Katherine Grainger CBE

Rower // Women's Squad
Date of Birth: 12th Nov 1975 (40 years old)
Club: St Andrew Boat Club
Height: 182.00
Hometown: Glasgow

Katherine Grainger profile image
Lottery Funded - UK Sport

Katherine Grainger is already GB’s most successful Olympic female rower and is determined to be back on the podium at Rio 2016.

After winning silver medals at Sydney 2000, Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008, Katherine finally secured Olympic gold in the women’s double scull with Anna Watkins at the London 2012 Games during an emotionally-charged afternoon at Eton Dorney.

The six-time World Champion – Honorary President of the Scottish Amateur Rowing Association and a Steward of Henley Royal Regatta – took a break from the sport after London but returned to competition in 2015 and has been selected to compete in the women’s double scull at Rio 2016.

It will be a record-breaking Olympic appearance for Katherine who, along with former sculling team-mate Frances Houghton, will become the first GB female rowers to compete at five Games.

When Katherine finally won that elusive Olympic gold at London 2012, it was arguably the most popular Team GB success of the Games

On The Water

Olympic Games

London 2012 - Olympic Champion Women's Double Scull

Beijing 2008 - Olympic Silver Medallist Women's Quadruple Scull

Athens 2004 - Olympic Silver Medallist Women's Pair

Sydney 2000 - Olympic Silver Medallist Women's Quadruple Scull

World Rowing Championships

2010-2011 - World Champion Women's Double Scull

2009 - World Silver Medallist Women's Single Scull

2005-2007 - World Champion Women's Quadruple Scull

2003 - World Champion Women's Pair

1997 - World Bronze Medallist Women's Eight

1997 - World U23 Champion Women's Pair

Rio 2016 Olympiad: 2013 – 2016

Katherine was once again selected in the women’s double scull alongside Vicky Thornley at the start of the 2016 season, finishing fourth at the European Championships in Brandenburg. They then finished fifth at the World Cup in Poznan.

After a two-year sabbatical in the wake of her Olympic triumph, Katherine returned to training with the GB Rowing Team in October 2014.

An impressive second-placed finish at the 2015 GB Rowing Team Senior Trials showed she had lost none of her competitive edge and she was selected to race in the women’s double scull with Vicky.

The new pairing won bronze at the European Championships in Poznan – Katherine’s first medal at the continental competition – and repeated that result with an impressive performance at the second World Cup in Varese.

Katherine and Vicky unfortunately missed out on a place in the A final at the World Cup in Lucerne but they responded by winning the B final comfortably.

After ensuring they had qualified the boat for Rio 2016 by reaching the World Championships final in Aiguebelette, Katherine and Vicky adopted a ‘medal or bust’ approach and were well placed at halfway but were rowed out of contention in the final 150m.

London 2012 Olympiad: 2009 – 2012

When Katherine finally won that elusive Olympic gold at London 2012, it was arguably the most popular Team GB success of the Games.

Having won silver in the single scull at the 2009 World Championships, Katherine was partnered with Anna Watkins in the double scull in 2010.  Coached by Paul Thompson, they proved to be an ideal match and went through the season undefeated, finishing six seconds clear of the field at the World Championships.

They were named as World Rowing Female Crew of the Year and continued their dominant form in 2011, leading from the front to retain their World title and go into Olympic year with confidence high.

This time there was to be no final heartbreak as Katherine and Anna capped another unbeaten season by finishing two seconds clear of the field in front of an ecstatic home crowd.  Already a MBE, Katherine was made a CBE in the 2013 New Year’s Honours list and she was also named as Olympian of the Year at the Sunday Times Sportswomen of the Year Awards.

GB Competitive Record

Olympic Games
London 2012 W2x
Beijing 2008 W4x
Athens 2004 W2-
Sydney 2000 W4x
Olympic Games:
London 2012
W2x
Olympic Games:
Beijing 2008
W4x
Olympic Games:
Athens 2004
W2-
Olympic Games:
Sydney 2000
W4x
World Rowing Championships
2015 6th W2x
2011 W2x
2010 W2x
2009 W1x
2007 W4x
2006 W4x
2005 W4x
2003 W2-
2002 5th W4x
2001 5th W2-
2001 6th W8+
1999 7th W4x
1997 W8+
World Rowing Championships:
2015
6th
W2x
World Rowing Championships:
2011
W2x
World Rowing Championships:
2010
W2x
World Rowing Championships:
2009
W1x
World Rowing Championships:
2007
W4x
World Rowing Championships:
2006
W4x
World Rowing Championships:
2005
W4x
World Rowing Championships:
2003
W2-
World Rowing Championships:
2002
5th
W4x
World Rowing Championships:
2001
5th
W2-
World Rowing Championships:
2001
6th
W8+
World Rowing Championships:
1999
7th
W4x
World Rowing Championships:
1997
W8+
European Rowing Championships
2016 4th W2x
2015 W2x
European Rowing Championships:
2016
4th
W2x
European Rowing Championships:
2015
W2x
World Rowing Cup Regattas
2016 Poznan 5th W2x
2015 Lucerne 7th W2x
2015 Varese W2x
World Rowing Cup Regattas:
2016 Poznan
5th
W2x
World Rowing Cup Regattas:
2015 Lucerne
7th
W2x
World Rowing Cup Regattas:
2015 Varese
W2x
World Rowing U23 Championships
1997 W2-
World Rowing U23 Championships:
1997
W2-
GB Rowing Team Senior Trials
2015 2nd W1x
2012 1st W1x
2011 2nd W1x
2004-2010 1st W1x
2001 1st W2-
1998 1st W1x
GB Rowing Team Senior Trials:
2015
2nd
W1x
GB Rowing Team Senior Trials:
2012
1st
W1x
GB Rowing Team Senior Trials:
2011
2nd
W1x
GB Rowing Team Senior Trials:
2004-2010
1st
W1x
GB Rowing Team Senior Trials:
2001
1st
W2-
GB Rowing Team Senior Trials:
1998
1st
W1x

More info...

Katherine took up rowing in 1993 while studying Law at Edinburgh University and made her GB debut four years later, setting a new record while winning women’s double scull gold with Francesca Zino at the World U23 Championships. Both went on to be part of the first GB senior women’s eight to win a medal at the World Championships, a bronze.

After establishing herself in the women’s quad, Katherine won her first Olympic medal in Sydney after an incredibly close-fought final which saw GB pip Russia to silver by just one-hundredth of a second.

The next couple of years saw Katherine move between the quad and the eight before teaming up with Cath Bishop in a successful women’s pair. They secured a first World title together in 2003, storming from fourth to first in the closing 600m, but had to settle for silver behind the dominant Romanians at the Athens Games in 2004.

Following Cath’s retirement, the versatile Katherine returned to sculling and was part of an outstanding women’s quad that won three successive World Championships titles from 2005 to 2007. That made them favourites for gold at Beijing 2008 but, in an agonising final, the quartet of Katherine, Annie Vernon, Debbie Flood and Frances Houghton were overhauled by China in the dying stages.

Club: St Andrew Boat Club

Boat: Women’s Squad

Role: Rower

Coach: Paul Thompson

Learnt to Row: Edinburgh University

Original Club: Edinburgh University Rowing Club

Original Coach(es): Hamish Burrell

 

Beyond the Boat

Katherine has a degree in Law from Edinburgh University, a MPhil in Medical Law and Medical Ethics from Glasgow University and, in May 2013, completed a PhD in the sentencing of homicide at King’s College, University of London. “I wanted to be a lawyer – one of those idealistic ones who stands up in court and makes great speeches about truth, justice and equality. Otherwise maybe just an astronaut.”

As well as completing her PhD during a two-year break from rowing after London 2012, Katherine released her autobiography ‘Dreams Do Come True’ and worked for the BBC as a co-presenter and pundit. She was inaugurated as Chancellor of Oxford Brookes University in March 2015, a role she will hold for a seven-year tenure.

Katherine finds it “very easy” to relax away from rowing, with television and film her big love. “During 2012 I couldn’t get enough of The Killing (the Danish original) and we also did the entire West Wing. Recently I’ve caught up all over again with Breaking Bad and The Sopranos. Currently on my waiting list is The Good Wife, House of Cards latest season and more Game of Thrones. For fun I loved the BBC comedy Twenty Twelve and the sequel W1A, I laugh out loud at those. And I love The Thick of It and Veep – political comedy of the highest order. I could go on… obviously!”

She also has a “massively varied” taste in music and particularly likes things she can sing along to, “even though I can’t actually sing”. Her guitar is one of three items she would take to a desert island, “so I can finally learn to play it properly”, along with a digital radio plus pen and paper.

Katherine’s ideal dinner party guests would be Eddie Izzard “for laughter”, Elvis Presley “for the music” and Judi Dench “for the drama”.

She is also a good juggler. “I haven’t quite made it to the flaming batons… yet.”

Katherine is Lottery funded through UK Sport.

Personal Information

Place of Birth Current Address Home Town Region(s)
Glasgow Maidenhead Glasgow Scotland
Place of Birth:
Glasgow
Current Address:
Maidenhead
Home Town:
Glasgow
Region(s):
Scotland
Date of Birth Height
12 November 1975 182cm
Date of Birth:
12 November 1975
Height:
182cm
Education
Edinburgh University
Education:
Edinburgh University