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  • Writer's picturePhil Packer

Dame Katherine Grainger DBE joins Row Britannia

With Olympic silver at Rio 2016, gold at London 2012 to add to her silver medals from Sydney in 2000, Athens in 2004, and Beijing in 2008, as well as six world championships titles in her collection, Katherine is Britain’s most decorated female Olympic athlete and the first British woman to win medals at five successive games.

Katherine was born in Glasgow on the 12th November 1975.  She now lives by the Thames, near to the GB Rowing Squad base. She travels home to Scotland whenever possible where her family live in Edinburgh.

Katherine graduated in law from Edinburgh University, then went on to achieve an MPhil in Medical Law and Medical Ethics from Glasgow University, and in May 2013 completed a PhD in the sentencing of homicide at King’s College, University of London.

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.

She is the Honorary President of the Scottish Amateur Rowing Association and is a member of Edinburgh rowing club, St Andrew Boat Club and a member of Marlow Rowing Club. She is also an honorary life member of Aberdeen Boat Club.

In December 2010 Katherine was excited to be awarded an honorary doctorate by The Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen. In June 2011 she was delighted to receive an honorary doctorate from her former university, Edinburgh University.

In 2012 Katherine’s dreams were realised when she won the elusive Olympic Gold medal alongside teammate Anna Watkins in the double sculls in London. She is Britain’s most successful female rower and the only female athlete – in any sport – to gain medals in four consecutive Olympic Games. Katherine was appointed Commander of the order of the British Empire (CBE) for services to rowing which was announced in the 2013 New Years Honours.

The end of 2014 saw a new chapter begin as Katherine returned to the GB Rowing squad and a demanding training regime. At the 2015 World Rowing Championships, Katherine and Victoria Thornley  (her new partner in the double scull) qualified the boat class for the Rio Olympic Games in 2016. On the 11 August 2016, Katherine became the most decorated female Olympian of all time winning a silver medal, narrowly missing the gold after leading for 3/4 of the race. For many who had not expected this pairing to even qualify for Rio, their result was outstanding and propelled Katherine into the history books.

In March 2015 Katherine was inaugurated as Chancellor of Oxford Brookes University, a role she will hold for a 7 year tenure. Katherine is eager to be part of shaping the future of the University and credits her own extensive time in academia for helping shape her rowing career.

To round off a most exceptional 20 year rowing career, Katherine was named ‘Dame Katherine Grainger’ in the 2017 New Years Honours List for services to rowing and charity.

Today she invests her considerable talents into the role of Chair at UK Sport, the UK’s high performance agency where she is building on the commitment to excellence that she witnessed as an athlete.

We are delighted that Dame Katherine has joined Row Britannia and look forward to visiting Oxford Brookes University on the 29th January 2020 between 9am and 1030am.

Dame Katherine Grainger DBE joins Row Britannia


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