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  • Writer's picturePhil Packer

Olympian, Sally Gunnell OBE DL, joins our BRIT Ambassador family & supports the BRIT 2021 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 and we are delighted that she has joined the BRIT Ambassador family.

“Young adults struggling with mental health difficulties are highly likely to be even more vulnerable due to the COVID-19 crisis with increased feelings of isolation and loneliness. BRIT is inviting young adults to participate in a UK-wide fundraising challenge to both raise vital funds for mental health charities and improve their mental health and fitness. I know there are hundreds of current and retired Olympians, Paralympians and Sporting Icons who understand the challenges of mental health and, by joining us as ambassadors, will seize this extraordinary opportunity to support and inspire young adults by visiting a university or college of their choice and championing the BRIT 2021 Challenge. There are 450 universities and colleges in the UK so we need a collectively powerful team effort from sporting icons to come forward and ensure every institution has a BRIT Ambassador supporting young adult 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 during their BRIT 2021 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.

(Sally's photo is credited to


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