London for his significan role in the coverage of the London 2012 Paralympic Games. It was also in recognition of his creation, the ‘Lexi Decoder’ (LEXI) – a Paralympic sport classification aid.
LEXI is a ground-breaking piece of software that helps explain the often confusing system of Paralympic sport classification. It was first used at the 2012 London games, and has since been used in over 137 countries.
As well as being one of the most prominent broadcasters, Giles writes for the Channel 4 News website, as well as for The Independent, and is a reporter for BBC1’s flagship consumer affairs show Watchdog.
– The ‘Chimo’ Cycle
– Adapting to Change
– Obstacles, Change, and Encountering Success
In his spare time, he also snowboards and is a qualified scuba-diver.