Katherine Grainger CBE

 Katherine Grainger CBE

At the 2012 Olympic Games in London, Katherine raced in the women's double scull with Anna Watkins. The duo won a fantastic gold medal, finishing over 2 seconds ahead of Australia.  Katherine, already a recipient of the MBE was made a CBE in the 2013 New Year Honours list.

Katherine was winner of "Olympian of the Year" at the Sunday Times Sportswomen of the Year Awards. This was just days after her and Anna Watkins were named as 2012 World Rowing Female Crew of the Year by FISA.

Olympic silver medallist in 2000, 2004 and 2008 and six times a World Champion, Katherine is GB's most successful Olympic female rower and was awarded an MBE in 2006 for services to rowing.

She was named the "Olympic Athlete of the Year" for 2010 for the sport of rowing, receiving the British Olympic Association's trophy at the GB Rowing Team Dinner.

During the 2012 World Cup season Katherine raced in the women's double scull with Anna Watkins winning gold at all 3 World Cups.

At the 2012 GB Rowing Team Senior Trials held on 10/11 March at Eton/Dorney, Katherine reclaimed her title as winner of the women's single scull.

At the 2011 World Rowing Championships in Bled, Katherine and crewmate Anna Watkins maintained their title as World Champions by leading their race from the start. Australia took silver and New Zealand the bronze.

In Munich at the first World Cup of 2011 Katherine with Melanie Wilson substituting for injured Anna Watkins won gold in the women's double, with clear water between them and the boats of USA and Belarus 1 in silver and bronze positions respectively. In Lucerne, Katherine was reunited with Anna Watkins to win gold again and to win the overall World Rowing Cup Series in the double.

At the 2011 GB Rowing Team Senior Trials held on 16-17 April at Eton/Dorney, Katherine was beaten into 2nd place in the women's single scull by her crewmate in the double, Anna Watkins, thereby breaking her 7-year unbeaten record.

Katherine and crewmate Anna Watkins in the women's double scull were named 2010 World Rowing Female Crew of the Year.  The duo, coached by Paul Thompson, were described by the sport's world governing body as the "perfect combination" and were praised for winning their world title in "dominating style" at the World Championships in New Zealand last November.

Unbeaten all year in the women's double scull, at the 2010 World Championships on Lake Karapiro, Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins played their role as favourites to perfection, taking the lead from the start and winning gold over six seconds ahead of second placed Australia with Poland in the bronze position.  A superb effort.

For the 2010 World Cup series Katherine raced in the women's double scull with Anna Watkins, and they then doubled up into the women's quad in tandem with Beth Rodford and Annabel Vernon for all three events.  In Bled Katherine took gold in both races, in Munich she won gold in the double and silver in the quad and in Lucerne again won gold in both boats.  This was an amazing achievement, bearing in mind that she had not much more than an hour to recover between races each time.

She won the women's singles title at the 2010 GB Rowing Team Senior Trials in Hazewinkel, taking her career Trials tally to nine.

Katherine took up rowing at Edinburgh University in 1993 and made such good progress she was awarded the Eva Bailey Trophy as their most outstanding female athlete in 1996 and again in 1997.  Her international rowing career took off in 1997 when she paired with Francesca Zino from Cambridge University and won the gold medal at the World U23 Championships, setting a new record for the event.  On their return home, they raced for seats in the senior eight and went on to compete in the World Championships where they won bronze and became the first women's eight ever to win a World Championship medal.

In 1999 Katherine raced in the quad, finishing 7th at the World Championships and the following year won silver with the quad at her first Olympic Games in Sydney.

In 2003 Katherine's partnership with Cath Bishop in the pair resulted in her first World title when they won gold at the World Championships in Milan in dramatic fashion, storming through the field from 4th to 1st in the last 600 metres and toppling the reigning World and Olympic champions from Romania.

The victory was a great breakthrough for British rowing and hopes were high that they could add Olympic gold in Athens. However, throughout the 2004 season they could not defeat the experienced Romanians. Despite an unimpressive performance in the heats, the British pair made the Olympic final and although they could not catch the Romanians their traditional mid–course surge took them from 4th to 2nd place and a superb silver medal.

Katherine's versatility has contributed to her success, confidently moving from a sculling silver in Sydney to a sweep silver in Athens and following the retirement of Cath Bishop she moved back to the quadruple scull in 2005 after winning the singles title at the 2005 GB Rowing Senior Trials.  The quad enjoyed a successful season, winning gold in the World Cups at Eton and Munich and culminating in a hard fought victory at the World Championships in Japan in September.

At the 2006 World Championships the women's quadruple scull fought an intense battle with Russia and were just beaten to the line in the dying metres of the race to take silver.  In a strange twist of fate, their Russian conquerors later fell foul of a drugs test and the British women's quartet were restored, in early 2007, as rightful World Champions once more.

In 2007 she medalled at each of the World Cups and won the overall quad title for the series.  The quad also won gold at the World Championships in Munich.

At the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008 the women's quad of Katherine, Annie Vernon, Debbie Flood and Frances Houghton, coached by Paul Thompson, came away with silver after an agonising final 200 metres where they were overhauled by China.  Their disappointment was there for all to see after the finish and understandably so as defending World Champions.  They led the final from the first stroke but had no answer to the Chinese charge at the end.  It said much for the standard of GB Women's rowing that the quad and their many supporters were disappointed with the colour of their medal but it took nothing away from their outstanding record over the previous four years.

After winning the GB Rowing Team Senior Trials in April 2009, Katherine took up the challenge of racing the single for the 2009 season.  She won at the first World Cup in Banyoles but found herself outside the medal zone at Munich and Lucerne.  But at the World Rowing Championships in Poznan she had clearly moved on and everyone there will remember the dramatic moment in the final when she took the lead soon after half way, ahead of Zhang from China and Knapkova from the Czech Republic.  Eventually Katherine had to settle for a silver medal, having been overtaken by the wily Karsten from Belarus who took the lead with a few hundred metres to go, with Knapkova in third.  This was an excellent result for Katherine.

Born in Glasgow, Katherine now lives in Maidenhead although she travels home to Scotland whenever possible.  In 2009 she was named Scottish Sportsperson of the Year.  With a degree and Masters in Law already under her belt, she is now studying homicide for a PhD.

Katherine is Lottery Funded through UK Sport.

Place of Birth: Glasgow
Current Address: Maidenhead
Home Town: Glasgow
Region(s): Scotland
Personal information
Date of Birth: 12th November 1975
Height: 182cm
Education: Edinburgh University
Rowing information
Club: St Andrew Boat Club
Role: Rower

Paul Thompson

Learnt to Row: Edinburgh University
Original Club(s): Edinburgh University Rowing Club
Original Coach(es):

Hamish Burrell

GB Competitive Record
Olympic Games
2012 Gold W2x
2008  Silver  W4x 
2004 Silver W2-
2000 Silver W4x
World Rowing Championships
2011 Gold W2x
2010 Gold W2x
2009 Silver W1x
2007 Gold W4x
2006 Gold W4x
2005 Gold W4x
2003 Gold W2- 
2002 5th W4x
2001 5th W2-
2001 6th W8+
1999 7th W4x
1997 Bronze W8+
World Rowing U23 Championships
1997 Gold W2-
GB Rowing Senior Trials
2012 1st W1x
2011 2nd W1x
2004-2010 1st W1x
2001 1st W2-
1998 1st W1x