Katherine Grainger

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Katherine Grainger
Katherine Grainger Parade.jpg
Personal information
Birth name Katherine Jane Grainger[1]
Nationality  United Kingdom
Born (1975-11-12) 12 November 1975 (age 41)
Glasgow, Scotland
Residence Maidenhead, England
Alma mater King's College London
University of Glasgow
University of Edinburgh
Height 1.82 m (5 ft 11 12 in)
Country United Kingdom
Sport Women's rowing
Event(s) Double Sculls
College team Edinburgh University Boat Club
Club St Andrew Boat Club
Coached by Paul Thompson

Dame Katherine Jane Grainger DBE (born 12 November 1975) is a British rower and with five Olympic medals is Great Britain's most decorated female Olympian. She is a 2012 Summer Olympics gold medallist, four-time Olympic silver medallist and six-time World Champion.[2] Since 2015 she has been chancellor of Oxford Brookes University.

Grainger first won silver at the Sydney Olympics in 2000 in the woman's Quadruple Sculls. In Athens in 2004, she won silver in the coxless pairs. In Beijing 2008 she won her third silver, again in the Quadruple Sculls.

At the London Olympics 2012, Anna Watkins and Grainger broke the Olympic record as they qualified for the Double Sculls final, before going on to win the gold medal. Grainger secured a silver medal at the Rio Olympic Games 2016 with Victoria Thornley, after a two-year break from the sport. Grainger has won eight medals at World Championships, between 1997 and 2011.

Early life and education[edit]

Grainger's family moved to Netherley, Aberdeenshire. She attended Bearsden Academy.

Grainger holds an LLB at the University of Edinburgh, an LLM in medical law at the University of Glasgow, and a PhD in law at King's College London. In July 2013 King's made Grainger a fellow. She remarked, "Without planning it both my Olympic career and my PhD have met at the same time and the culmination for both is 2012 – not by design."[3]



Grainger took up rowing at the University of Edinburgh in 1993 and represents Edinburgh's St Andrew Boat Club and/or Marlow Rowing Club in rowing events. She trained on the River Dee.

She first won silver at Sydney in 2000 in the woman's quadruple sculls with Guin Batten, Gillian Lindsay and Miriam Batten losing to a German team. Four years later in Athens in 2004, she won silver again when she took part in the coxless pairs with Cath Bishop, losing to Georgeta Damian and Viorica Susanu of Romania. She returned to the quadruple sculls in Beijing 2008, when she won her third silver with Annabel Vernon, Debbie Flood and Frances Houghton, narrowly losing to China after taking the lead for some of the race. On 3 August 2012, she won an Olympic gold medal at London in the double sculls with Anna Watkins. At the 2016 Olympics, she won a silver medal in double sculls with Vicky Thornley.

Grainger has won eight medals at the World Championships. The first of these was a bronze in 1997 in the eight, then a gold with Bishop in 2003, a gold in 2005 with the quadruple scull, with Houghton, Sarah Winckless, and Rebecca Romero, and in 2006 her quadruple scull were promoted to gold following a drugs test on the winning Russian crew. This quad had Debbie Flood instead of Romero, who had retired after the 2005 world championships.

Another gold came in 2007, again in the quadruple sculls, with Annabel Vernon replacing the injured Sarah Winckless. In 2009, having switched to the single scull after the Beijing Olympics, Grainger claimed a surprise silver at the World Championships in Poland. In 2010, Grainger teamed up with Anna Watkins in the Double Sculls and they embarked on an unbeaten season, culminating in victory in November in the World Championships in Lake Karapiro, New Zealand and then defending the title in an injury disrupted season in 2011, in Bled, Slovenia.

She has won the Rowing World Cup in the Quadruple Sculls in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2010 and the Double Sculls in 2010, 2011 and 2012.

On 14 March 2015 Grainger was part of the composite crew that won the Women's Eights Head of the River Race on the River Thames in London, setting a time of 18:58.6 for the 4 1⁄4-mile (6.8 km) Championship Course from Mortlake to Putney.[4]

Sports Administration[edit]

In April 2017 Grainger was appointed chair of UK Sport.[5]


She was elected President of the Edinburgh University Boat Club in 1996/97. She was elected the Edinburgh University Sports Union's female athlete of the winner (Eva Bailey Cup) in 1995/96 and 1996/97 and was inducted to the University's Sports Hall of Fame on 29 May 2008.

She was elected as honorary president of the Scottish Amateur Rowing Association in November 2005, and a steward of Henley Royal Regatta in 2008, only the third rower to be elected while still competing.[6]

She was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2006 Birthday Honours, Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2013 New Year Honours for services to rowing,[7][8] and Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in the 2017 New Year Honours for services to sport and charity.[1][9]

In March 2013, she became patron of the National Coastwatch Institution.[10]

In March 2015, Grainger was appointed as the fourth Chancellor of Oxford Brookes University, in a ceremony joined by her three predecessors Shami Chakrabarti CBE, Jon Snow and Baroness Helena Kennedy QC.[11]

In June 2017, Grainger was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Aberdeen.[12]

Charity work[edit]

Grainger is a serving board member of International Inspiration, a charity that promotes access to sport, play, and physical exercise for low and middle income families with children around the world. It is the first international development legacy initiative linked to an Olympic and Paralympic Games.[13] International Inspiration's board members include British broadcaster David Davies, former UK government minister Andrew Mitchell, and Sebastian Coe KBE.[14]

GB rowing team senior final trials results[edit]

  • 2015 - 2nd, Single Scull [15]
  • 2012 – 1st, Single Scull
  • 2011 – 2nd, Single Scull
  • 2004–2010 – 1st, Single Scull
  • 2001 – 1st, Double Scull
  • 1998 – 1st, Single Scull

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "New Year's Honours list 2017" (PDF). Gov.uk. Government Digital Service. 30 December 2016. p. 9. Retrieved 30 December 2016. 
  2. ^ "Katherine GRAINGER". Worldrowing.com. 1975-11-12. Retrieved 2016-08-11. 
  3. ^ "London 2012: Katherine Grainger on turning silver into gold". BBC Sport. 2012-04-12. Retrieved 2016-08-11. 
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 15 August 2013. Retrieved 2013-07-10. 
  5. ^ "Katherine Grainger: UK Sport names Olympic gold medallist as new chair". BBC Sport. 2017-04-21. Retrieved 2017-06-20. 
  6. ^ "BBC SPORT | Olympics | Grainger to row on in gold hunt". BBC News. 2008-12-12. Retrieved 2016-08-11. 
  7. ^ "No. 60367". The London Gazette (Supplement). 29 December 2012. p. 24. 
  8. ^ "2013 New Year's Honours" (PDF). Retrieved 29 December 2012. 
  9. ^ "No. 61803". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2016. p. N8. 
  10. ^ "New Patron For NCI". Retrieved 11 November 2015. 
  11. ^ "Welcoming our new Chancellor on an extra special day. - Oxford Brookes University". Brookes.ac.uk. 2015-03-24. Retrieved 2016-08-11. 
  12. ^ https://plus.google.com/+universityofaberdeen/posts/6ZBusHeCULd
  13. ^ "Committed to human and social development". International Inspiration. Retrieved 2016-08-11. 
  14. ^ "Meet the board". International Inspiration. Archived from the original on 21 October 2014. Retrieved 1 December 2014. 
  15. ^ "Gregory and Sbihi are top guns in Boston". British Rowing. Retrieved 11 November 2015. 

External links[edit]

Academic offices
Preceded by
Shami Chakrabarti
Chancellor of Oxford Brookes University
Succeeded by