Tanni Grey-Thompson

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The Right Honourable
The Baroness Grey-Thompson
Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson.jpg
Grey-Thompson at the 2011 Tees Wheelyboat Launch.
Member of the House of Lords
Assumed office
23 March 2010
Personal details
Born Carys Davina Grey
(1969-07-26) 26 July 1969 (age 45)
Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom
Nationality British
Political party Crossbench
Spouse(s) Ian Thompson (1999-present)
Children 1 daughter
Alma mater Loughborough University
Occupation Politician; athlete; TV personality
Website www.tanni.co.uk
Nickname(s) Tanni Grey-Thompson
Tanni Grey-Thompson
Country  Great Britain
Sport Wheelchair racing
Retired 2007
Now coaching Jade Jones[1]

Carys Davina "Tanni" Grey-Thompson,[2] Baroness Grey-Thompson, DBE, DL (born 26 July 1969) is a British former wheelchair racer and is a parliamentarian and television presenter. She was born in Cardiff, Wales.

Grey-Thompson was born with spina bifida and is a wheelchair user. 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) degree 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]

Her autobiography Seize the Day was published by Hodder and Stoughton in 2001.

Athletic career[edit]

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 27 February 2007 Grey-Thompson 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 BBC One. During her competitive career she sat on the board of the National Disability Council, The Sports Council for Wales, the English Lottery Awards Panel and UK Sport., and also sat for three years on the Mission 2012 panel (part of UK Sport).

Grey-Thompson currently sits on the board of the London Marathon (2007), the board of Transport for London (2008) 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.

Grey-Thompson is patron of numerous charities including Sportsleaders UK, a trustee of V, the Duke of Edinburgh Awards scheme, Sportsaid Foundation and the Wembley Stadium Legacy Trust. She is an Academy member 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.

As well as this she is the Patron of the Tees Wheelyboats Club, a group providing disabled people with access to the River Tees,[6] and a board member of the Tony Blair Sports Foundation.[7]

In July 2011 Grey-Thompson was announced as the President of the Leadership 20:20 Commission, the Commission on the future leadership of Civil Society. She launched the Commission's recommendations in Parliament on 14 December 2011.

Parliamentary career[edit]

On 23 March 2010, Grey-Thompson was created a Life Peer on the recommendation of the House of Lords Appointments Commission (HOLAC). Despite previously suggesting a desire for a title with a Welsh connection,[8] her title was conferred as Baroness Grey-Thompson, of Eaglescliffe in the County of Durham on 23 March 2010.[9] Grey-Thompson was introduced in the House of Lords on 29 March,[10] swearing the oath of allegiance in both English and Welsh and sits as a crossbencher.[11] In August 2014, Grey-Thompson 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.[12]


In 1993 she was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE)[13] for "services to sport", advanced in 2000 to OBE[14] again for "services to sport" and then in 2005 was promoted to Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE).[15]

She has received numerous honorary degrees including Honorary Doctorates from Oxford University, the University of Greenwich, Bath University, Newcastle University, Oxford Brookes University, Liverpool John Moores, Leicester University, Sheffield Hallam University, University of Hull, University of Exeter, Herriott Watt University, the Open University, University of Wales Newport, the University of Wales, Leeds Metropolitan University, Loughborough University (both a Master and Doctorate), Teesside University, York and Ripon College, University of Swansea, University of Glamorgan, UWIC, University of Surrey, Southampton University, Manchester Metropolitan University, Staffordshire University and Cardiff University.

She is Deputy Lieutenant of North Yorkshire

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.[16]

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

Roundwood Park School set up a house system in 2011,and in July 2012, blue house became, Grey-Thompson house.

Grey-Thompson received a Lifetime Achievement Award and another Honorary Doctorate from the University of East London in May 2011, at the university's annual Sports Award evening held at West Ham United's Upton Park stadium.

In November 2012 she was appointed to the three-person commission that has been set up by the International Cycling Union to investigate the Lance Armstrong doping affair.[17]

In February 2013 she was assessed as one of the 100 most powerful women in the United Kingdom by Woman's Hour on BBC Radio 4.[18]

In July 2013, she received another honorary Doctor of Science (HonDSc) in recognition of her outstanding service to disability and to disadvantaged people, and to her promotion of sport and the Paralympic Games.[19]

Personal life[edit]

Grey-Thompson is married to Dr Ian Thompson, a research chemist and former wheelchair athlete. They live at Eaglescliffe, County Durham; they have one daughter, Carys,who was born in 2002.

Paralympic World Cup medals[edit]

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

Styles and honours[edit]

  • Ms Tanni Grey, MBE (1993-1999)
  • Mrs Tanni Grey-Thompson, MBE (1999-2000)
  • Mrs Tanni Grey-Thompson, OBE (2000-2005)
  • Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson, DBE (2005-2010)
  • The Baroness Grey-Thompson, DBE (2010–2012)
  • The Baroness Grey-Thompson DBE, DL (2012 - present)


Note - #^ British Disabled Flying Association (2005). Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson OBE, MBE – new patron for the BDFA. Retrieved 31 December 2005

External links[edit]

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