Tanni Grey-Thompson

Tanni Grey-Thompson
Tanni Grey-Thompson
Personal information
Birth name Carys Davina Grey
Full name Baroness Grey-Thompson
Born Cardiff, Wales
Country  Great Britain
Sport Wheelchair Athletics
Retired 2007
Now coaching Jade Jones[1]

Carys Davina "Tanni" Grey-Thompson,[2] Baroness Grey-Thompson, DBE (born 26 July 1969 in Cardiff, Wales) is a Welsh athlete and TV presenter.

Grey-Thompson was born with spina bifida and uses a wheelchair. She is considered to be one of the most successful disabled athletes in the UK. She graduated from Loughborough University in 1991 with a BA(Hons) in Politics and Social Administration.

She was christened Carys Davina Grey, but her sister referred to her as "tiny" when she first saw her, pronouncing it "tanni", and the name stuck.[3]



Tanni Grey-Thompson's Paralympic career started in the 100m at the Junior National Games for Wales in 1984.

Her international career began in 1988 in Seoul, where she won a bronze medal in the 400m. As a young athlete she also competed in wheelchair basketball. Her fifth and last Paralympic Games were in Athens (2004) where she won two gold medals in wheelchair racing in the 100m and 400m.[4] In total in her Paralympic career she won 16 medals (11 gold, four silver and a bronze)[4] and also 13 World Championship medals (six gold, five silver and two bronze).

On 28 February 2007 she announced her pending retirement, with her last appearance for Great Britain at May's Paralympic World Cup in Manchester.[5]

Over her career she won a total of 16 Paralympic medals, including 11 golds, held over 30 world records, and won the London Marathon six times between 1992 and 2002.


In preparation for her retirement from the track, she expanded her television presenting career on BBC Wales and S4C, as well as BBC1.

She is currently a non-executive director for UK Athletics (2007), sits on the board of the London Marathon (2007) and the Board of Transport for London (2008). She is Chair of the Women's Sports and Fitness Foundation Commission on the Future of Women's Sport.

Grey-Thompson is patron of numerous charities including Sportsleaders UK, and is a trustee of V, the Charity that helps young people become volunteers. She is vice-chairman of the Laureus World Sport Academy, and a trustee of the Sport for Good Foundation. She is also a Council Member for the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, and an International Inspiration Ambassador.


In 1993 she received an MBE for services to sport, in 2000 the OBE for services to sport and then in 2005 was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire.

She has received numerous honorary degrees including honorary doctorates from University of Bath, Leeds Metropolitan University, Loughborough University, Southampton University, Manchester Metropolitan University and the University of Wales. She is currently Pro-Chancellor of Staffordshire University.

Grey-Thompson was named the BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year three times; in 1992, 2000 and 2004. In 2000, she came third in the BBC Sports Personality of the Year, behind Steve Redgrave and Denise Lewis. That year she also received the Helen Rollason Award for her performance at the 2000 Summer Paralympics.

In August 2009, Grey-Thompson was made a member of the Gorsedd at the 2009 National Eisteddfod in Bala, Gwynedd.[6]

There is a house, Thompson, named after her at Willenhall School Sports College in the West Midlands, where each of the eight houses are named after influential sports stars and local heroes.

On 23 March 2010, Grey-Thompson was created a life peer on the recommendation of the House of Lords Appointments Commission. Despite previously speaking of a desire for a title with a Welsh connection,[7] her title was conferred as Baroness Grey-Thompson, of Eaglescliffe in the County of Durham on 23 March 2010.[8] She was introduced in the House of Lords on 29 March,[9] swearing the oath of alliegence in both English and Welsh. She will sit as a crossbencher.

Tanni received a Lifetime achievement award and an honorary doctorate from the University of East London in May 2011. At the universities annual Sports Award evening held at West Ham United's, Upton Park.

Personal life

Grey-Thompson lives in Eaglescliffe and is married to Dr Ian Thompson. They have one daughter, Carys.

Paralympic World Cup medals

Year Event Position
2005 100 m 1st
2005 400 m 1st
2007 200 m 2nd


  1. ^ British Disabled Flying Association (2005). Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson OBE, MBE - new patron for the BDFA. Retrieved December 31, 2005
  1. ^ http://ipc-athletics.paralympic.org/news/2011_01_25_c.html
  2. ^ London Gazette: no. 59333. p. 2425. 12 February 2010.
  3. ^ Paralympian Tanni Grey-Thompson becomes people's peer, BBC News, 29 March 2010
  4. ^ a b Tanni Grey*'s profile on paralympic.org
  5. ^ Grey Thompson confirms retirement, BBC Sport, 28 February 2007
  6. ^ "Gorsedd honour for female stars". BBC Wales. 2009-06-23. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/8113614.stm. Retrieved 2009-08-03. 
  7. ^ Tomos Livingstone (2010-02-06). "Baroness Tanni determined her title will have a Welsh connection". Western Mail. http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/2010/02/06/baroness-tanni-determined-her-title-will-have-a-welsh-connection-91466-25773957/. 
  8. ^ London Gazette: no. 59375. p. 5330. 26 March 2010.
  9. ^ House of Lords - Hansard

External links

Preceded by
Ian Woosnam
BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year
Succeeded by
Colin Jackson
Preceded by
Colin Jackson
BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year
Succeeded by
Joe Calzaghe
Preceded by
Nicole Cooke
BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year
Succeeded by
Gareth Thomas

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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