It was in Malta at the 1994 World Championships that his first major international success came winning gold in the 100 Butterfly, breaking the World Record in the process. He won the same event the following year at the European Swimming Championships in Perpignan, France.
His first Paralympic Games was in Atlanta in 1996 where he won three medals: Gold in 100 Butterfly, Silver in the Medley Relay and Bronze in the 200 Individual Medley.
In Sydney 2000 he also won three medals: Gold in 100 Butterfly, Silver in the Medley Relay and Gold in the Freestyle Relay, of which he was part of the team which swam the heats to qualify GB for the final.
His third and final Paralympics was in Athens in 2004 where he took Bronze in the S8 100 Butterfly.
He was awarded the MBE by Queen Elizabeth II in 2005 and retired from competitive swimming in 2007.
Giles was born in East London but grew up in Braintree, Essex in the UK and from as early as he can remember, loved being in the water.He joined his first swimming club (Braintree SC) in 1983, aged seven and wanted to go to the Olympics as soon as he saw the Los Angeles games on TV in 1984.
However, at the age of thirteen Giles broke his arm which uncovered a bone tumour (Osteosarcoma) at the top of his right humerus (the bone in the upper arm). Chemotherapy, radiotherapy and several operations followed over a two-year period leaving him with a prosthetic replacement of his right humerus. The greatly reduced mobility of his right shoulder effectively ended his competitive swimming career. But Giles still loved being in the water and received great support at the swimming club and so carried on swimming, though just using just his left arm.
It wasn’t long before his coach began entering him for competitions and it was at a competition in East London where he was spotted by a member of the Great Britain para-swimming team. That reignited a passion for the sport that was deep within him and he set course for the Paralympic Games.
Television & Radio
Giles was part of the BAFTA winning Channel 4 team that covered the London 2012 Paralympics in the UK. His contribution was well received with venerated journalist, Clive James, writing ‘Giles Long, himself three times a Paralympic swimming gold medallist, was so thorough in explaining the requirements of swimming with a damaged body that you learned a lot about swimming in general.’
Leading up to 2012 he had presented live coverage of the 2010 IPC World Swimming Championships, the 2011 IPC European Swimming Championships, reports for That Paralympic Show, as well as working for BBC News and Sky News.
Post London 2012 he has continued to be a presenter and commentator on Channel 4’s coverage of Swimming but also worked for the BBC on their flagship consumer show, Watchdog. He was again part of Channel 4’s presenting team for the Rio 2016 Paralympics.
While still swimming he worked briefly for BBC Radio 1 on the Mark & Lard Show, BBC 5Live and BBC Radio Manchester.
Away from television he is also a successful motivational and inspirational speaker having worked with hundreds of companies and organisations from all over the globe.
Giles Long is the inventor of LEXI, the ground-breaking info-graphic system, which for the first time, effectively explained the confusing system of paralympic sporting classification for TV audiences.It was first used in 2010, but its major breakthrough was of Channel 4’s coverage of the London 2012 Paralympics in the UK. It was also sub-licensed to ABC in Australia.
Since then LEXI has appeared on TV screens in 137 countries and has set the standard for the broadcast of para-sport ever since.
Lexicon Decoder is the global rights holder for LEXI. –