Originally from Glasgow, Katherine’s journey in rowing began during her time at the University of Edinburgh, where she was studying law. Her exceptional talent led her to be awarded the Eva Bailey Trophy as the university’s most outstanding female athlete in 1996 and 1997. In 1997, she also won her first international Gold medal at the U23 World Rowing Championships.
After completing her law degree, Katherine pursued further studies, earning an MPhil in Medical Law and Medical Ethics from Glasgow University and a PhD in the sentencing of homicide from King’s College, University of London.
Continuing to excel in her sport, Katherine was named Scottish Sportsperson of the Year in 2009 and became the first female athlete to receive the “Emirates Lonsdale Trophy” from Commonwealth Games Scotland.
Katherine’s ultimate dream came true when she won the Olympic Gold medal in the double sculls event at the London 2012 Olympics, alongside her teammate Anna Watkins. This achievement led to her being short-listed for the 2012 BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award and being appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for her contributions to rowing.
Aside from her athletic pursuits, Katherine found time to write her autobiography, ‘Dreams Do Come True’, and work with the BBC as a co-presenter and pundit. Her captivating hosting style and natural talents as a speaker were honed through her extensive television experience.
Returning to competitive rowing in 2014, Katherine competed at the 2015 World Rowing Championships, where she and Victoria Thornley qualified for the Rio Olympics in 2016. Katherine’s silver medal at the Rio Olympics made her the most decorated female Olympian of all time.
Not only is Katherine Britain’s most successful female rower, but she is also the only female athlete, in any sport, to win medals in four consecutive Olympic Games.
In addition to her sporting achievements, Katherine has taken on significant roles in academia. She served as Chancellor of Oxford Brookes University and later became the first female Chancellor of the University of Glasgow, where she had previously earned her master’s degree.
In recognition of her contributions to rowing and charity, Katherine was named a Dame in the New Year’s Honours List in 2017.
Currently, Dame Katherine Grainger serves as Chair at UK Sport, a high-performance agency in the UK, and is a sought-after keynote and after-dinner speaker. Her talks can be tailored to special occasions and cover topics such as teamwork, motivation, overcoming challenges, winning, and effective communication.