Paralympic medalist Tanni Grey-Thompson talks sport and the Award

Published: 3 Mar 2014

Paralympic Medalist Tanni Grey-Thompson

Throughout her sporting career Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson has championed a commitment to integrity in sport. The 16-time Paralympic medalist is a director of UK Athletics and a trustee of The Duke of Edinburgh's Award (DofE) in the UK. With the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow just around the corner, we caught up with her and asked how she thinks the Award helps to encourage young people into sport.

How did you get into wheelchair racing and did you ever imagine you’d be a Bronze medal holder before the age of twenty?

I was always a sporty child and therefore it felt like a natural thing to do. I don’t remember a time when I didn’t want to compete but you don’t suddenly win medals, it takes time to build up and up.

What was it about wheelchair racing that appealed to you in particular?

I think it was because I was in charge of my own destiny; all of the training and preparation is all entirely down to you.

Over the years you’ve put in a tremendous amount of dedication to sport and have achieved fantastic results, what advice would you give to young people who are struggling to find the motivation to complete their Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award?

Completing the Award is a massively proud moment for you and your family, but also gives you a huge sense of personal achievement. The Award is good training for the rest of your life. Life is not just about what you are good at doing but about overcoming barriers and challenges and that is what the Award teaches you to do.

What comparisons can be drawn between sport and the Award?

The Award is about doing it incrementally; you don’t just get this overnight success and in sport you train everyday over a four year period for one Paralympic games. The Award teaches you the value of hard work and persistence and making your own luck.

Baroness Grey-Thompson has continued her dedication to sport off the track as a board member for both the London Marathon and the London Legacy Development Corporation. She was appointed a member of Transport for London in 2008 and, since 2010, has served as a non-party political crossbench peer. Read more about Baroness Grey-Thompson’s sporting career.

Commonwealth Connections

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