Kriss rose to fame on the athletics track, where his greatest individual triumph was winning the gold medal in the 1990 European Championships. This was the day when he beat David Hemery’s British record for the 400 metre hurdles – a record that stood for 22 years before Kriss made his mark on it!
Kriss began his international athletics career in 1983 as a member of the 4×400 metre relay squad. He will probably always be remembered for helping Britain clinch the gold from the mighty Americans at the 1991 World Championships in Tokyo.
Having amassed three Olympic medals, as well as World, European and Commonwealth titles, Kriss was bestowed with an even greater honour in 1992: an MBE awarded by her Majesty the Queen in recognition of his services to the country through athletics.
Kriss speaks to me about his journey to what he is today – from his upbringing and early education, his experience in the army, and how he started upon the path to his athletic career today.
What this episode has in store for you
‘When the pupil is ready, the teacher appears. I am sure in my life I have met a lot of good people who wanted to help me but I was not ready, focused or engaged enough. When I joined the army, I had a new mindset – I wanted to belong, I wanted to stay. That’s where I met my first mentor.‘
‘I wanted to appeal to people, make them feel good about themselves and make them laugh and that was about inspiring people. The move into the army physical training core showed me that my physical prowess was a skill that I could readily utilise and that I had an ability to inspire other people to step up to the challenge, and get them motivated also. Of course, I worked with a lot of guys in top physical condition, but a lot of soldiers are also struggling and I had an ability to make them feel good, get them engaged in sports, which also developed other parts of my motivational expertise.’
‘There are some people in life that you gravitate towards and you don’t know why. I found out in life that the more you give in life the more you receive – if you give smiles you get smiles back. Life is wonderful, and I meet great people each and every day – what I give out, I get back tenfold.’
‘Often failures in life are the universe asking you how much you really want it. You’ve got to work hard all day and every day.’
‘Commitment precedes confirmation – Of course, you have to have a phenomenal dream and a phenomenal belief in that dream, but the dream without action remains a daydream. You’ve got to take action – masses of committed action. It’s in that commitment to your dream that you find confirmation. If you engage with your dream, other people will too and, with that, phenomenal things happen.’