Carys Davina Grey-Thompson, Baroness Grey-Thompson, (born 26 July 1969), known as Tanni Grey-Thompson, is a Welsh politician, television presenter and former wheelchair racer. She has also been the Chancellor of Northumbria University since July 2015.
The Baroness Grey-Thompson
Grey-Thompson in 2018
|Member of the House of Lords|
|Assumed office |
23 March 2010
Carys Davina Grey
26 July 1969
|Political party||None (crossbencher)|
|Spouse(s)||Ian Thompson (1999-present)|
|Alma mater||Loughborough University|
|Occupation||Politician; athlete; TV personality|
|Now coaching||Jade Jones|
Grey-Thompson was born with spina bifida and is a wheelchair user. She is one of the most successful disabled athletes in the UK. She graduated from Loughborough University in 1991 with a BA (Hons) degree in Politics and Social Administration.
Grey-Thompson's Paralympic career started in the 100m at the Junior National Games for Wales in 1984.
Her international career began in 1988 in Seoul, where she won a bronze medal in the 400m. As a young athlete she also competed in wheelchair basketball. Her fifth and last Paralympic Games were in Athens (2004) where she won two gold medals in wheelchair racing in the 100m and 400m. In total in her Paralympic career she won 16 medals (11 gold, four silver and a bronze) and also 13 World Championship medals (six gold, five silver and two bronze).
On 27 February 2007 Grey-Thompson announced her pending retirement, with her last appearance for Great Britain at May's Paralympic World Cup in Manchester.
In preparation for her retirement from the track, she expanded her television presenting career on BBC Wales and S4C, as well as BBC One. During her competitive career she sat on the board of the National Disability Council, The Sports Council for Wales, the English Lottery Awards Panel and UK Sport., and also sat for three years on the Mission 2012 panel (part of UK Sport).
Grey-Thompson currently sits on the board of the London Marathon (2007), the board of Transport for London (since 2008) and the London Legacy Development Corporation. She is Chair of the Women's Sports and Fitness Foundation Commission on the Future of Women's Sport. She chairs the board of ukactive.
Grey-Thompson is patron of numerous charities including Sportsleaders UK, a trustee of V, the Duke of Edinburgh Awards scheme, Sportsaid Foundation and the Wembley Stadium Legacy Trust. She is an Academy member of the Laureus World Sport Academy and a trustee of the Sport for Good Foundation. She is also a Council member for the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust and an International Inspiration Ambassador.
In July 2011 Grey-Thompson was announced as the President of the Leadership 20:20 Commission, the Commission on the future leadership of Civil Society. She launched the Commission's recommendations in Parliament on 14 December 2011.
On 23 March 2010, Grey-Thompson was created a Life Peer on the recommendation of the House of Lords Appointments Commission (HOLAC). Despite previously suggesting a desire for a title with a Welsh connection, her title was conferred as Baroness Grey-Thompson, of Eaglescliffe in the County of Durham on 23 March 2010.
In 1993 she was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for "services to sport", advanced in 2000 to Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) again for "services to sport" and then in 2005 was promoted to Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE).
She has received numerous honorary degrees including Honorary Doctorates from Oxford University, Oxford Brookes University, the University of Greenwich, Bath University, Newcastle University, Liverpool John Moores, the University of Leicester, Sheffield Hallam University, University of Hull, University of Exeter, Heriot Watt University, the Open University, University of Wales Newport, the University of Wales, Leeds Metropolitan University, Loughborough University (both a Master and Doctorate), Teesside University, York and Ripon College, University of Swansea, University of Glamorgan, UWIC, University of Surrey, Southampton University, Manchester Metropolitan University, Staffordshire University and Cardiff University. Grey-Thompson received a Lifetime Achievement Award and another Honorary Doctorate from the University of East London in May 2011, at the university's annual Sports Award evening held at West Ham United's Upton Park stadium.
Grey-Thompson was named the BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year three times; in 1992, 2000 and 2004. In 2000, she came third in the BBC Sports Personality of the Year, behind Steve Redgrave and Denise Lewis. That year she also received the Helen Rollason Award for her performance at the 2000 Summer Paralympics. In August 2009, she was made a member of the Gorsedd at the 2009 National Eisteddfod in Bala, Gwynedd. On 15 December 2019 she won the BBC Sports Lifetime Achievement Award.
Willenhall School Sports College, West Midlands has named a house in her honour, where each of the eight houses is named after influential sports stars and local heroes. Roundwood Park School set up a house system in 2011. In July 2012, the blue house became Grey-Thompson house.
In July 2013, she received another honorary Doctor of Science (HonDSc) in recognition of her outstanding service to disability and to disadvantaged people, and to her promotion of sport and the Paralympics.
In January 2019, she was chosen as a contender for the "Greatest Person of the 20th Century" in the BBC Icons series but did not proceed beyond the 'Sports Stars' heat.
Grey-Thompson attended St Cyres Comprehensive School. She is married to Ian Thompson, a research chemist and former wheelchair athlete. They live at Eaglescliffe, County Durham; they have one daughter.
Her autobiography Seize the Day was published by Hodder and Stoughton in 2001.
She is a patron of Zoё's Place Baby Hospice, a charity for sick babies and young children. Grey-Thompson is also patron of the Guernsey Disability Alliance.
Paralympic World Cup medals
Styles and honours
- Ms Tanni Grey, MBE (1993-1999)
- Mrs Tanni Grey-Thompson, MBE (1999-2000)
- Mrs Tanni Grey-Thompson, OBE (2000-2005)
- Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson, DBE (2005-2010)
- The Baroness Grey-Thompson, DBE (2010–2012)
- The Baroness Grey-Thompson DBE, DL (2012–present)
Note - #^ British Disabled Flying Association (2005). Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson OBE, MBE – new patron for the BDFA. Retrieved 31 December 2005
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