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Sharron Davies

Sharron Elizabeth Davies MBE (born 1 November 1962) is a retired swimmer from the United Kingdom. She won a silver medal in the 400 metre individual medley at the 1980 Olympics in Moscow, and two gold medals at the 1978 Commonwealth Games in Edmonton. Since retiring from the sport, she has worked as television presenter and served as a patron of charities for disabled children and fitness.


Early life

Davies was born in Plymouth, Devon, and grew up in Plymouth and Plymstock. She has twin brothers. She attended Plymstock Comprehensive School and the independent Kelly College in Tavistock.[1] Her father Terry coached her in swimming.[2]


She learned to swim at the age of six and was training seriously two years later. She set a record by swimming for the British national team at the age of only eleven. She was so determined that she continued her training even after breaking both her wrists in a childhood accident. In 1976, still only thirteen, Davies was selected to represent Great Britain at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal. Although her performance was not enough to get her in the medals, it did make her a household name. The next year she stepped up a gear to win two bronze medals in the 1977 European Championships. The following year, still just fifteen, she won gold medals at the Commonwealth Games in the 200 and 400 metre individual medleys. She also picked up a further silver and bronze medal.

By 1980 Davies was ready for a more serious Olympic challenge. She took the silver medal in the 400 m individual medley behind East German Petra Schneider, who later admitted that the victory was drug enhanced.[3]

At the age of eighteen, Davies called time on the first stage of her swimming career in order to build her television profile and a career in modelling. In 1989, and training at Bracknell & Wokingham Swimming Club, she returned to the pool where she picked up two more medals at the 1990 Commonwealth Games. By the time she finally hung up her swimsuit for good in 1994, she had been a British champion on twenty occasions and had broken two hundred British swimming records and 5 World Masters records (eligible to those over 30).

In 1993, Davies was awarded the MBE for her services to swimming.

Davies has been very vocal in the calls for a reallocation of medals and titles at the various games where East German athletes won using illegal, drug supported development techniques. Sports bodies have recognised the superior achievement of athletes like Sharron who shunned the use of performance enhancing substances but have fallen short of rewriting the medal tables.

Other activities

In 2005, Davies supported the British Olympic bid by profile raising and appearing as spokesperson on BBC's Question Time where she made a strong case for bringing the games to London.

Davies is a current patron of the Disabled Sport England and the Sports Aid Foundation. She is also the face of the Swim for Life charity event.

Media career

A bronze statue of a mermaid, modelled by Sharron Davies, on the sea wall of the Royal Yacht Squadron, Cowes, Isle of Wight.
A bronze statue of a mermaid, modelled by Sharron Davies, on the sea wall of the Royal Yacht Squadron, Cowes, Isle of Wight.
Davies' early ventures beyond swimming included appearing in a ski tuition video with world champion Franz Klammer, alongside fellow swimmer Duncan Goodhew. She also featured in the BBC's 1981 series "Sporting Superstars".

She later joined the team of former British sports stars in presenting and commentating on sport coverage for the BBC. Initially this covered swimming but was extended to other sports for the Atlanta and Sydney Olympics.

Davies caused a stir in the swimming community in 1994 when she headed a "British Girls of Sport" calendar. Instead of their usual functional sporting outfits, the athletes adopted a variety of sexy outfits in order to raise money for the Sports Aid Foundation. Davies had a breast enhancement operation after the birth of her first child and her figure was the subject of much tabloid gossip during the 2004 Olympic Games.

Davies has published a number of health and fitness videos and co-authored books on the same topic. In 1995 she joined ITV's Gladiators being given the nickname Amazon. A knee injury forced her to withdraw from the gameshow in 1996. She later complained of the health and safety aspects of the show.

In 1994, a documentary was made about Davies and Redmond for the Xpress (TV series). It was produced and directed by Pogus Caesar for Windrush Productions and broadcast on Carlton TV.

Also in 1996, Davies became a presenter of Channel 4's The Big Breakfast.

She continues to appear regularly as one of the BBC's main swimming commentators.

Davies returned to British TV screens weekly from July 2008 as a joint host presenter along with Jim Rosenthal on Five's latest revival of the long running celebrity sports competition Superstars.[4]

She provided commentary for the BBC at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing and was a presenter at London's Olympics Handover Party in the Mall.

In January 2010 Davies took part in the ITV series Dancing on Ice, partnered by regular participant Pavel Albrecht. She was eliminated on 21 February 2010 (Week 7 of the series).

Personal life

In the 1980s, Davies lived with and was engaged to Neil Adams,[5] who had won numerous Olympic and World Championship medals in judo, until he suddenly left her to marry a hairdresser.

Davies then married physical training instructor John Crisp in West Sussex in 1987; they were divorced in 1991.

In 1992, she met athlete Derek Redmond at the Barcelona Olympics. In 1994 they were married in Northampton, and had two children together: Elliott Anthony (born 1993, Northampton) and Grace Elizabeth (born 1998, Gloucestershire). They were divorced in 2000.[6]

Davies's third marriage was to British Airways pilot Tony Kingston.[7] They were married in 2002 in Gloucestershire.[8] In autumn 2006, she announced that she was three months pregnant after IVF treatment, having been trying for a baby for four years and suffering two miscarriages. During a Sport Relief event in Devon, she said: "We re very optimistic and happy but we're cautious, too, because of what we have been through. Giving birth at 43 doesn t worry me. I'm in better shape than most women 15 years younger. So many women go through this as they leave it later to have babies." Davies gave birth to her third child and second son, Finley John Kingston-Davies, on 30 January 2007. She split up with Kingston after seven years of marriage.[9] Davies currently lives in the Grade II listed Berryfield House in the Wiltshire town of Bradford on Avon[10]


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