Tanni Grey – Thompson

Born: July 26, 1969

Occupation: Professional Athlete & Politician

Challenges overcome: Spina Bifida

Successes, Achievements & Awards:

Carys Davina Grey-Thompson, better known as Tanni, was born in Cardiff in 1969. She is considered one of the most successful disabled athletes in the UK.

Tanni’s international sporting career began in 1988 in Seoul, where she won a bronze medal for the 400m. The 2004 games in Athens were the last that Tanni took part in, and also where she won gold medals for the 100m and 400m wheelchair racing. In her sporting career, Tanni won over 16 medals including 11 gold medals, held 30 world records, and has also won the London Marathon six times.

Since retiring from sports, Tanni has kept herself very busy with television presenting, charity work, sports council and board memberships and also working as a politician.
BBC one, BBC Wales and S4C have all hired Tanni for television and radio work for a variety of shows, including commentary for the 2008 Beijing paralympics.

Tanni has sat on a number of boards during her career including the National Disability Council, The Sports Council for Wales and currently sits on the board of Transport for London, the board of the London Marathon and the London Legacy Development Corporation. She is Chair of the Women’s Sports and Fitness Foundation Commission on the Future of Women’s Sport.

Tanni Grey-Thompson is patron of numerous charities including Sports leaders UK, the Duke of Edinburgh Awards scheme, Sports Aid Foundation and the Wembley Stadium Legacy Trust. She is also a Council member for the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust and an International Inspiration Ambassador.

On 23 March 2010, Tanni was created a Life Peer on the recommendation of the House of Lords Appointments Commission, her title was conferred as Baroness Grey-Thompson, of Eaglescliffe in the County of Durham. Tanni Grey-Thompson was introduced in the House of Lords on 29 March, swearing the oath of allegiance in both English and Welsh and sits as a crossbencher.

Tanni was appointed an MBE for her services to sport in 1993 and was advanced to an OBE in 2000 for her services to sport again. In 2005 she was promoted further to gain the title of Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire. Tanni graduated from Loughborough University in 1991 with a BA in Politics but has since gained 26 honorary degrees from universities across the UK.

BBC Wales has named her the Sports Personality of the Year three times, in 1992, 2000 and 2004. In 2000 she also came third in the BBC Sports Personality of the Year and received the Helen Rollason Award for her performance in the 2000 Summer Paralympics.

Tanni married research chemist and former wheelchair athlete Dr Ian Thompson in 1999 and has a daughter with him, Carys, who was born in 2002. They live in Eaglescliffe in County Durham.

Challenges Overcome

Tanni was born with Spina Bifida, a developmental congenital disorder, and lead to her having to use a wheelchair at the age of seven onwards. As a toddler she could walk and run but growing put pressure on her malformed spine and meant Tanni had to have surgery, which lead to her being confined to a wheelchair.

Her primary school teachers remember her as a determined young girl who wanted to find out for herself what she could and couldn’t do and became accomplished at sports including swimming and horse riding.

Disability Definitions

Spina Bifida

Spina Bifida is a condition in which the bones of the spinal column do not close completely around the developing nerves of the spinal cord. As a result, part of the spinal cord may stick out through an opening in the spine, leading to permanent nerve damage. Spina Bifida results when a structure called the neural tube fails to close completely during the first few weeks of embryonic development. The neural tube is a layer of cells that ultimately develops into the brain and spinal cord. Because Spina Bifida is caused by abnormalities of the neural tube, it is classified as a neural tube defect (NTD).


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Information sources:

Please click on the information links below to find out more.

Tanni Grey-Thompson. (2014, December 14). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 13:39, April 2, 2015, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Tanni_Grey-Thompson&oldid=638028308


Image source – Wikicommons

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