Dame Katherine Grainger DBE: Biography highlights

Dame Katherine Grainger DBE, Britain’s most decorated female Olympian, gaining medals in five consecutive Olympic Games.

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Full biography of Dame Katherine Grainger DBE

About Katherine Grainger

With five Olympic medals made up of one gold and four silver, Katherine is the only female athlete to ever gain medals in five consecutive Olympic Games. This honour saw her be announced in the 2013 New Year’s Honours as having been granted a CBE. Her ability to dominate in her sporting arena while also gaining a PhD at one of the top 25 universities in the world has cemented her status as one of the most in demand corporate speakers on the circuit.

Katherine took up rowing at Edinburgh University in 1993 and made such good progress she was awarded the Eva Bailey Trophy as their most outstanding female athlete in 1996 and again in 1997 when she won her first international Gold medal at the U23 World Rowing Championships.

Katherine 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. And, in Beijing 2008 she won her third silver, again in the Quadruple Sculls. At the London Olympics 2012, Katherine and Anna Watkins broke the Olympic record as they qualified for the Double Sculls final, before going on to win the gold medal. Katherine has also won eight medals at World Championships, between 1997 and 2011.

Other awards include, being named as Scottish Sportsperson of the Year and awarded the “Emirates Lonsdale Trophy” by Commonwealth Games Scotland in 2009. She’s also been elected to the British Olympic Association’s Athlete Commission and became a member of the Board for the charity ‘International Inspiration’. Grainger has been appointed as the chair of UK Sport for a term of four years.

Katherine has also appeared on multiple TV shows including an appearance on the ‘Superstars’ and guest appearances on ‘A Question of Sport’, ‘Countdown’ and ‘The Clare Balding Show’. She has also spent time working for the BBC as a co-presenter on the Rowing World Cup coverage, the BBC ‘Inspire’ series and as a pundit during the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Katherine is a highly sought-after keynote and after-dinner speaker. Excelling when talking of teamwork, overcoming challenges, motivation, winning and the importance of communication.



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After Dinner Engagement
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Watch Katherine in action

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Katherine Grainger MBE - British Rowing Hopeful London 2012 Olympics
Katherine Grainger MBE - British Rowing Hopeful London 2012 Olympics
Road to 2012: Setting Out - Katherine Grainger
Road to 2012: Setting Out - Katherine Grainger
Thomsons Online Benefits

“Katherine was one of the very best speakers I have ever heard speak, friendly to all my people and our clients, genuinely interested in other people’s eyes, incredibly authentic. People were made to feel very special in the presence of a true sporting superstar. I was completely blown away by her, and that rarely happens believe me!

She has made people think about their lives completely differently and the memory of her words will resonate with me for a very long time”

Michael Whitfield
The Royal Society of Edinburgh

“Katherine’s ability to engage and thrill both a young audience during the daytime and a wider public audience in the evening with her warm style and charisma was marvellous. Her willingness to spend time answering questions, having her photo taken and sharing her gold medal with the audiences was terrific.

Katherine is an excellent speaker, a true ambassador for sport and a role model – not just for young people but for all.”

Sir J P Arbuthnott MRIA PRSE FMedSci

Katherine's speaking topics

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