Steve Redgrave

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Steve Redgrave
Steve Redgrave 20110525.jpg
Redgrave in 2011
Personal information
Birth name Steven Godfrey Redgrave
Nationality British
Born (1962-03-23) March 23, 1962 (age 52)
Marlow, Buckinghamshire, UK
Education Great Marlow School
Occupation Rower
Height 6 feet 4.75 inches (1.95 m)
Weight 16 stone 2 pounds (103 kg) (2000)
Spouse(s) Ann Redgrave
Country Great Britain
Sport Men's Rowing
Club Marlow Rowing Club, Leander Club
Team GB Rowing Team
Coached by Jürgen Gröbler
Retired 2000
Updated on 5 March 2014.

Sir Steven Geoffrey Redgrave, CBE, DL (born on 23 March 1962) is a retired British rower who won gold medals at five consecutive Olympic Games from 1984 to 2000 as well as a bronze medal at the 1988 Summer Games, totalling six Olympic Medals. He has also won three Commonwealth Games gold medals and nine World Rowing Championships golds. With five gold medals and one bronze, Redgrave is the most successful male rower in Olympic history, and his achievement of being the only Olympian to have won gold medals at five different Olympic Games in an endurance sport[1] has led to him being hailed as Britain's greatest-ever Olympian.[2][3][4]

In 2002, Redgrave was ranked number 36 in the BBC poll of the 100 Greatest Britons.[5] He was the first British athlete to have won five Olympic gold medals, a feat surpassed only by Chris Hoy at the 2012 Summer Olympics, and is the third most decorated British Olympian with six medals, after the seven of Hoy and the seven of cyclist Bradley Wiggins. He has carried the British flag at the opening of the Olympic Games on two occasions. In 2011 Redgrave received the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award.


Rowing career[edit]

Statue of Redgrave in Higginson Park, Marlow

Redgrave was born in Marlow, Buckinghamshire, and educated at Great Marlow School.

Redgrave stands 1.95 metres (6 ft 5 inches) tall. In his prime, he weighed more than 100 kilograms (16 st; 220 lb). His primary strength was in sweep oared rowing, where he has the distinction of being one of the few oarsmen to have won Olympic Gold rowing both bowside and strokeside (starboard and port). He also enjoyed success in indoor rowing, winning the World Championship for Indoor Rowing in 1991.[6] He was also a successful single sculler winning the Wingfield Sculls five times between 1985 and 1989, but not quite a world champion class single sculler. From 1991 onwards, Redgrave, and the crews in which he rowed, became renowned for their consistent dominance. They set themselves apart from many other internationally successful crews by winning almost every time they raced. Indeed, the very occasional lapses in this winning run, such as the Lucerne regatta in 2000, were regarded with surprise by both the rowing community and the press.

For much of his career, Redgrave battled severe illness. In 1992, he was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis (although he had continued to train for a considerable time prior to diagnosis). In September 1997, Diabetes mellitus type 2 was added to his list of ailments. Through careful management, however, he was able to continue training right up to the Sydney Olympics.[7]

Redgrave is also dyslexic, a condition which he has suffered from since his school days. In addition to his Olympic medals, Redgrave won 9 gold medals, 2 silvers, and a bronze at the Rowing World Championships. His 14 total Olympic and World Championship gold medals is unsurpassed by any other rower in history, although later equalled by his long-time rowing partner Matthew Pinsent.[citation needed]

Redgrave was a competitor at Henley Royal Regatta for more than two decades. He won the Silver Goblets & Nickalls' Challenge Cup for coxless pairs seven times (twice with Andy Holmes, once with Simon Berrisford and four times with Matthew Pinsent), the Stewards' Challenge Cup for coxless fours five times, the Diamond Challenge Sculls twice, the Double Sculls Challenge Cup once (with Eric Sims) and the Queen Mother Challenge Cup for quadruple sculls once. In 1989/1990 he was a member of the British bobsleigh team, as well as national champion. Immediately after winning the 1996 Olympic Gold Medal, in an interview Redgrave stated if anyone found him close to a rowing boat again they could shoot him.[8]

In 2000, Redgrave won his fifth consecutive Olympic Gold Medal, retired from the sport, and became the BBC Sports Personality of the Year. In August 2000, the month prior to winning gold in Sydney, he took part in a 3-part BBC documentary entitled Gold Fever. This followed Redgrave and his crewmates in the coxless four in the years leading up to the Olympics, including video diaries recording the highs and lows in the quest for his fourth consecutive team gold. At the medal ceremony after his win at the 2000 Summer Olympics Redgrave was presented with a gold Olympic pin by IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch in recognition of his winning gold at 5 consecutive Olympic Games.[9]

Life after rowing[edit]

In April 2006 he completed his third London Marathon, raising a record £1,800,000 for charity. In April 2008 Redgrave took part in the Olympic Torch relay for the games in Beijing. Redgrave is a supporter of Chelsea Football Club.

Redgrave is commemorated at Burnham Grammar School, Redbridge Community School and Broadlands Science and Engineering School as one of the four houses there. At Linton Village College in Cambridgeshire and Woodcote High School in Croydon, there is a school faculty (house) named after him. He starred in Top Ground Gear Force for Sport Relief in 2008, where the Top Gear Team (Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond) took on Ground Force with predictable results, and trashed his garden. He launched his own Fairtrade Cotton Brand of Clothing called FiveG which is sold in Debenhams department stores.[10]

He is also involved in starting a rowing academy in India at Lavasa, the new Hill City being developed near Pune City.[11] In 2010, he was named a Patron of the Jaguar Academy of Sport.[12] In 2012, Redgrave took up kayaking and attempted the Devizes to Westminster marathon kayak race but had to withdraw halfway through due to tiredness.[13] In 2012, Redgrave rowed on the Gloriana as part of the royal pageant for the Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II.[14] That same year he was one of the final torch-bearers for the 2012 Summer Olympics, carrying the torch into the stadium, where the seven young athletes did the honours of lighting the cauldron at the opening ceremony.

Personal life[edit]

He married Ann Callaway (now Ann, Lady Redgrave) in 1988; an accomplished rower in her own right, she represented Great Britain in the women's eight at the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984 and was Chief Medical Officer to the GB rowing team from 1992 to 2001 and since 2009 their first full-time Medical Officer.[15] He is the honorary president of British Rowing.[16]

Steven and Ann Redgrave have three children. His elder daughter Natalie took up rowing in 2009[17] and started competing for Oxford University Women's Boat Club in 2010,[17] and competed in the 2011 women's boat race, which Oxford won.[18] He has another daughter, Sophie, and a son, Zac.[19]

In August 2014, Redgrave was one of 200 public figures who were signatories to a letter to The Guardian opposing Scottish independence in the run-up to September's referendum on that issue.[20]


He was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 1987 and promoted to Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1997. In the 2001 New Year Honours, it was announced that he would be made a Knight Bachelor "for services to Rowing".[21] He was subsequently knighted by Queen Elizabeth II on 1 May 2001 in Buckingham Palace.[22] In 2002, his achievement of winning gold medals at five consecutive Olympic games was voted the greatest sporting moment in Channel 4's 100 Greatest Sporting Moments.[5]


Olympic Games[edit]

World Rowing Championships[edit]

  • 1999 – Gold, Coxless Four (with James Cracknell, Ed Coode, Matthew Pinsent)
  • 1998 – Gold, Coxless Four (with James Cracknell, Tim Foster, Matthew Pinsent)
  • 1997 – Gold, Coxless Four (with James Cracknell, Tim Foster, Matthew Pinsent)
  • 1995 – Gold, Coxless Pair (with Matthew Pinsent)
  • 1994 – Gold, Coxless Pair (with Matthew Pinsent)
  • 1993 – Gold, Coxless Pair (with Matthew Pinsent)
  • 1991 – Gold, Coxless Pair (with Matthew Pinsent)
  • 1990 – Bronze, Coxless Pair (with Matthew Pinsent)
  • 1989 – Silver, Coxless Pairs (with Simon Berrisford)
  • 1989 – 5th, Coxed Pairs (with Simon Berrisford and Patrick Sweeney)
  • 1987 – Gold, Coxless Pairs (with Andy Holmes)
  • 1987 – Silver, Coxed Pairs (with Andy Holmes and Patrick Sweeney)
  • 1986 – Gold, Coxed Pairs (with Andy Holmes and Patrick Sweeney)
  • 1985 – 12th, Single Sculls
  • 1983 – Single Sculls
  • 1982 – 6th, Quadruple Scull
  • 1981 – 8th, Quadruple Scull

Junior World Rowing Championships[edit]

  • 1980 – Silver, Double Sculls
  • 1979 – Single Sculls

Henley Royal Regatta[edit]

Insignia of
Knight Bachelor
  • 2001 – Queen Mother Challenge Cup
  • 2000 – Stewards' Challenge Cup
  • 1999 – Stewards' Challenge Cup
  • 1998 – Stewards' Challenge Cup
  • 1997 – Stewards' Challenge Cup
  • 1995 – Silver Goblets & Nickalls' Challenge Cup
  • 1994 – Silver Goblets & Nickalls' Challenge Cup
  • 1993 – Stewards' Challenge Cup
  • 1993 – Silver Goblets & Nickalls' Challenge Cup
  • 1991 – Silver Goblets & Nickalls' Challenge Cup
  • 1989 – Silver Goblets & Nickalls' Challenge Cup
  • 1987 – Silver Goblets & Nickalls' Challenge Cup
  • 1986 – Silver Goblets & Nickalls' Challenge Cup
  • 1985 – Diamond Challenge Sculls
  • 1983 – Diamond Challenge Sculls
  • 1982 – Double Sculls Challenge Cup
  • 1981 – Double Sculls Challenge Cup


Styles and honours[edit]

  • Mr Steve Redgrave (1962–1987)
  • Mr Steve Redgrave MBE (1987–1997)
  • Mr Steve Redgrave CBE (1997–2001)
  • Sir Steve Redgrave CBE (2001–)


Redgrave has also written a foreword to Diabetes: The at Your Fingertips Guide 5th edition (2003) ISBN 1-85959-087-X

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Redgrave to end golden rowing career". ABC. Retrieved 28 July 2012
  2. ^ "Queen honours Redgrave". BBC News. 1 May 2001. 
  3. ^ "Sir Steve steps out for diabetes". BBC News. 10 June 2001. 
  4. ^ Hart, Simon (6 September 2003). "Olympics: London want Redgrave in driving seat". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 24 May 2010. 
  5. ^ a b "100 great Britons". London: Daily Mail. 21 August 2002. Retrieved 16 August 2012. 
  6. ^ CRASH-B Sprints World Indoor Rowing Championships Historical Winners
  7. ^ Gallen, Ian W.; Steve and Ann Redgrave (1 July 2003). "Olympic Diabetes" (PDF). Clinical Medicine, Journal of the Royal College of Physicians 03 (4): 333–337. 
  8. ^ Bagchi, Rob (7 December 2011). "50 stunning Olympic moments No4: Steve Redgrave's fifth gold medal". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 6 January 2012. 
  9. ^ "Redgrave's Golden Glory". BBC. 23 September 2000. Retrieved 17 August 2012. 
  10. ^ "Steve Redgrave website". Retrieved 18 January 2011. 
  11. ^ Redgrave, to help nurture rowing in India, The Hindu, 14 June 2010
  12. ^ Jaguar Academy of Sport. "Homepage". 
  13. ^ "Sir Steve Redgrave quits Devizes to London canoe race". BBC News. 8 April 2012. 
  14. ^ Redgrave part of Diamond Jubilee celebrations
  15. ^ "GB Rowing's Coaching line-up". British Rowing. 1 October 2008. Retrieved 3 August 2012. 
  16. ^ "Structure". British Rowing. Retrieved 3 August 2012. 
  17. ^ a b Quarrell, Rachel (3 March 2011). "Natalie Redgrave ready to follow her father's footsteps and take the plunge for Oxford in varsity Boat Race". The Daily Telegraph (London). 
  18. ^ "Natalie Redgrave helps Oxford win Women's Boat Race". BBC News. 27 March 2011. Retrieved 3 August 2012. 
  19. ^ "Steve Redgrave: My Family Values". The Guardian. 26 September 2012. Retrieved 3 August 2014. 
  20. ^ "Celebrities' open letter to Scotland – full text and list of signatories | Politics". 2014-08-07. Retrieved 2014-08-26. 
  21. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 56070. pp. 1–2. 30 December 2000. Retrieved 2012-08-27.
  22. ^ The London Gazette: no. 56313. p. 10049. 24 August 2001. Retrieved 2012-08-27.
  23. ^ Quote taken from the programme notes of the ceremony in McEwan Hall, Edinburgh 8th October 2013
  24. ^ "A celebration of achievement | News archive |". Retrieved 2014-08-26. 

External links[edit]