Anna Watkins, speaker

Anna Watkins

Rowing champion, winning Gold at the Olympics and setting an Olympic record.

Olympic gold medalist and record breaker, Anna Watkins is one of the world's undisputed rowing champions.

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Speaker Profile

About Anna Watkins

Since discovering her rowing ability, Anna Watkins has rapidly become one of the sport's best known and most successful competitors. In 2012 she cemented her place in sporting history at the London Olympics, winning gold in the double scull event and earning the nickname 'Alchemist' for enabling her rowing partner to turn her silver medals to gold.

  • Champion rower
  • Won Gold in the double sculls at the London 2012 Olympics
  • Set an Olympic record
  • Member of the UK Rowing Squad

Approachable, dedicated and multi-talented, Anna Watkins shares her experiences in order to inspire others, tailoring her talks to best suit each audience.

Currently a member of the GB Rowing Team, Anna Watkins fist discovered rowing whilst studying Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridges Newnham College. Finding that she had a natural ability and a love for the sport, she began to train regularly and to take part in competitions. Initially competing successfully in a variety of disciplines, Watkins has since primarily focused on double scull events.

Along with her Olympic rowing partner, Katherine Grainger, Watkins became increasingly successful and well known. The pair were dedicated, motivated and diligent and performed well together; it was only natural that they focused their efforts in a bid for Olympic success, an accolade all the more desirable for the fact that the 2012 Games were to be held in London. Prior to achieving the dream medal, Watkins and Grainger set an Olympic record with a time of 6:44.33 in the preliminary heats.

Before this Olympic victory, Watkins rowing career had been going from strength to strength; with podium places in all World Championships since 2007, she had also won a Bronze medal in the double sculls at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 (with Elise Laverick). This close race made Watkins yet more determined to strive for first place in the future there was only a 0.3 second gap between her and Lavericks time and that of the gold medalists.

Career Achievements

  • 2012 Olympic Games, London Gold (Double Sculls)
  • 2011 World Cup, Lucerne - Gold (Double Sculls)
  • 2011 GB Rowing Team Senior Trials Gold (Single Sculls)
  • 2010 World Cup, Lucerne - Gold (Double Sculls)
  • 2010 World Cup, Lucerne - Gold (Quadruple Sculls)
  • 2010 World Cup, Munich - Gold (Double Sculls)
  • 2010 World Cup, Munich - Silver (Quadruple Sculls)
  • 2010 World Cup, Bled Gold (Double Sculls)
  • 2010 World Cup, Bled Gold (Quadruple Sculls)
  • 2010 World Rowing Championships Gold (Double Sculls)
  • 2009 World Rowing Championships Silver (Double Sculls)
  • 2008 Olympic Games, Beijing Bronze (Double Sculls)
  • 2007 World Rowing Championships Bronze (Double Sculls)
  • 2006 World Rowing Championships 4th (Double Sculls)
  • 2005 World Rowing Championships 5th (Eights)
  • 2005 World Rowing Under 23 Championships Bronze (Coxless Pairs)
  • 2004 World Rowing Under 23 Championships Gold (Coxless Pairs)

Watkins is a member of the GB Rowing Team and is also undertaking a Ph.D. in mathematics, proving that it is possible to pursue both sporting and academic goals. Having come from a modest background to achieve worldwide sporting fame and attend the prestigious Cambridge University, Watkins is keen to share the secrets of her inner drive and motivation with others.

Now an accomplished public speaker, her confidence and approachable personality have made her a popular choice for organisations of all kinds. Some of her previous clients include Visa, Nationwide, The Sunday Times, Siemens, the NHS, the Chartered Management Institute and a number of county councils. She visits schools and charities, sharing her experiences and sunny disposition, and has appeared on numerous television and radio shows, including Womans Hour, Newsnight and A Question of Sport.

Positions and Honours

  • MBE (2013)
  • World Rowing Crew of the Year - Womens Double Sculls, World Rowing Awards (with Katherine Grainger) (2010)
  • World Rowing Crew of the Year - Womens Double Sculls, World Rowing Awards (with Katherine Grainger) (2012)

Speaking Topics

  • Peak performance
  • Teamwork


"Her achievements are fantastic and her approach so down to earth. Anna did have a unique story to tell and a unique approach that was so pertinent to the mission of the NHS institute." - NHS

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