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Sharron Davies

Former English competitive swimmer, Sharron Davies is famous for being the youngest member of the 1976 Great Britain Olympic team, competing in Montreal when she was just 13 years old. She went on to win Olympic and Commonwealth medals and received an MBE in 1993 for services to swimming.

Still a household name 24 years after retiring from swimming, this is largely thanks to her appearances in several popular television shows and her tireless work for charity.

Sharron Davies

 

Early Life

Sharron was born in 1962 in Plymouth and had learned to swim with Devonport Royal Swimming Association by the time she was six years old. Her father Terry coached her and by the age of eight she was training seriously, joining the Port of Plymouth Swimming Association, where she was trained by Ray Bickley.

The exceptional youngster first swam for the British national team at the age of just 11. When she was 13, Sharron was selected for the British swimming team and competed in the 1976 Summer Olympics. Although she didn't win a medal, she instantly became a household name.

 

Career

In 1977, Sharron won two bronze medals at the European Championship in Jönköping, Sweden in the 400m and the 4 x 100m freestyle relay. In 1978, still aged only 15, she won gold medals in the 200m and 400m individual medleys at the Commonwealth Games and she also won silver in the 4 x 100m freestyle relay and bronze for the 4 X 100m medley relay.

At the 1980 Moscow Olympics, Sharron won the silver medal in the 400m individual medley. However, following the Olympics Sharron decided to take a break from swimming. She later said in an interview that she had needed a break from swimming which had dominated her entire life because she was no longer enjoying it.

Moscow Olympics

She turned down an offer of a swimming scholarship from Berkeley University in California because she preferred getting some life experience. It was 1990 before Sharron decided to return to competitive swimming, when she took part in the Commonwealth Games in Auckland, winning a bronze medal in the 4 x 100m freestyle relay and a silver in the 4 x 200m freestyle relay.

She was awarded the MBE in 1993 and in 1994 retired from competitive swimming, having been British champion 20 times and winning five World Masters records.

 

Television

Sharron has made a number of TV appearances, most notably appearing as Amazon on the popular show Gladiators. She has also commentated on BBC sports coverage including the Olympic Games and in 1996 she became a presenter for Channel 4's Big Breakfast.

She co-hosted Channel Five's celebrity sports competition Superstars in 2008 and in 2010 took part in Dancing on Ice, reaching the seventh week of the competition before being voted off. She has also presented a series of fitness DVDs.

 

Charity Work

Sharron created the charity Parents4sport Foundation to provide a support network for families who needed help and advice on sports for their kids. As patron of The Sports Aid Foundation and Disabled Sport England, she has helped raise funds for charities.

Her own Swim For Life event, launched with Princess Diana more than 20 years ago, raised more than £10 million pounds for various charities, with thousands of swimmers taking part at 2,000 pools across the UK.

Today, Sharron remains one of the UK’s best loved sportswomen since her debut as a 13-year-old Olympian in 1976. She's always in demand for media work and motivational speaking across the UK, often working with organisations to promote family sport and fitness.

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