Carys Davina Grey-Thompson, Baroness Grey-Thompson, DBE, DL (born 26th July 1969), known as Tanni Grey-Thompson, is a Welsh politician, television presenter and former wheelchair racer. She has also been the Chancellor of Northumbria University since July 2015.
Tanni was born with spina bifida and is a wheelchair user. She is one of the most successful disabled athletes in the UK. She graduated from Loughborough University in 1991 with a BA (Hons) degree in Politics and Social Administration.
Grey-Thompson's Paralympic career started in the 100m at the Junior National Games for Wales in 1984. Her international career began in 1988 in Seoul, where she won a bronze medal in the 400m. As a young athlete she also competed in wheelchair basketball. Her fifth and last Paralympic Games were in Athens (2004) where she won 2 gold medals in wheelchair racing in the 100m and 400m. In total in her Paralympic career she won 16 medals (11 gold, 4 silver and 1 bronze) and also 13 World Championship medals (6 gold, 5 silver and 2 bronze).
On 27 February 2007 Grey-Thompson announced her pending retirement, with her last appearance for Great Britain at May's Paralympic World Cup in Manchester. Over her career she won a total of 16 Paralympic medals, including 11 golds, held over 30 world records and won the London Marathon six times between 1992 and 2002.
Grey-Thompson currently sits on the board of the London Marathon (2007), the board of Transport for London (since 2008) and the London Legacy Development Corporation. She is Chair of the Women's Sports and Fitness Foundation Commission on the Future of Women's Sport. She chairs the board of ukactive.
In July 2011 Grey-Thompson was announced as the President of the Leadership 20:20 Commission, the Commission on the future leadership of Civil Society. She launched the Commission's recommendations in Parliament on 14 December 2011. Grey-Thompson has also been the Chancellor of Northumbria University since July 2015.
On 23 March 2010, Grey-Thompson was created a Life Peer on the recommendation of the House of Lords Appointments Commission (HOLAC). Despite previously suggesting a desire for a title with a Welsh connection, her title was conferred as Baroness Grey-Thompson, of Eaglescliffe in the County of Durham on 23 March 2010. Grey-Thompson was introduced in the House of Lords on 29 March, swearing the oath of allegiance in both English and Welsh and sits as a crossbencher.
In August 2014, Grey-Thompson was one of 200 public figures who were signatories to a letter to The Guardian opposing Scottish independence in the run-up to September's referendum on that issue.
In 1993 she was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for "services to sport", advanced in 2000 to Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) again for "services to sport" and then in 2005 was promoted to Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE).
She has received numerous honorary degrees including Honorary Doctorates from Oxford University, the University of Greenwich, Bath University, Newcastle University, Oxford Brookes University, Liverpool John Moores, the University of Leicester, Sheffield Hallam University, University of Hull, University of Exeter, Heriot Watt University, the Open University, University of Wales Newport, the University of Wales, Leeds Metropolitan University, Loughborough University (both a Master and Doctorate), Teesside University, York and Ripon College, University of Swansea, University of Glamorgan, UWIC, University of Surrey, Southampton University, Manchester Metropolitan University, Staffordshire University and Cardiff University. Grey-Thompson received a Lifetime Achievement Award and another Honorary Doctorate from the University of East London in May 2011, at the university's annual Sports Award evening held at West Ham United's Upton Park stadium.
Grey-Thompson was named the BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year three times; in 1992, 2000 and 2004. In 2000, she came third in the BBC Sports Personality of the Year, behind Steve Redgrave and Denise Lewis. That year she also received the Helen Rollason Award for her performance at the 2000 Summer Paralympics. In August 2009, she was made a member of the Gorsedd at the 2009 National Eisteddfod in Bala, Gwynedd. In July 2013, she received another honorary Doctor of Science (HonDSc) in recognition of her outstanding service to disability and to disadvantaged people, and to her promotion of sport and the Paralympics. On 15 June 2016 she was awarded the degree of Doctor of Law (honoris causa) by the University of Cambridge. In January 2019, she was named as a contender for the "Greatest Person of the 20th Century" in the BBC Icons series. She was placed in the 'Sports Stars' heat where she was a runner-up behind category winner Muhammad Ali.
Grey-Thompson attended St Cyres Comprehensive School. She is married to Ian Thompson, a research chemist and former wheelchair athlete. They live at Eaglescliffe, County Durham; they have one daughter. She was christened Carys Davina Grey, but her sister referred to her as "tiny" when she first saw her, pronouncing it "tanni"; the nickname stuck. Her autobiography Seize the Day was published by Hodder and Stoughton in 2001. She is a patron of Zoё's Place Baby Hospice, a charity for sick babies and young children. Grey-Thompson is also patron of the Guernsey Disability Alliance.