With Olympic silver in Rio 2016 to add to her gold at London 2012, silver medals from Sydney in 2000, Athens in 2004, and Beijing in 2008, plus six world championships titles in her collection, Katherine Grainger CBE is Britain's most successful female rower, and Britain’s most decorated female Olympian.
In a world far from elite sports, 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 2013 she completed a PhD in the sentencing of homicide at King's College, University of London.
Katherine was born in Glasgow and took up rowing at Edinburgh University in 1993. Making 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.
In November 2009, Katherine Grainger was named as Scottish Sportsperson of the Year and awarded the "Emirates Lonsdale Trophy" by Commonwealth Games Scotland, the first female to win this prestigious award, and in the process leaving such Scottish sporting luminaries as Andy Murray and Sir Chris Hoy in her wake. 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.
Since winning her Olympic Gold Katherine was short-listed for the 2012 BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award, had a post box in Aberdeen painted gold in her honour, appeared on the Superstars television show and began a career as a BBC pundit covering the Rowing World Cup events.
Katherine now lives by the Thames, near to the GB Rowing Squad base and is currently taking time out from the Squad, during which time she has completed her PhD and written her autobiography. She spends her spare time visiting schools and sports clubs and has also developed her natural talents as a motivational and after dinner speaker in which she tells a compelling tale of the journey to success. In 2017 she was appointed the Chair of UK Sport, and was announced as the head of the funding agency for elite sport.
Katherine Grainger was appointed Commander of the order of the British Empire (CBE) for services to rowing in the 2013 New Years Honours, and was subsequently made a Dame in the 2017 New Year’s Honours List.
Katherine Grainger is an impressive and accomplished motivational public speaker. She has an exciting story to tell and she tells it well in an inspirational and authoritative way. She excels when talking about the importance of teamwork, overcoming challenges, motivation, winning and communication.
She tailors her talks specifically to the occasion and takes any requirements needed for her clients into careful consideration.
Just a few of these clients include Bank of New York Mellon • Bank of Scotland • Lloyds TSB Bank • Energiser • Royal Bank of Scotland • The Financial Times & The Sunday Times • Goldman Sachs • Coca-Cola • BT • Dame Kelly Holmes Foundation • The Royal Society of Edinburgh • Hospitality Scotland – HIT Scotland Conference • England Women's Football Team • English Golf Union and Saracens Rugby Club.
Katherine Grainger's ability to engage and thrill both a young audience during the daytime and a wider public audience in the evening with her warm style and charisma was marvellous. Her willingness to spend time answering questions, having her photo taken and sharing her gold medal with the audiences was terrific. Katherine is an excellent speaker, a true ambassador for sport and a role model – not just for young people but for all.
Katherine is an iconic figure in the world of rowing. Her continual success for more than a decade elevates Katherine into a class of her own. She exemplifies a rare combination of athletic ability and determination to succeed that can only be seen in great champions.
Katherine gave an entertaining, inspiring and insightful presentation to our conference. She is an accomplished presenter and good conversationalist and we received very positive feedback from our guests. It was generous of Katherine to pass her Olympic Gold medal around the audience and she was very happy to stay on after her presentation to talk to our clients and have pictures taken with them. She is easy to work with and I would not hesitate in recommending her.
I never thought I'd see a room full of hundreds of hardened conference attendees so near to tears - which I did when Katherine Grainger talked fluently and inspiringly about the choices and decisions she made on the way to that incredible gold at the London Olympics.
The feedback from our 120-strong audience on the night was unanimous saying that Katherine was simply superb and fantastic (if indeed those two adjectives go together?). Her wonderful story was told so well, and of course it was so fresh in everyone's minds; the Olympic feel good factor was resurrected again and was riding high in the room. It was an absolute pleasure to meet with Katherine and what made the night even more special was the way Katherine stayed on after the event talking with and having photos taken with so many of our people.
Katherine, the feedback has been exceptional; to the man (and women) people have been complimenting, your style, your content, your willingness to share and be open. Not many people could come into a professional rugby club, hold an audience, post-six nations and hold the attention of young fidgety men.
I would like to thank you once again for addressing our members and guests in Brussels on Monday. On a personal level, I greatly enjoyed getting an insight into your career as a rower and learning of your phenomenal courage and determination in that ultimate quest towards Olympic Gold.Looking around the room at all the smiling, captivated faces and listening to the many questions from the audience, which could have gone on the rest of the evening, I have no doubt that everyone found you to be not only a great champion but also a wonderful human being, truly compelling.Your human adventure, your courage and perseverance over the years is a great example for all of us. But most of all, your passion and experience are a source of light and optimism in these times of crisis.
With the annual Oxbridge Boat Race, Torpids and Summer Eights rowing competitions taking over much of our lives, Katherine was welcomed with open arms to the Oxford Union by enthusiasts and casual observers alike. She was similarly open in return: warm, witty, honest and hugely engaging throughout. Her drive and determination also shone through when she spoke of her academic work, with all audience members finding something to relate to. Katherine was very generous with her audience, and everyone was delighted to find out just how heavy her medal actually was!By the end of the talk, you were hard pressed to find someone not tempted by the allure of lycra kit and an open river.
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