Judy Grinham

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Judy Grinham
Judy Grinham 1958.jpg
Grinham in 1958
Personal information
Full nameJudith Brenda Grinham
National teamGreat Britain
Born (1939-03-05) March 5, 1939 (age 80)
Neasden, England[1]
StrokesBackstroke, freestyle
ClubHampstead Ladies SC[1]

Judith Brenda Grinham, MBE (born 5 March 1939), also known by her married name Judith Rowley, is an English former competitive swimmer who represented Great Britain in the Olympics and European championships, and competed for England in the Commonwealth Games. Grinham is an Olympic gold medallist, Commonwealth and European champion, and former world record-holder. In 1956 and 1958 she was chosen as Great Britain's Sportswoman of the Year.[2] In 1958 she became the first woman to win Olympic, European and Commonwealth titles.[1]

Early life[edit]

Grinham was born in the London suburb of Hampstead and grew up in Neasden. She studied at the Convent of Jesus & Mary, Harlesden, London NW10.

Personal life[edit]

She married Pat Rowley[1][3] in Neasden in 1960, in St. Catherine's Church. They had two children, Keith (born in June 1961)[4] and Alison.[5]


Grinham competed in the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne, Australia, winning the 100-metre backstroke, and setting a world record at in 1:12.9. She became the first Briton to win an Olympic swimming gold since Lucy Morton in 1924.[1]

Grinham competed in the 1958 British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Cardiff, Wales, and won the 100-metre backstroke in 1:11.9. She went on to win a second gold medal as a member of the winning British team in the 4×100-metre medley team at the 1958 European Championships in Budapest, Hungary, and won an individual gold in the 100-metre backstroke. She became the first athlete in any sport to hold Olympic, Commonwealth and European gold medals at the same time.[1]

Grinham retired from competitions in 1959. The same year she appeared as a P.T. instructor in the Associated British Technicolor wartime service comedy film Operation Bullshine, alongside stars Donald Sinden, Barbara Murray and Carole Lesley, but never made another film.

Grinham was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame as an "Honour Swimmer" in 1981.[2]

In 2007, she was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the Queen's Birthday Honours list, 50 years after winning gold in Melbourne.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Kubatko, Justin. "Judy Grinham Biography and Olympic Results". Olympics at Sports-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved 24 January 2004.
  2. ^ a b International Swimming Hall of Fame, Honourees, Judy Grinham (GBR). Retrieved 17 Marc 2015.
  3. ^ "The Children's Newspaper" (PDF). Lookandlearn.com. 27 January 1962. Retrieved 27 February 2015.
  4. ^ File:Judy Grinham with son 1961.jpg
  5. ^ Better late than never. sportsjournalists.co.uk (25 November 2006)