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 82)
Neasden, England[1]
StrokesBackstroke, freestyle
ClubHampstead Ladies SC[1]
Medal record
Representing Great Britain
Olympic Games
Gold medal – first place 1956 Melbourne 100 m backstroke
European Championships
Gold medal – first place 1958 Budapest 100 m backstroke
Silver medal – second place 1958 Budapest 4×100 m freestyle
Bronze medal – third place 1958 Budapest 100 m freestyle
Bronze medal – third place 1958 Budapest 4×100 m medley
Representing  England
Commonwealth Games
Gold medal – first place 1958 Cardiff 110 yd backstroke
Gold medal – first place 1958 Cardiff 4×110 yd medley relay
Bronze medal – third place 1958 Cardiff 4×110 yd freestyle

Judith Brenda Grinham MBE (born 5 March 1939), also known by her married name Judith Roe or also by her former 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 in any sport to hold/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 (born in December 1962). In 1977 she divorced and remarried Michael Roe in 1979, (who had 4 children). She has five grandchildren and 5 step-grandchildren. [5]


Grinham competed in the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne, Australia, winning the 100-metre backstroke, setting a world record of 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 woman in any sport to hold Olympic, Commonwealth and European gold medals at the same time.[1] She won the 1958 ASA National Championship 110 yards freestyle title, [6] the 1957 ASA National Championship 220 yards freestyle title[7] and the 110 yards backstroke title three times (1955, 1956, 1958).[8][9][10]

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. Archived from the original on 17 April 2020. 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. ^ She divorced in 1977 and remarried in 1979 Michael Roe (who had four children). She has 5 grandchildren and 5 step grand-children. Better late than never. sportsjournalists.co.uk (25 November 2006)
  6. ^ ""Black Gains Four Swimming Titles." Times, 25 Aug. 1958, p. 4". Times Digital Archive.
  7. ^ ""Miss Grinham Shows Her Versatility." Times, 14 Sept. 1957, p. 10". Times Digital Archive.
  8. ^ ""British Swimming Best Since War." Times, 5 Sept. 1955, p. 13". Times Digital Archive.
  9. ^ ""McKechnie Gains Title Easily." Times, 5 Sept. 1956, p. 13". Times Digital Archive.
  10. ^ ""Black Gains Four Swimming Titles." Times, 25 Aug. 1958, p. 4". Times Digital Archive.