Katherine Grainger was named rowing’s Olympic Athlete of the Year at a GB Rowing Team dinner in Windsor tonight.
The Olympic Champion picked up the British Olympic Association trophy for the second time, having won it in 2010 – the year of her first World Championships double scull victory with Anna Watkins.
Watkins and Grainger, coached by Paul Thompson, went on to win a second World title in 2011 and then combined once more, as part of TeamGB, to take gold on Dorney Lake in August of this year.
Tonight’s award was presented to Grainger by Andy Hunt, CEO of the British Olympic Association in front of her GB Rowing Team team-mates and support staff.
Grainger is a popular member of the team and not just the women’s squad for whom, according to Jess Eddie, she is an inspiration: “Her incredible list of rowing accomplishments is unrivalled, and having someone like that to turn to for advice is priceless.
“The way in which she has never given up is a true inspiration to everyone, and she has shown a nation how hard work, belief and drive can pay off”
Anna Watkins, a hugely successful rower in her own right with two Olympic medals of her own, said in a recent blog about Grainger: “Her sporting record is simply without equal. She has ascended the heights, reaching the very pinnacle of her sport.
“She also triumphed across time and scale. She became a world champion six times and is the first British woman ever to win four Olympic medals at four consecutive Games, in any sport”.
In a glittering awards “season” Grainger was recently named winner of "Olympian of the Year" at the Sunday Times Sportswomen of the Year Awards. This was just days after she and Watkins were revealed as the 2012 World Rowing Female Crew of the Year by FISA.
Grainger, who learnt to row whilst at Edinburgh University, is GB's most successful Olympic female rower and was awarded an MBE in 2006 for services to rowing. She made her senior international debut in 1997, having won World U23 gold in the same year.
David Tanner, GB Rowing Team Performance Director said: "I can think of no worthier winner than Katherine. She epitomises everything good about sport at the very highest level. She has accepted victory and defeat with grace. She inspires all around her and is incredibly determined, focused and hard-working whilst still finding times for others”.
Andy Hunt, CEO of the British Olympic Association who was guest of honour at tonight’s dinner, said that Watkins’ and Grainger’s gold was ‘the one performance of the Games I was not going to miss”.
Born in Glasgow but now living in Maidenhead, Grainger took Olympic gold with Watkins this summer at Eton-Dorney after three previous Olympic silvers. She is also a six-times World Champion and has won Olympic or World Championships medals in every open weight boat category available to women at the top level.
Grainger’s other accolades include being part of the first GB women’s crew to win an Olympic medal – the quad at Sydney 2000. In 2009 she was named the Scottish Sportsperson of the Year.
The celebrated Olympian already has a degree and Masters in Law and is now studying homicide for a PhD.
Grainger is Lottery Funded through UK Sport.
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