Tanni Grey-Thompson, UK
One of the most recognisable figures of the early Paralympic movement, Wales’ Tanni Grey-Thompson continues to expand her influence as a champion for sport, disability rights and social issues in all spheres of life. Spina bifida – a defect of the backbone – never affected her outlook on life as a child growing up in Wales and, by the end of her career as a wheelchair racer in 2007, she had won 17 Paralympic medals and held 30 world records. Grey-Thompson’s stature as a public figure is as powerful as ever since retirement, now wielding a direct influence in British politics as a life peer in the House of Lords.
– Won 11 gold medals across four Paralympic Games (Barcelona 1992, Atlanta 1996, Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004).
– Was asked by the UCI to participate on a three-person commission to investigate the Lance Armstrong doping scandal in 2012.
– One of 66 living ‘sporting legends’ to be a member of the Laureus World Sports Academy, which promotes social change through sport.
Did you know…
Grey-Thompson’s first name is Carys, but Tanni stuck ever since her sister called her ‘tiny’ after seeing her for the first time.
“People come up to me and say: ‘Oh, wow! How do you cope with being in a wheelchair?’ but there’s not ever a bit of me that thinks, ‘I wish I could walk!’, because walking wouldn’t give me anything I don’t have now.” – Tanni Grey-Thompson
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