Grainger wins Olympic Athlete of the Year Award

Katherine Grainger has been named as the “Olympic Athlete of the Year” for 2010 for the sport of rowing.

She received the British Olympic Association’s trophy at tonight’s GB Rowing Team Dinner at Twickenham for which the Rt Hon Hugh Robertson MP, Minister for Sport and the Olympics, was the guest speaker.

Grainger, already a previous multiple world champion, won the world women’s double scull title with Anna Watkins on New Zealand’s Lake Karapiro last November. The duo were already world cup overall champions.

Glasgow-born Grainger, whose home town is Aberdeen and who took up rowing at Edinburgh University, is also a three-times Olympic silver medallist. She won silver in the women’s quadruple scull at both Sydney and Beijing and silver in the women’s pair in Athens.

Even by those standards, Grainger had a stunning season in 2010 winning all three world cups and the world championships in the double with Watkins but also taking two world cup golds in the women’s quadruple scull.

Grainger said:  “It’s a massive deal to win this award. The standard of British Olympic sport is so high these days and you know that you’re in some great company”.

Grainger’s trophy was presented by British Olympic Association Chief Executive Andy Hunt during a team dinner which celebrated the GB Rowing Team’s most successful senior world championships of all-time in NZ last November, winning four Olympic-class golds, four silvers and a bronze backed by a Paralympic-class gold and silver.

34 British rowers, from the Siemens and Lottery-backed GB squad, returned to the UK as world championships medallists and 5 3rowers are now ranked in the world’s top six.

The British Olympic Association (BOA) Olympic Athlete of the Year Awards were introduced in 2005 to mark the  BOA’s Centenary Year.  The BOA presented all sports outside of rowing with their awards in December of last year.

At that earlier presentation Andy Hunt, BOA Chief Executive said:  “Undoubtedly the British Olympic highlight of 2010 was Amy Williams’ outstanding performance on the Whistler Sliding Centre where she claimed Olympic gold for Team GB in such fantastic style. The skeleton slider became Britain’s first individual Winter Olympic Champion for 30 years and inspired the millions of Team GB fans watching on TV across the UK.

“Athletes from all 26 summer Olympic sports continued to prepare themselves for the once in a lifetime opportunity presented by a home Olympics in London in 2012. During this year we have seen many well-established sports continue to excel at World and European Championship level, while other sports have demonstrated great progression in their ambition of competing with the very best in 2012.

“During 2010 many young athletes have produced thrilling breakthrough performances and it’s particularly encouraging to see so many young athletes named by their sports as the Olympic Athlete of the Year – none more so than taekwondo athlete Jade Jones who made history by becoming Britain’s first Youth Olympic Champion at the inaugural Youth Olympic Games in Singapore in August.

“The award of the Olympic Athlete of the Year trophy recognises the dedication, commitment and excellence of athletes who represent the very best of British talent in their respective Olympic sports”.