Sharron Davies

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Sharron Davies
MBE
Sharron Davies.jpg
Personal information
Full nameSharron Elizabeth Davies
National teamGreat Britain
Born (1962-11-01) 1 November 1962 (age 59)
Plymouth, Devon, UK
Height5 ft 11 in (180 cm)
Weight10 st 6 lb (66 kg)
Sport
SportSwimming
StrokesFreestyle, individual medley
ClubPortsmouth Northsea SC
Medal record
Women's swimming
Representing  Great Britain
Olympic Games
Silver medal – second place 1980 Moscow 400 m medley
European Championships (LC)
Bronze medal – third place 1977 Jönköping 400 m medley
Bronze medal – third place 1977 Jönköping 4×100 m freestyle
Representing  England
Commonwealth Games
Gold medal – first place 1978 Edmonton 200 m medley
Gold medal – first place 1978 Edmonton 400 m medley
Silver medal – second place 1978 Edmonton 4×100 m freestyle
Silver medal – second place 1990 Auckland 4×200 m freestyle
Bronze medal – third place 1978 Edmonton 4×100 m medley
Bronze medal – third place 1990 Auckland 4×100 m freestyle

Sharron Elizabeth Davies, MBE (born 1 November 1962) is an English former competitive swimmer who represented Great Britain in the Olympics and European championships[1] and competed for England in the Commonwealth Games. Davies has attended 12 consecutive Olympic Games, competing in three games[2] and then working in the media for the BBC Sport.

She competed in three Olympic Games[2] over three decades, 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, in an international career spanning over 20 years.

Since retiring from the sport, she has worked for various media organisations and programmes. In 2005, Davies supported the British Olympic bid by profile-raising and appearing as spokesperson on BBC's Question Time where she made a strong case for bringing the games to London for 2012. Davies is a current patron of the Disabled Sport England and SportsAid. She was also the face of the Swim for Life charity event which raised total over £10m for many charities.

Early life[edit]

Davies was born in Plymouth, Devon, and grew up in Plymouth and Plymstock. She has twin brothers. She attended Plymstock Comprehensive School and the independent school Kelly College, which is now known as Mount Kelly, in Tavistock.[3]

She originally learnt to swim with Devonport Royal Swimming Association. She moved to Port of Plymouth Swimming Association when she was eight and was coached for the first year first by Ray Bickley then by her father Terry Davies who became a coach.[4][5] Her father was never selected as an international coach because he spoke out about East German cheating. He was added in 2021 to the Coaches Association Hall of Fame.[5]

Swimming[edit]

She learned to swim at the age of six and was training seriously two years later.[citation needed]

She set a record by swimming for the British national team at the age of 11. In 1976, at age 13, Davies was selected to represent Great Britain at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal. The next year she won two bronze medals in the 1977 European Championships. The following year, at age 15, she won gold medals at the Commonwealth Games in the 200 and 400-metre individual medleys and also a silver and a bronze medal.[citation needed]

In the 1980 Olympics, Davies took the silver medal in the 400 m individual medley behind East German Petra Schneider, who later admitted that the victory was drug enhanced.[6]

At 18, Davies called time on the first stage of her swimming career to build her television profile and a career in modelling. In 1989, and training at Bracknell & Wokingham Swimming Club, she returned to the pool, where she picked up two more medals at the 1990 Commonwealth Games. By the time she finally retired for good in 1994, she had been a British champion on 22 occasions and had broken two hundred British swimming records and 5 World Masters records (eligible to those over 30).[citation needed]

Medals and awards[edit]

Davies has broken or re broken many British records whilst competing and winning[7][8] For medals table see right.

Davies held the Commonwealth Record for 400-metre individual medley for 18 years. She has also been a World Masters Record Holder.[12]

In the latest development in the long story of the East German state-run doping programme, The Times broke the news in 2021 that there is a possibility that the bronze and silver medals won may be upgraded to Gold.[13]

At the ASA National British Championships she won 22 titles - the 100 metres freestyle title in 1978, 200 metres freestyle title in 1977 and 1978, 400 metres freestyle title in 1977, 1978 and 1979, 800 metres freestyle title in 1978, 200 metres backstroke title in 1976, 1977 and 1978, 200 metres medley title in 1976, 1977, 1978, 1980, 1989 and 1992, 400 metres medley title in 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979 and 1980 and the 50 metres butterfly title in 1992.[14][15][16][17][18][19][20]

In the 1993 New Year Honours, Davies was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire "for services to swimming".[21]

Bronze statue of a mermaid, modelled by Davies, on the sea wall of the Royal Yacht Squadron, Cowes, Isle of Wight.

Publications, media programmes and other work[edit]

  • In January 2022, she launched an online fitness site, Sharron Davies Training.[22]
  • Swimming biography Against the Tide published in 1984[23]
  • Dorling & Kindersley’s popular learn to swim in a weekend (which has been translated into multiple languages)
  • Channel 4 television comedy series The Optimist, in an episode that was filmed entirely on location on Mexico
  • This Morning - presenting a mums and babies learning to swim series on ITV
  • BBC Question time – discussing the Winning Olympic Bid for London 2012 which Davies was part of.
  • 1996 Presented Channel 4's Big Breakfast
  • 1995 she joined ITV's Gladiators being given the nickname Amazon
  • Presenter of Ace Reports, ITV's version of Blue Peter.
  • Survived on Bear Gryll's The Island.
  • Competed on ITV's Dancing on Ice
  • 1981 BBC series Sporting Superstars
  • Guest dart player, throwing for charity, on British game show Bullseye.
  • Presenting and commentating on swimming coverage for the BBC (extended to other sports for the Atlanta and Sydney Olympics.)
  • 2008 with Jim Rosenthal on Five's latest revival of the long running celebrity sports competition Superstars.[24]
  • 2010 - ITV series Dancing on Ice, partnered by regular participant Pavel Albrecht. She was eliminated on 21 February 2010 (Week 7 of the series).
  • Ski tuition video with world champion Franz Klammer, alongside fellow swimmer Duncan Goodhew.
  • 1994 – a "British Girls of Sport" calendar (wearing sexy outfits to raise money for the Sports Aid Foundation).
  • She was also a presenter at London's Olympics Handover Party in the Mall.

Personal life[edit]

In the 1980s, Davies lived with and was engaged to Neil Adams[25] an Olympic and World Championship medallist in judo.

Davies then married gym manager John Crisp in West Sussex in 1987. They were divorced in 1991.[26]

In 1992, she met athlete Derek Redmond at the Barcelona Olympics. In 1994 they were married in Northampton, and had two children. They divorced in 2000.[27]

Davies's third marriage was to British Airways pilot Tony Kingston.[28][better source needed] They were married in 2002 in Gloucestershire.[29][failed verification] In autumn 2006, she announced that she was three months pregnant after 8 rounds of IVF treatment, having been trying for a baby for four years and suffering two miscarriages. During a Sport Relief event in Devon, she said: "We’re very optimistic and happy but we're cautious, too, because of what we have been through. Giving birth at 44 doesn’t worry me. So many women go through this as they leave it later to have babies." Davies gave birth to her third child on 30 January 2007. She split up with Kingston after seven years of marriage in 2009.[30]

Davies is a supporter of the Conservative Party and endorsed Kemi Badenoch in the 2022 leadership election.[31]

Trans women in sport[edit]

In 2019, Davies said that trans women should not be able to participate in female sporting competitions, saying that trans women have a biological advantage in sports. Cyclist Veronica Ivy, who is a trans woman, said that Davies' comments were transphobic and that trans women did not have an unfair advantage.[32] Davies' words were supported by Olympic medal-winning sports people including Sally Gunnell, Nicola Adams, and Kelly Holmes.[33]

In 2022, Davies again said that trans women have a biological advantage over cisgender women, stating that there is a potential biological male performance advantage at the elite level of 10-20% over cisgender females. Davies called for women's sport to exclude XY chromosome athletes.[34] In March, she wrote a column for The Times arguing that "trans women's" advantage is the result of going through male puberty, resulting in narrower angle between the hips and knees which testosterone reduction does not eliminate, and called for trans women to compete in an open category rather than being excluded from competition entirely.[35] In the same article, she stated: "This month we saw an athlete, Lia Thomas, who was an average club swimmer as a man claim an NCAA title as the US No 1 woman with 20 years of male development in the tank."[35]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Searcey, Ian (27 July 2012). "Olympic archive: Sharron Davies (1977)". Channel 4 News. Archived from the original on 28 February 2022. Retrieved 28 February 2022.
  2. ^ a b c "Sharron Davies - Olympics". Olympics. Archived from the original on 28 February 2022. Retrieved 27 February 2022.
  3. ^ "Mount Kelly Swimming". Mount Kelly Boarding and Day School. Archived from the original on 10 September 2016. Retrieved 21 May 2015.
  4. ^ Raymond, Clare (30 November 1998). "Interview: I do want to swim in the Olympics.. but I will not let dad bully me the way he did Sharron; EXCLUSIVE: THE LENGTHS A SISTER WILL GO TO FOR FAME". Daily Mirror. Archived from the original on 28 February 2022. Retrieved 28 February 2022 – via The Free Library.
  5. ^ a b "Hall of Fame | British Swimming Coaches Association". British Swimming Coaches Association. Archived from the original on 5 February 2022. Retrieved 28 February 2022.
  6. ^ "Schneider Fesses Up". Swimming World. 13 April 1998. Archived from the original on 16 July 2011. Retrieved 21 May 2015.
  7. ^ "Davies underlines return with new British record". HeraldScotland. Archived from the original on 28 February 2022. Retrieved 28 February 2022.
  8. ^ "Sharron Davies". The National Vintage Games. Archived from the original on 27 July 2021. Retrieved 28 February 2022.
  9. ^ "England Edmonton 1978 | Commonwealth Games Federation". thecgf.com. Archived from the original on 28 February 2022. Retrieved 28 February 2022.
  10. ^ "England Auckland 1990 | Commonwealth Games Federation". thecgf.com. Archived from the original on 4 April 2019. Retrieved 28 February 2022.
  11. ^ Searcey, Ian (27 July 2012). "Olympic archive: Sharron Davies (1977)". Channel 4 News. Archived from the original on 28 February 2022. Retrieved 28 February 2022.
  12. ^ "Sharron Davies". The National Vintage Games. Archived from the original on 27 July 2021. Retrieved 28 February 2022.
  13. ^ Lord, Craig. "Sharron Davies in line for gold medal 41 years later as swimming chief Husain al-Musallam vows to confront Olympic doping". ISSN 0140-0460. Archived from the original on 28 February 2022. Retrieved 28 February 2022.
  14. ^ ""Swimming." Times, 25 July 1977, p. 6". Times Digital Archive. Archived from the original on 27 July 2022. Retrieved 29 September 2019.
  15. ^ "Hennessy, John. "Swimming." Times, 29 May 1978, p. 12". Times Digital Archive. Archived from the original on 27 July 2022. Retrieved 29 September 2019.
  16. ^ "Hennessy, John. "Swimming." Times, 30 May 1978, p. 6". Times Digital Archive. Archived from the original on 27 July 2022. Retrieved 29 September 2019.
  17. ^ "Hennessy, John. "Swimming." Times, 24 May 1980, p. 17". Times Digital Archive. Archived from the original on 27 July 2022. Retrieved 29 September 2019.
  18. ^ "Hennessy, John. "Swimming." Times, 26 May 1980, p. 11". Times Digital Archive. Archived from the original on 27 July 2022. Retrieved 29 September 2019.
  19. ^ "Downes, Steven. "Selectors juggle numbers for Bonn." Times, 17 July 1989, p. 31". Times Digital Archive. Archived from the original on 27 July 2022. Retrieved 29 September 2019.
  20. ^ ""Results from Sheffield." Times, 15 June 1992, p. 28". Times Digital Archive. Archived from the original on 27 July 2022. Retrieved 29 September 2019.
  21. ^ "No. 53153". The London Gazette (Supplement). 30 December 1992. pp. 12–13.
  22. ^ Ball, Elliot (10 January 2022). "Olympian Sharron Davies launches new online training class". PlymouthLive. Archived from the original on 11 January 2022. Retrieved 4 April 2022.
  23. ^ "Amazon - Against the Tide Hardcover". Amazon. Archived from the original on 28 February 2022. Retrieved 28 February 2022.
  24. ^ "Superstars twinkle with 1.3m". broadcastnow.co.uk. Retrieved 21 May 2015.
  25. ^ "The water babe". The Daily Telegraph. 29 August 2004. Archived from the original on 19 May 2015. Retrieved 21 May 2015.
  26. ^ Eden, Richard (19 September 2009). "Olympic swimmer Sharron Davies separates from her third husband". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 26 May 2015. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
  27. ^ "Olympic swimmer Sharron Davies separates from her third husband". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 20 July 2015. Retrieved 10 August 2015.
  28. ^ "Make Christmas Villages easily with My Village". MyVillage. Archived from the original on 3 August 2008. Retrieved 20 November 2017.
  29. ^ "find my past". findmypast.com. Archived from the original on 4 November 2015. Retrieved 21 May 2015.
  30. ^ Fulton, Rick (23 January 2010). "Swimmer Sharron Davies hopes to prove Dancing on Ice critics wrong". Daily Record. Archived from the original on 6 February 2010. Retrieved 25 January 2010.
  31. ^ Sharron Davies MBE [@sharrond62] (13 July 2022). "I'm supporting @KemiBadenoch a fresh, brave & intelligent woman who's prepared to tackle issues head on so many have ignored for too long, total transparency & integrity. The @Conservatives party needs to vote for someone who will win at the ballot box & look forward #Kemi4PM" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  32. ^ "'Transgender athletes should not compete in women's sport'". BBC Sport. Archived from the original on 1 April 2022. Retrieved 1 April 2022.
  33. ^ "Former Olympian says transgender athletes should not compete in women's sport". The Independent. 3 March 2019. Archived from the original on 3 March 2019. Retrieved 3 March 2019.
  34. ^ "Sharron Davies on trans women in sport". BBC News. Archived from the original on 28 February 2022. Retrieved 28 February 2022.
  35. ^ a b Davies, Sharron (20 March 2022). "Sharron Davies: Injustice of transgender athletes has echo of the dopers I faced". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Archived from the original on 1 April 2022. Retrieved 1 April 2022.

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