SportsAid alumna Dame Katherine Grainger has today (21 April) been appointed as the new Chair of UK Sport. Katherine, who is Great Britain’s most decorated female Olympian, succeeds Rod Carr CBE and will lead the body over the next four years as Team GB and ParalympicsGB head towards the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games and beyond.
"I am absolutely thrilled to be appointed as the next UK Sport Chair," said Katherine. "I am also very honoured to be joining the team at UK Sport and building on the success and commitment to excellence that I have witnessed and enjoyed as an athlete. I’m also acutely aware of the many challenging issues currently within sport and I hope to play a role in addressing them."
Katherine, who retired from competitive rowing after claiming silver in the women’s double sculls with Vicky Thornley at the Rio Olympics, was supported by SportsAid during the early stages of her career. She won medals at five consecutive Olympics, her first coming in the quadruple sculls in Sydney in 2000, and was made a Dame in the Queen’s 2017 New Year’s Honours List.
Katherine, 41, achieved silver medals at the Olympics in Athens and Beijing, in the coxless pair and quadruple sculls respectively, before she emerged with gold from London 2012 in the double sculls with Anna Watkins. Aside from her sporting achievements, Katherine has a PhD in criminology and was appointed fourth Chancellor of Oxford Brookes University in 2015 for a seven-year tenure.
Katherine has also sat on the British Olympic Association’s Athletes’ Commission since its formation in 2010. She regularly supports SportsAid’s events, such as its annual SportsBall, and met Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge, the charity’s Patron, at an athlete workshop hosted in October 2013 at the Copper Box Arena in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
“We’re very pleased to see Dame Katherine Grainger appointed as the new Chair of UK Sport,” said Tim Lawler - Chief Executive of SportsAid. “Her sporting credentials are outstanding of course and she’s a fantastic people person – warm, very astute and an excellent listener.
“She understands the inner workings of sport having performed at the elite level for such a long time and through her work with the BOA’s Athletes’ Commission and other sporting bodies. In my experience of Katherine as a SportsAid alumna supporting the charity, she naturally gets the best from people around her. It is a strong appointment. She will be the athletes’ champion.”
Sports Minister Tracey Crouch commented: "Dame Katherine is a peerless leader both on the water and off it. As one of our greatest ever Olympians, she has an outstanding understanding of high-performance sport, and through her educational and charity work has a proven commitment to inclusion. I know she will be an inspiring chair of UK Sport."
Liz Nicholl, CEO of UK Sport, said: "Everyone at UK Sport is absolutely thrilled with the appointment of our new chair, Dame Katherine Grainger. Katherine brings with her a unique perspective, experience and skillset having been a part of UK Sport's World Class Programme from the outset, a multi medallist over five Olympic Games, an individual with a passion for sport and the impact it can have on changing lives for the better and also an academic.
“Our priority focus for the Tokyo Cycle is sustaining success while helping to create a more positive environment and culture for our athletes and athlete support personnel to perform at their best. Katherine is well placed to help us achieve that and we look forward to working with Katherine as UK Sport's new chair.”
Katherine will be guest speaker at SportsAid’s Bucks Sporting Lunch Club at Dorney Lake next Friday (28 April). Please click here to find out more.