« Back to keynote speakers

Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson DBE

Aim High

Session on Wednesday, Mar 01, 13:30
» Where on timetable


In a career spanning 5 Paralympic Games Tanni is one of Britain’s most successful athletes. She will discuss the reality of life as an elite athlete and the relentlessness of hard work in order to achieve your goals. She will discuss what personal success really means, whether it be winning medals, breaking world records or getting your children to school on time. She will also reflect on her transition through various stages of her career; from sport, to politics as an Independent Crossbench Peer, and as a campaigner for improved access to physical activity, trying to mobilise the most physically inactive generation of young people we have ever seen.


Early Life
Tanni was born on 26th July 1969 in Cardiff, Wales and christened ‘Carys Davina’. When her two-year-old sister, Sian, first sees her, she nicknamed her ‘tiny’, and very shortly afterwards it becomes Tanni.

Tanni attended Birchgrove Primary School in Cardiff and was determined to find out for herself what she could and could not do. Tanni’s parents were always supportive and encouraged her independent streak. After a long battle with the local authority they were able to secure a place at mainstream school. Tanni attended St Cyres Comprehensive in Penarth and it was here that she first discovered an interest in sports.

After trying a range of sports Tanni realised at age 13 that Wheelchair Racing was her sport of choice. In her last year as a junior athlete she won the Junior National title over 100m and at 17 she became part of the British Wheelchair Racing Squad.

Sporting Career
Tanni’s first Paralympics was Seoul in 1988, where she won a bronze medal in the 400m.

In 1992 she claimed victory in the London Wheelchair Marathon, the first of six wins over her career and then went on to the Barcelona Paralympics, where she won four gold medals in the 100m, 200m, 400m and 800 metres and a silver in the 4x100m relay. It was at Barcelona that Tanni became the first women to break the 60 second barrier for 400m.

Tanni won the 800 metres gold in the 1996 Atlanta Paralympics along with three silver medals in the 100, 200 and 400 metres.

At the 2000 Sydney Paralympics, Tanni returned won another four gold medals in the 100m, 200m, 400m and 800 metres.

Her final Paralympic Games as an athlete was Athens 2004, where she won gold in the 100m and 400m taking her medal tally to 11 golds.

Her total Paralympic Medal tally is 11 gold, 4 silvers and 1 bronze and added to that 5 gold, 4 silver and 3 bronze medals at World Championships.

Over her career, Tanni broke 30 World Records on the track.

Present Day
Tanni married Dr Ian Thompson on 1st May 1999 at St John’s Church, Cardiff followed by a honeymoon in Sempach, Switzerland as it was good for training.

Daughter Carys was born in February 2002. At the age of 2 she saw her mum win her last two gold medals at the Athens Paralympic Games and was often seen at the side of the track supporting her mum and dad whenever they competed. These days Carys herself is involved in sport and Tanni and Ian have become the taxi drivers and support team.

Tanni has continued to be involved in sport and physical activity. She is a Board Member of the London Marathon, the Sportsaid Foundation, the Duke of Edinburgh Awards and Join In. In addition to this she is also a Board Member of several organisations including Transport for London, the London Legacy Development Corporation and the London 2017 Organising Committee.

In 2010 Tanni became an Independent Crossbench Peer in the House of Lords, taking the title Baroness Grey-Thompson of Eaglescliffe in the County of Durham. As a working peer Tanni uses her experience and knowledge during debates in the House and she has spoken on a range of issues including Disability Rights, Welfare Reform, and of course, Sport.

Tanni has received numerous accolades and awards in recognition of her Paralympic and sporting achievements.

Named as Chancellor of Northumbria University

St David’s Awards Winner


Appointed to the House of Lords as a Crossbench peer

Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Awarded Honorary Freedom of the Borough of Redcar and Cleveland

BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year (also 1992, 2000)

Awarded Honorary Freedom of the City and County of Cardiff
Inducted in to the BWSF Hall of Fame

Voted ‘UK Sporting Hero’ by UK SPORT
Elected to the Laureus World Sport Academy

Sunday Times Sports Woman of the Year, Helen Rollason Award
BBC Sports Personality of the Year – Helen Rollason Award (2000)
Sportswriters Award
Welsh Woman of the Year Award
Welsh Sportswoman of the Year
Best Welsh Sportswoman of 50 years
Pride of Britain – Special Award

Awarded MBE
Sunday Times Sportswoman of the Year
Sports Writers Association female disabled athlete of the year

Shopping Cart

Your shopping cart is empty
Visit the shop

   EMCCouncil on Twitter EMCCouncil on Facebook EMCCouncil on Linkedin EMCCouncil on YouTube