Tanni Grey - Thompson

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  • Sport: Wheelchair Racing
  • Born:July 26, 1969,Cardiff, Wales
  • Residence:England

Britain's greatest ever paralympic athlete, Tanni Grey-Thompson crowned a magnificent career with two gold medals in the 100 and 400 metres in the 2004 Athens Paralympics. It took her remarkable medal haul over 16 years and five Paralympic Games to 11 gold, 3 silver and a bronze and established her as one of the most gifted and courageous sportswomen of her generation.

Biography

Britain's greatest ever paralympic athlete, Tanni Grey-Thompson crowned a magnificent career with two gold medals in the 100 and 400 metres in the 2004 Athens Paralympics. It took her remarkable medal haul over 16 years and five Paralympic Games to 11 gold, 3 silver and a bronze and established her as one of the most gifted and courageous sportswomen of her generation.

Born with spina bifida and confined to a wheelchair from the age of seven, Grey-Thompson began wheelchair racing at 13. At 17, after major surgery had grafted a metal rod on to her spine, she joined the Rookwood paraplegic club in Cardiff and started her competitive career. She went on to train for the 1988 Paralympics in Seoul from where she returned with a bronze in the 200 metres. She lost a year when she had to return to hospital for further surgery on her back, but undeterred she focused on the Barcelona Paralympics of 1992 and promptly hit the headlines with quadruple gold medals in the 100, 200, 400 and 800 metres.

She showed her enormous versatility and stamina in the same year when she won her first London Wheelchair Marathon, an achievement, which she repeated in 1994, 1996, 1998, 2001 and 2002, when she competed just three months after giving birth to daughter Carys.

Tanni won just one gold in the Atlanta Paralympics in the 800 metres, but also collected three silver medals in the 100, 200 and 400 metres. She was back to the gold standard with a vengeance in Sydney in 2000, repeating her tour de force of Barcelona, with gold medals in the 100, 200, 400 and 800 metres. Her exploits in Sydney earned her the BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year Award and her enthusiasm and determination in the face of her physical handicap has made her an international sporting hero and increased awareness of Paralympic sports.

Away from the track, she has played an active role in administration. She is the Vice-President of the Women's Sports Foundation, a member of the United Kingdom Sports Council, a patron of the British Sports Trust and she was a member of the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games Organising Committee. Her latest appointment is with UK Athletics to help identify Britain's paralympic stars of the future. In 2003 she was awarded the Freedom of the City of Cardiff. In 2005 she was created ‘Dame’ Tanni Grey-Thompson for her services to sport. In March 2010, Grey-Thompson was created a life peer on the recommendation of the House of Lords Appointments Commission and was conferred as Baroness Grey-Thompson, of Eaglescliffe in the County of Durham.