Nature, nurture & beyond: what underpins exceptional sport performance?

What makes an exceptional athlete? Are people born with innate abilities which help them to succeed or is sporting talent nurtured through practice and training? As part of his ‘Great British Medallists’ research project conducted for UK Sport, Professor Tim Rees explored the importance of both nature and nurture in the development of elite athletes. The findings, which will be shared as part of his inaugural lecture, identified some of the differences between elite athletes (non-medal winning Olympians) and super elite athletes – those winning Olympic gold medals.

Expectations of top level athletes are ever increasing, so research that can help identify strategies to improve performance can make a significant difference to results. As part of his lecture, Professor Rees will dispel some of the commonly held misperceptions around sporting performance and will discuss what the future holds in terms of supporting top athletes.

Professor Tim Rees is a leading authority on human performance and talent development, his work published in the most prestigious and high-impact academic publications and featured in all major media including extensive interviews for BBC Radio 4 and US National Public Radio. His ‘Great British Medalists’ project was the most downloaded Sports Medicine article of 2016, earning a nomination for the Times Higher Education Project of the Year. His specialism has led to speaking engagements, collaborations, and consulting appointments worldwide.

Bournemouth University’s inaugural lecture series aims to celebrate new professorial appointments and the depth and breadth of research produced by the university. For further information on the inaugural lecture series, please visit

About the event

To book your free ticket, click here.

Venue: AFC Bournemouth, Vitality Stadium, Dean Court, Kings Park, Bournemouth, BH7 7AF.

Date: Monday 20 November.

Time: 6:30pm for a 7pm lecture start.

Refreshments will be provided at the event.

For more information about the event, please contact Matthew Fancy: