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Baroness Tanni Grey Thompson is Britain’s most successful Paralympic athlete ever!
Tanni was born in 1969 in Cardiff & was christened Carys Davina. However, when her two year old sister first saw Carys she called her ‘tiny’ which subsequently became Tanni & the name stayed!
Tanni had to wear callipers & first use a wheelchair when she was seven & from the outset her parents supported and encouraged her independent streak. Teachers at BirchgrovePrimary School remember her as a little girl who was determined to find out for herself what she can & can’t do. She became an all-rounder at sports, enjoyed swimming, archery & horse riding.
Tanni first represented Great Britain in the 1988 Paralympics in Seoul where she won the 400m bronze. Unfortunately, spinal surgery forced Tanni to take a year out but at the 1992 Paralympics in Barcelona she stormed to victory winning four Gold medals in the 100m, 200m, 400m & 800 metres & a Silver in the 4 x 100m relay. After the Paralympics, Tanni went on to win her first of six London Wheelchair marathons.
Tanni’s other Paralympic wins include the 800m Gold in Atlanta (1996) along with three Silver medals in the 100m, 200m & 400 metres. Age 31, Tanni competed at the 2000 Sydney Paralympics winning Gold four times with the 100m, 200m, 400m & 800 metres. In Athens in 2004 she took first place in the 100m & 400 metres. Tanni’s Paralympic medal total is an astounding 11 Golds, 4 Silvers & 1 Bronze.
Tanni met her future husband at a national wheelchair racing squad & they married on 1st May 1999. Tanni says, “The National Championships are always the first week in May so we thought it would help us both remember our wedding anniversary”.
Tanni & Ian’s daughter, Carys was born in 2002 & whenever possible she accompanies her parents to various sporting events both in this country & abroad. Carys went to the 2008 Athens Paralympic Games to see her mum win her last two Gold medals.
Since her retirement, Tanni has continued to be involved in sport; she is a Director of UK Athletics & a member of the board of the London Marathon.
In 2008, Tanni was appointed as a member of Transport for London where she chairs the Environment, Corporate & Planning Panel & is also a member of the Surface Transport & Safety, Health & Environment Assurance Panels.
In 2010, Tanni was appointed to the House of Lords where she serves as a non-party political crossbench peer. She took the title Baroness Grey-Thompson of Eaglescliffe in the County of Durham. Tanni is a working peer & hopes to use her experience & knowledge to great effect in debates in the House. She’s most recently contributed in the Welfare Reform & Legal Aid Bill.
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