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Gareth Thomas – Keynote Speaker

Retired Welsh Professional Rugby Player, Captaining both the Welsh team and the British & Irish Lions Tour

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Specialist Subjects

  • Leadership
  • Sports
  • Diversity
  • LGBT

Language

  • English

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Biography

Gareth Thomas was the first Welsh player to reach 100 caps and is one of the most iconic and respected figures in world rugby.

Thomas’s career began in a small youth club in Bridgend, and has since rocketed into the stratospheres, with his 1995 hat-trick debut for Wales marking the beginning of an exceptional international career.

Thomas has done it all in the game, with a staggering list of achievements to his name. He has 100 caps for his home country and is listed 10th on the all time list. He is 9th highest try scorer in the world, and is one of just seven players to have scored four tries in a match. He was captain of Wales’ Grand Slam winning team in 2005, and also captained the British & Irish Lions tour of New Zealand that year. In 2005, he was named BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year in recognition of his unique standing.

In March 2010 Gareth Thomas made a brave switch to Rugby League where he spent two seasons with the Crusaders in March 2010. His performances were nothing short of remarkable and he earned six Wales Rugby League caps and four tries. In 2011 Thomas announced his retirement from the game.

Thomas’s personal life hit the headlines in December 2009 when he famously revealed to the world that he was gay. This iconic revelation made him the first high profile sportsman in the world to come out as gay whilst still playing. Whilst he never downplays the significance of this achievement, he hopes to see a day when it is no longer an issue in the game at all.

In August 2010 Thomas was voted top of the Pink List for the 101 Most Influential Gay People in the UK. He was also voted Stonewall Hero of the Year in 2010.
Thomas has been regular speaker on the corporate circuit, addressing LGBT issues with the same vigor and enthusiasm with which he approached his playing career.

In 2011 world famous shoe designer Christian Louboutin launched an ‘Alfie’ shoe range inspired by Thomas. Not adverse to a bit of fun also, in 2012 Thomas famously appeared in Celebrity Big Brother where he finished a credible third, as well as ITV Dancing on Ice and Channel 4’s The Jump in 2017.
Thomas is a regular analyst for ITV Sport and has worked on the 2011 and 2015 Rugby world cups as well as numerous RBS 6 Nations coverage. Thomas is an experienced speaker on topics such as motivation, diversity and the importance of teamwork and regularly delivers his unique story through a very moving and engaging talk to companies and organisations all over the country.

In 2019 Gareth Thomas further inspired when he announced that he is living with HIV. His revelation was welcomed as an important step in breaking down stigma and helping the world better understand the subject.

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