Sir Steven Geoffrey Redgrave CBE DL, the most successful male rower in Olympic history, is the fourth most decorated British Olympian after cyclists Sir Chris Hoy, Jason Kenny and Sir Bradley Wiggins. Here are some very interesting facts about the British rower:
Redgrave is former British rower and one of the greatest ever Olympian in Sweep Rowing, whose career spanned for sixteen years, despite suffering from ulcerative colitis and diabetes for much of his career.
In May 2001, he along with his fellow oarsmen Matthew Pinsent and James Cracknell were knighted by the Queen in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace.
He has the honor of carrying the British flag at the opening of Olympic Games on two occasions.He also took part in Olympic torch relay in Beijing and was one of the final torch bearers for the London Olympic.
Redgrave is the successful male rower in Olympic history and the only man to have won gold medals at five successive Games in an endurance sport.
After cyclist Sir Chris Hoy, Jason Kenny and Sir Bradley Wiggins, he is the fourth most decorated British Olympian.
In December 2002, among the 100 Greatest Britons nominated by 30,000 people in BBC poll, Redgrave was ranked 36th.
He was born Steven Geoffrey Redgrave on March 23, 1962, in Marlow, Buckinghamshire, UK, to Geoffrey Edward Redgrave and Sheila Marion.
He attended Holy Trinity Junior Schoolfor two years before moving over to Great Marlow Secondary School. He was heavily dyslexic which was not noticed until he was around 10 or 11.
While at school, he was introduced to rowing by his English cum Rowing Club captain, Francis Smith. Redgrave was among the three out of twelve members of school rowing club who made it to the Olympics.
At the end of his schooling he was awarded the ‘Best Potential Citizen’ award which normally goes to the head boy or girl. He felt others saw something in him that he didn’t and after a while he began believe that.
He first represented Great Britain at the world junior championship in 1979in the Single Sculls and won his first medal, Silver in the Double Sculls at the 1980 Junior World Rowing Championships.
Redgrave married Ann Callaway in 1988. She is an accomplished rower representing Great Britain and they have rowed together at the 1984 Olympics.
He is the honorary president of British Rowing and his wife is their first full time medical officer since 2009. They have three children, Natalie, Sophie and Zac.
In 2011, he was awarded the ‘BBC Sports Personality of the Year-Lifetime Achievement Award’ for his huge contribution to rowing and for promoting sports in the UK.
With a gold medal in the Coxless fours at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, he won his fifth consecutive Olympic gold medal. It was his sixth overall medal with a bronze in 1988 for the Coxed pair.
Redgrave was presented a gold Olympic pin to mark his famous five gold and the International Rowing Federation awarded him the ‘Thomas Keller Medal’ in 2001, for outstanding international rowing career.
He was aged 38 when he won the gold at Sydney Olympic to become the then oldest male rower to win a gold medal. This achievement was surpassed by James Tomkins of Australia in the subsequent games.
The Sydney Olympics was special for one other reason. As he was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes three years before the Olympics, he trained and competed on diet of 6,000 calories a day, including high sugar content with adjusted insulin dose accordingly and triumphed against all odds.
Starting with gold medal in Coxed pair in 1986 World Championship that was held in UK, he went on to win eight more gold medals in Coxless Pair apart from two silver and a bronze medals in the world championships.
He was the star at‘Henley Royal Regatta’ the annual rowing event held at River Thames, for more than two decades. He has won the Silver Goblets & Nickalls’ Challenge Cup seven times in the Coxless Pairs event.
He is the holder of Stewards’ Challenge Cup in Coxless fours, five times apart from Diamond Challenge Sculls, twice and the Double Sculls Challenge Cup, at the annual regatta.
Representing Marlow Rowing Club in the Wingfiled Sculls annual Rowing race, he won the single scullers race five years in succession from 1985 to 1989. He set a new course time of 20.16 in 1989.
At the 13th Commonwealth Games held at Edinburgh, Scotland, Redgrave won three gold medals in the Single Sculls, Coxless Pair and Coxed Four events. Though the 1986 event was marred by boycott rowing event did not lose its sheen.
He has written five books, ‘Great Olympic Moments,’ ‘Inspired,’ ‘Enduring Success,’ ‘You Can Win at Life,’ ‘Golden Age’ and ‘Complete Book of Rowing.’ These books features selected photographs apart from offering inspiration and a guide to Olympic success.
He launched his own Fairtrade Cotton Brand of clothing called ‘FiveG’ soled in Debenhams departmental stores. When he first visited Africa in 2005, he was so affected by the plight of the local people that he decided to source only Fairtrade cotton.
In August 2014, he was one of 200 public figures who were signatories to a letter to The Guardian expressing their hope that Scotland would vote to remain part of the United Kingdom.
In 1987, he was made a ‘Member of the Order of the British Empire’ (MBE) and promoted to ‘Commander of the Order of the British Empire’ (CBE) in 1997.
On October 08, 2013, Redgrave along with Judy Murray, Susie Wolff and Lynne Ramsay were awarded honorary degree by the University of Edinburgh at a ceremony in the University’s McEwan Hall.
The ‘Redgrave-Pinsent Rowing Lake’ is a rowing lake in the United Kingdom, named after him and Sir Matthew Pinsent. He inaugurated the lake and the boathouse in 2006 which provides training, medicine and scientific facilities for the Great Briton rowing team.
For his significant contribution to the world of sports, he was awarded the ‘Laureus Lifetime Achievement Award’ in 2001.