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Tanni Grey-Thompson

“Limit is what everyone else says you can't do, not what you think you can do”

What does limit mean to you?

Limit is about pushing yourself as hard as you possibly can.

Who sets the limits anyway?

It's really important for me to encourage other people to think about the limits that other people have placed on them to say to them you know if you want to do something don't be afraid to try. Because if you're afraid to try you'll never know what you can achieve.

Why do you believe in Eliud?

I believe Eliud can run the marathon in two hours because he knows what it takes. He knows how to push himself to his limits. There's a great team around him. It's him against the clock and he just has to concentrate on pushing his limits the absolute max.

Achievements

11 x Paralympic Gold medallist

4 x Olympic Silver & 1 x bronze medallist

6 x World Championship medallist

6 x London Marathon winner

In an exceptional athletics career spanning more than two decades, Tanni Grey-Thompson broke more than thirty World Records. Now, as an Independent Cross bench peer in the House of Lords, she campaigns tirelessly to break barriers for people throughout the country. 

As a determined and fiercely independent child, Tanni, who was born with spina bifida, refused to be limited by her disability. When she became wheelchair bound aged seven, instead of feeling confined, she had an overwhelming sense of freedom as she was able to participate in sport to a much greater extent than ever before. Tanni immersed herself in a range of different sports, eventually finding her passion for racing aged thirteen. For the first three years, Tanni experienced little success, she had not a single win to her name but she didn’t let this get her down and instead used her determination to persevere and train harder. Shortly after turning sixteen, all the hard work seemed worthwhile, Tanni was picked for the British Wheelchair Racing Squad and won her first junior national title.

Tanni’s first taste of victory was soon to be repeated, again and again. Her Paralympic adventures started in 1988 in Seoul where she won her first medal, a bronze in the 400m. Four years later in Barcelona, just a few short months after winning the London Marathon for the first time, she took home four gold medals in the 100m, 200m, 400m and 800m. Over the next three Olympics, Atlanta 1996, Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004, Tanni became a household name and a sporting icon, smashing world records and taking her overall medal tally to eleven golds, four silvers and one bronze as well as winning five further London Marathons and six World Championship medals.

Tanni’s unprecedented success was extraordinary, the variation of her victories was testament to her unwavering self-belief and determination, she was unstoppable!  Her career undoubtedly raised the profile of the Paralympic games but it also helped to raise awareness of the everyday challenges faced though accessibility on roads, in public spaces and on public transport in particular.     

Always conscious that she wanted to give something back to society, to help and encourage others as she had been by her parents, Tanni now uses her working peerage position in the House of Lords to facilitate change for passion projects such as disability rights, welfare reform and sport. Alongside this, Tanni is a Board Member for the London Marathon, the Sportaid Foundation, The Duke of Edinburgh awards and Transport for London. She is also involved with the Women’s Sports Foundation, UK Sports Council and British Sports trust. Tanni serves as an inspiration to anyone aspiring to overcome challenges and her services to sport have been recognised throughout her career. In 1993 she was appointed with an MBE, advanced in 2000 to an OBE then, in 2005 Tanni was promoted to Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire and 2010 was appointed as Baroness Grey-Thompson.