Katherine Grainger MBE

Katherine was selected in the women’s quadruple scull for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and won a silver medal.

Olympic silver medallist in 2000, 2004 and 2008 and four times a World Champion, Katherine is GB’s most successful Olympic female rower and was awarded an MBE in 2006 for services to rowing. She recently confirmed her position as GB’s leading female rower by successfully defending her singles title again at the 2008 GB Rowing Senior Trials in Belgium. In 2007 she medalled at each of the World Cups and won the overall quad title for the series. The quad also won gold at the World Championships in Munich. She raced in the quad in the 2008 World Cup series, finishing 1st and 3rd.

Katherine took up rowing at Edinburgh University in 1993 and made such good progress she was awarded the Eva Bailey Trophy as their most outstanding female athlete in 1996 and again in 1997. Her international rowing career took off in 1997 when she paired with Francesca Zino from Cambridge University and won the gold medal at the World U23 Rowing Championships, setting a new record for the event. On their return home, they raced for seats in the senior eight and went on to compete in the World Championships where they won bronze and became the first women’s eight ever to win a World Championship medal.

In 1999 Katherine raced in the quad, finishing 7th at the World Championships and the following year won silver with the quad at her first Olympic Games in Sydney.

In 2003 Katherine’s partnership with Cath Bishop in the pair resulted in her first World title when they won gold at the World Championships in Milan in dramatic fashion, storming through the field from 4th to 1st in the last 600 metres and toppling the reigning World and Olympic champions from Romania.

The victory was a great breakthrough for British rowing and hopes were high that they could add Olympic gold in Athens. However, throughout the 2004 season they could not defeat the experienced Romanians. Despite an unimpressive performance in the heats, the British pair made the Olympic final and although they could not catch the Romanians their traditional mid–course surge took them from 4th to 2nd place and a superb silver medal.

Katherine’s versatility has contributed to her success, confidently moving from a sculling silver in Sydney to a sweep silver in Athens and following the retirement of Cath Bishop she moved back to the quadruple scull in 2005 after winning the singles title at the 2005 GB Senior Trials. The quad enjoyed a successful season, winning gold in the World Cups at Eton and Munich and culminating in a hard fought victory at the World Championships in Japan in September.

The World Cup Series in 2006 brought more success with gold in each of Poznan, Munich and Lucerne.

At the 2006 World Championships the women’s quadruple scull fought an intense battle with Russia and were just beaten to the line in the dying metres of the race to take silver. In a strange twist of fate, their Russian conquerors later fell foul of a drugs test and the British women’s quartet were restored, in February 2007, as rightful world champions once more.

Born in Glasgow, Katherine now lives near Marlow although she travels home to Scotland whenever possible. With a degree and Masters in Law already under her belt, she is now studying homicide for a PhD.

Katherine is Lottery Funded through UK Sport and sponsored by Camelot.


Place of birth:


Current Address:


Home town:




Personal information
Date of birth:

12 November 1975




Edinburgh University

Rowing information

St Andrew Boat Club


Women’s Quadruple Scull




Paul Thompson

Learnt to row:

Edinburgh University

Original Club(s):

Edinburgh University Rowing Club

Original Coach:

Hamish Burrell

GB Competitive Record
Olympic Games
2008 Silver W4x
2004 Silver W2-
2000 Silver W4x
World Rowing Championships
2007 Gold W4x
2006 Gold W4x
2005 Gold W4x
2003 Gold W2-
2002 5th W4x
2001 5th W2-
2001 6th W8+
1999 7th W4x
1997 Bronze W8+
World Rowing U23 Championships
1997 Gold W2-
GB Rowing Senior Trials
2008 1st W1x
2007 1st W1x
2006 1st W1x
2005 1st W1x
2004 1st W1x
2001 1st W2-
1998 1st W1x

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