Spina bifida meant that Tanni has been a wheelchair user since the age of seven, and has become one of the world’s most admired and respected sportswomen and is regarded as Britain’s greatest ever Paralympian having won a total of 11 gold medals.
Born in Cardiff on 26 July 1969, Tanni made her debut for Wales at the Junior National Championships aged just 15. Her first Paralympic success was in 1988 when she won bronze in the 400m at the Seoul Games.
Four years later in Barcelona Tanni claimed four gold medals, including world records in the 100m and 400m. In 1996 in Atlanta she settled for silver in three of her four disciplines with gold in the 800m whilst in Sydney 2000 she achieved victory in the 800m which was followed by success in the 100m, 200m and 400m. Tanni has rounded off her gold medal tally by triumphing in the 100m and 400m in the 2004 Athens Paralympics.
Over her career to date Tanni won 16 Paralympic medals, including 11 golds, held over 30 world records, and won the London Marathon six times between 1997 and 2002.
Tanni has also been recognised by sporting organisations worldwide for her sporting achievements. She was one of only four female athletes to appear in the top 50 British Sporting Greats poll undertaken by publishers Cassell Illustrated. She is also a member of The Laureus World Sports Academy alongside sporting legends such as Pele, Jack Nicklaus, Michael Jordan and Ed Moses. Tanni, who also won the BBC Wales Sports Personality of 2004, has decided to end her Paralympic career, but is not yet ready to retire; she will maintain a close interest in the sport by nurturing the next generation of British Paralympians.
Already a holder of the OBE and MBE, Tanni, a double Paralympic champion was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 2005 New Years Honours List.
Tanni is now an independent cross bench Peer in the House of Lords and plays an active role in promoting sport and physical activity for disabled people.
Baroness Grey-Thompson was inducted to the Stoke Mandeville Hall of Fame by HRH The Prince of Wales in 2003.