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  • Writer's picturePhil Packer

Olympian, Sally Gunnell OBE DL, continues to support the BRIT Ambassador family & BRIT Challenge

Sally remains the only woman ever to hold four major track titles concurrently – Olympic, World, European and Commonwealth. She has been a great friend and support of BRIT for many years. We are delighted Sally continues to part of our BRIT Ambassador family and is championing the annual BRIT Challenge.

“Young adults struggling with mental health difficulties are highly likely to be even more vulnerable due to the COVID-19 crisis and the BRIT Challenge is an inspiring opportunity for students at every university, college and specialist college to be part of a UK-wide feelgood February fundraising challenge to both raise vital funds for charities and improve their mental health and fitness. I know there are hundreds of current and retired Olympians, Paralympians, Sporting Personalities, Adventurers and Explorers who understand the challenges of mental health. By joining our BRIT Ambassador family, championing the BRIT Challenge and sharing their lived experience at a university or college of their choice, they will have an extraordinary impact on supporting and improving student mental health and fitness. There are over 450 universities and colleges in the UK, so we need a collectively powerful team effort from athletes from every sport to come forward and ensure every institution has a BRIT Ambassador to help increase participation, promote inclusivity and destigmatise mental health. I’m delighted to support BRIT as an Ambassador in Sussex and look forward to encouraging students at The University of Sussex and the University of Brighton should they take on the BRIT Challenge.” Sally Gunnell OBE DL Olympic, World, European and Commonwealth Gold Medallist

Sally Gunnell OBE DL with her sons (& athletes) Luca (left) and Finlay (right)

In 1989, Sally took Gold at the European Cup 400m flat race in Gateshead; her speed, endurance and mental toughness were becoming apparent. She won the 1990 Commonwealth Games 400m hurdles title in Auckland; Sally had found her perfect event and grew rapidly in stature.

Tokyo’s 1991 World Championships could so easily have brought her the Gold medal; in the lead at the penultimate hurdle, she glanced across at one of her rivals. That uncharacteristic split second of mental diversion left her with the Silver and a burning sense of disappointment. Sally returned to the track’s biggest stage in 1992; the Barcelona Olympics. Months of hard graft paid off and she won Olympic Gold.

Sally worked even harder during the off-season of 1992/3, building in a raft of changes to her nutrition, physical, and technical training; nothing was left to chance. But on arrival in Germany for the World Championships in Stuttgart, Sally developed a heavy cold. Such was her state of illness the night before the race that she called a press conference to announce her withdrawal. At the last minute, she had a change of heart and pulled the conference. This proved to be an excellent decision; although feeling well below par, Sally stormed to the Gold, setting a new World Record in the process.

Although her later career was blighted by injury, eventually coming to an end in 1997, Sally’s achievements in ’92 and ’93 assured her place in the history books. No other woman has held Commonwealth, European, World, and Olympic track titles concurrently.

Following her retirement from international athletics, Sally developed a new career as a television presenter and inspirational speaker. She has written four books on fitness, health, self-fulfilment, and wellbeing.

Today, she mixes keynote speaking and running corporate wellbeing programmes. She is also a high-profile supporter of healthy and active family initiatives in the UK.

To read more about Sally, please visit her website.

You can follow Sally on Twitter or Instagram.

(Sally's photo is credited to


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