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Bob Champion in 2008
|Born||4 June 1948|
|Major racing wins|
|Grand National (1981)|
Robert Champion MBE (born 4 June 1948) is an English former jump jockey who won the 1981 Grand National on Aldaniti. His triumph, while recovering from cancer, was made into a film Champions, with John Hurt portraying Champion. The film is based on Champion's book Champion's Story, which he wrote with close friend and racing journalist and broadcaster Jonathan Powell.
Champion was born in Sussex, but very soon after his birth the family moved to Guisborough in the North Riding of Yorkshire. At the height of his career as a jockey, he was diagnosed with testicular cancer in July 1979. He was treated with an orchidectomy and with the chemotherapeutic drugs bleomycin, vinblastine and cisplatin, and also had an exploratory operation to identify cancer in his lymph nodes. His victory on Aldaniti was viewed by many as a great triumph, following his previous adversity. Their victory earned them that year's BBC Sports Personality of the Year Team Award and was chosen as one of the 100 Greatest Sporting Moments by Channel 4 viewers in 2002.
Other major races that Champion won during his career include the Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup and the Whitbread Trial Chase. He was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire in the 1982 Queen's Birthday Honours. In 1983 he formed the Bob Champion Cancer Trust, which has raised millions of pounds for cancer research. He retired from training horses in 1999.
Since 2013, he has assisted his friend Derek Thompson on some racecourses with the notorious bucket scam, and the prize for the lucky winner is often a copy of the Aldaniti video.
- Bob Champion and Jonathan Powell, Champion's Story: A Great Human Triumph, Victor Gollancs Ltd. (1981), ISBN 978-0575030190
- Bob Champion, I'm Champion, Call Me Bob, FCM Publishing, Lincoln, (2018). ISBN 978-0995594371