The Athletes

Collage of athlete names

All Sports for Schools athletes have represented Great Britain at the highest level in various Olympic disciplines.

Inspirational role models for primary school children, our amazing athletes and para-athletes come into your school to motivate the pupils through their stories and engage with them via kids fitness and fun. Here are just some of these extraordinary people:

AJ Pingram

Alistair 'AJ' Pingram is a former Royal Marines Engineer. He played professional hockey with the Royal Navy before an accident damaged both his ankles in 2000. He played Point Guard position in the GB Invictus team and plays for Cheshire Phoenix and Rhyl Raptors at homes in Wales.

Did you know? AJ attended his first Invictus Games as a spectator before he was encouraged to try out for the team.

Alastair Patrick Heselton

Alistair Patrick Heselton

GB Paralympic football player Alistair has an amazing story to tell. Previously a professional footballer, he survived a life changing car accident in 2006 which left him in a coma for two months. Doctors told him he may never walk again and his football career would be lost forever. Through hard work and perseverance Alistair regained his health before taking up disability football – and scoring against Argentina at London 2012 Paralympic Games!

His motto…”never stop believing”.

Amy Smith

2012 Olympic competitor Amy Smith swam for GB and was a member of the ladies 4x100m relay team. It's hard to believe that Amy was scared of the water until the age of 7 when she was first taught to swim. Even more unbelievable in that case that she qualified for her first international meet in 2006 at the age of 18!

Amy went on to win silver medals in the 2006, 2010 and 2014 Commonwealth Games and silver in the 2010 European Champs for the 4x100m freestyle relay AND she won a GOLD medal as part of the 4x100m medley relay team too!

Good luck Amy with your new business venture, 'Swim Swift Elite'.

Antony James

Team GB Olympic Swimmer Antony James competes in the 100m butterfly. Not only is he a European, Commonwealth and World Champion, he is also the ambassador for a charity called SOPD (Special Olympics Plymouth & District).

Beyond swimming, Antony is aiming for a career in psychology. He is passionate about helping children get involved in sport so he knows that this will be a life-long aim as well!
We are cheering you on, Antony!

Caitlin McClatchey

GB Swimmer Caitlin, who started swimming at the age of 3 and training at the age of 11, is an example of what hard work from a young age can achieve - can you believe that she wasn't actually a good swimmer when she first started?!

Having competed as an international swimmer for 10 years, Caitlin has recently announced her retirement. With three Olympic Games up her sleeve and a double gold win for Scotland at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games, Caitlin has also managed to study Performance Psychology at Edinburgh University!

"It's never too late to start chasing your dreams...but the sooner you start the longer you have to enjoy it!"

Caroline Buckle

Caroline joined the army in 1997 and served tours across the world as part of the Royal Logistics Corps. Caroline is now an Invictus Games competitor and competed in the 2016 Orlando Games in Shotput, Discuss, Swimming, Cycling and Archery.

Caroline's motto is "Give 100% and you cannot be disappointed".

Cassandra Patten

Cassandra Patten is one of only 9 GB swimming athletes to have won a medal at the Olympics over the last 20 years. She represented Great Britain at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing where she won a bronze medal in the 10k open water swimming event.

Cassandra is keen to help inspire young people to meet their potential and become fit, healthy and happy.

Cassandra's motto is "Tomorrow doesn't have to be just another yesterday".

Catherine Spencer

Catherine is an International Rugby Player and became captain of the England squad in 2007. One of Catherine's career highlights has been beating World Champions New Zealand as team captain in 2009. She scored the only try and was awarded player of the match.

Catherine's motto is "onwards and upwards!"

Chris Bennett

GB Hammer Thrower Chris Bennett took up the sport in 2005 and has catapulted himself into the top rankings, going from strength to strength with a throw of 74.66m at his most recent competition in Loughborough.

Did you know that Chris is one of only 5 Scots to ever throw the hammer over 70m?!

Long jump Olympic finalist Chris Tomlinson

Chris Tomlinson

3 times Olympian and twice an Olympic finalist in the long jump, Chris grew up in Middlesbrough where he discovered his talent aged 14. He is still ranked in the top 10 in the world.

Inspired by his gran, his most important role model, Chris’ greatest high was to make the London 2012 Olympics final.

Chris always gives 100% (despite having broken 10 bones in his body!) and thoroughly enjoys his sport.

His top tip for life? “Find something you enjoy and stick with it”. Great advice Chris!

Clare Cunningham

GB Paratriathlete Clare was taught from a young age that being born without her left forearm wouldn't stop her from achieving anything she wanted in life. At age 12 she was selected to join the British Paralympic Swimming Squad and competed in the 1992 and 1996 Paralympic Games.

Since retiring from swimming, she took up running to keep fit…and she has now become a Paratriathlete! Clare has won a medal at every World Championships since 2009!

Clare is off to the Paralympic Games in Rio this year. Her advice for achieving your dreams is "Be dedicated, be motivated and work hard!"

Craig McCann

GB Paralympic Fencer, Craig McCann was originally a rowing enthusiast whilst at University! In 2004 he was about to join the RAF but was discovered to have a brain tumour. By 2010 British Disabled Fencing had recognised his amazing potential and that's when his full time training began.

Craig represented GB at World and European champs in 2011 and went on to reach the quarter finals in the 2012 London Olympics.

Now training for the disciplines of Paracycling (2014 national champion) and Paratriathlon.

Craig's motto for life is to 'make every obstacle an opportunity'.
What an inspiration to us all!

Danielle Brown

Danielle is a double Paralympic gold medalist in archery and three time World Champion.

Danielle currently holds all 12 Paralympic world records and was ranked world number 1 for her entire career.

Danielle wants to use her story to inspire others.

Dan James

Dan has competed for England and Great Britain for over 8 years and has made over 75 appearances for the team. Dan plays the very special position of goalkeeper within blind football. He is the only sighted player on the team which makes it a very unique position.

Dan's greatest achievements are competing at the 2008 and 2012 Paralympic Games.

Darius Knight

GB Table Tennis player Darius Knight has been playing above his age since reaching international standard when he was just 12 years old. At 14, he had his debut playing for the England Men's Senior team at the 6 Nations. Since then, Darius has been in the top 5 in the English Senior Rankings and is currently ranked number 3.

Darius has been all over the place during his career, playing in the French, Spanish, Belgian and German leagues! Next on the list is Sweden!

Did you know that Darius has made his own brand of Table Tennis equipment?! He says that each product has a unique story that relates to different aspects of his life.

Darren Harris

Darren is a Paralympic Blind Footballer. He was born with normal vision but at 15 months old was diagnosed with a condition which cause him to lose his eyesight.

Did you know...Darren is the most decorated blind footballer in British history with 8 medals!

Dave Abrutat

GB Hand Cyclist Dave Abrutat was involved in a serious road traffic accident just after completing his PhD in Animal Science at Bristol University in 2000. Despite breaking his back in 4 different places, he was competing at the National Veterans' Wheelchair games in New York just a year after his accident. He even won 5 gold medals and was later voted Yorkshire Disabled Sports Personality of the Year!

From being awarded the Commando Medal as the best recruit in the Royal Marines Reserve to winning 5 gold medals as a hand cyclist…Dave, your hard work is an inspiration to us all!

David Hill with cycle

David Hill

Paralympic swimmer and triathlete David Hill grew up by the sea where he learnt to swim at a young age. Despite being born with no left forearm, David was earning swimming badges by the age of 3! His talent was nurtured until David qualified for the 2004 Paralympic Games. He was world silver medalist in swimming in 2006 and took bronze medals in 2009 in both European and World competitions.

In 2012 David took up the triathlon, and has already gained 4th place at the World championships in 2013.

We wish him all the best and, as David says, “there’s no such word as can’t”!

Dominick Cunningham

Dominick is a GB Gymnast as is currently training hard for the Rio Olympics. Dominick's specialism is the floor but he has won a lot of medals across all of the gymnastics disciplines.

Dominick's career highlight to date was at the Australian Youth Olympics where he won 2 Gold.

Dominic King

Dominic King is a GB Racewalker. He was selected for the British team in the men's 50km walk at the 2012 Summer Olympics and is competing at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.

Interestingly, Dominic also has a twin brother called Daniel who is also a racewalker and is Dominic's training partner.

Gemma Collis

Growing up Gemma was very athletic and took part in lots of sports, competing at a national level in Figure Skating and representing her county in Hockey and Athletics. In 2008, Gemma's dreams were dashed when she was diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, a progressive nervous system disease.

Gemma tried Wheelchair Fencing when she was studying at Durham University and just 10 months after discovering the sport, competed at the London 2012 Paralympics.

Gemma says "since I have become disabled I have learnt that you have to see obstacles as hurdles you can get over, not barriers stopping you."

Grant Turner swimming

Grant Turner

Born in Swindon, now living in Loughborough, Grant is a GB Swimmer and a huge 1.93m tall. Describing himself as relaxed, happy and complicated, Grant’s specialisms are the 50m and 100m freestyle events. Having competed in the 2010 Commonwealth Games, the 2011 World Championships and the 2012 Olympics, Grant swims over 60km a week when training.

Grant’s greatest role model in life is his father and his family are most important to him. Grant’s top tip for life is to enjoy what you do. He believes that happiness leads to success.

Hannah Whelan

GB Olympic gymnast, the energetic Hannah began gym classes at the age of 6, having always cartwheeled around the supermarket with her mum! She was first selected to represent GB at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and went on to compete in various World and European champs as well as the London 2012 Olympic team.

Hannah won an all-round bronze medal and team gold medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and is twice British champion.

Beam and floor are Hannah's favourites.

"Never give up on your dreams", a top tip from Hannah!

Helen Galashan

Helen is former British Gymnastics Champion and represented GB for 5 years.

After retiring from gymnastics, Helen set her sights on competing in her 3rd Commonwealth Games but this time as a 10m platform diver and in less that 2 years she became national champion.

Helen also has a twin and she has always enjoyed competing against her!

Jack Rutter

Jack is a GB Paralympic Footballer and is captain of the England Cerebral Palsy team.

Jack was due to become a professional footballer until an unprovoked assault led to him suffering brain damage.

Jack will be captain of the CP Team at the Paralympic Games in Rio 2016.

Jack's motto is "It matters not how many times you fall down, what matters most is how many times you rise"

Jade Nimmo

Jade is a GB Long Jumper and is the Scottish record holder. She has competed at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and 2016 Scottish National Championships.

Jade broke the Scottish national women's long jump record almost 40 years after the original record had been made!

James Denny

GB Diver James Denny started diving when he was 12 years old in 2005. One of his first events was the Junior European Champs but 2014 became THE year for James!

He came 4th at the European Champs in the 10m synchro with Tom Daley.

He won a silver medal at the Commonwealth Games in the same event with Tom.

He won silver at the British Champs in the 3m synchro event with Oliver Dingley and GOLD on his own in the 3m event.

And to top it all James was the first ever British male diver to complete forward 4.5 somersaults in competition!

James' motto: 'Where there's a will, there's a way'.

James Kirton

Olympic swimmer James Kirton represented GB for over 6 years. His events were the 100m and 200m Breaststroke.

Through a determination to find his inner strength, James defied injuries to swim his way into the 2008 Olympics in Beijing as well as various other World and European Championships.

Recently retired from swimming, James now dedicates his time to working with young people at his swimming club in Sheffield and local schools.

James reached his dream of becoming an Olympian through dedication, commitment and a positive attitude...a strong message indeed!

Jenny Wallwork

GB Badminton player Jenny was virtually born into the sport! Her mum played for England and her dad was an international badminton coach for 15 years. There was little doubt therefore than Jenny would take up sport!

Jenny travelled the globe playing badminton and became number 5 in the world.

Her most recent achievement was winning silver in the 2010 Commonwealth Games in the mixed doubles.

"Believe in yourself" says Jenny, and "your attitude is your altitude, it determines how high you fly.".

Joanne Jackson GB swimmer holding medal and flowers

Joanne Jackson

GB Olympic swimmer Joanne specialises in the 200m, 400m and 800m freestyle events. She swam in her first Olympic Games in Athens aged just 17. She has since broken a world record, become Britain’s most successful female swimmer and represented her country at 3 Olympic Games.

If she hadn't taken up swimming Joanne says she would have liked to be a teacher. Her advice would be to “enjoy the little things in life, for one day you will look back and realise they were the big things”.

What’s next for Joanne? She would love to start a Swimming Academy!

Joe Ikhinmwin

Joe is a GB Basketball Player and began playing at the age of 14. From the ages of 16-18, Joe represented England internationally. He later captained the under 20 Great British Team at the European Champs. Joe then spent the next five years studying and playing college basketball in the USA before returning to the UK to begin his professional career.

Joe was born and raised in the East End of London and is fully committed to giving back to his local community.

Joe Roebuck

GB Olympic swimmer Joe was ten times British Champion, double Commonwealth silver medallist, double European medallist and London 2012 Olympic semi-finallist.

His events are the 100m and 200m Butterfly and the 200m and 400m Individual Medley (all four strokes). You certainly need a lot of strength and stamina for these gruelling races!

Recently retired from swimming, Joe is now studying at Loughborough University and striving for success with his business, 'Swim Swift Elite'.

Joe's motto: 'Happy swimmers are fast swimmers. Enjoy what you do'.

Katrina Hart

Katrina is a GB para-athlete who was born with cerebral palsy. She says her PE teacher was the person who encouraged her to really pursue her sporting ambitions and she was already competing by age 14.

Despite injuring her hamstring during the 2008 Beijing Games, she was back like a storm in 2010, winning gold at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi and another gold (as well as a bronze!) at the World Championships in New Zealand. A well-deserved bronze medal was also won at the London 2012 Games in the 4x100m Relay!

Katrina's advice to those just starting out in sport is this: “The most important thing is to enjoy it - you’ll excel because of that - but you have to be serious about your involvement to succeed." Wise words!

Kelly Simm GB gymnast floor routine

Kelly Simm

Kelly grew up in the South of England, is now one of the rising stars of British Gymnastics. She is known for her powerful tumbling on the floor, and recently won Gold at the British Championships in the vault. She is also the English floor champion.

Kelly says, "don't follow your dreams... chase them!"

Kelvin Batey

Kelvin is a GB BMX rider and started when he was just 6 years old! He became World Champion at the 2015 Masters World Championships.

Kelvin's motto is "pressure is the shadow of opportunity"

Kola Adedoyin GB Triple Jumper

Kola Adedoyin

Kola won 1st place in Triple Jump at the GB National Indoor Championships in March 2013 giving him the no. 1 GB rank. Whilst training full time, Kola also managed to study (full time – get that?!?) for his degree and graduated from Brunel University in October 2013.

His favourite subject at school was always P.E. although he believes that the most important subject is maths.

“Work hard in the winter, show off in the summer” is Kola’s motto!

Lee Whiteley paralympic sprinter

Lee Whiteley

Told by doctors (well his mother was told) that he would probably die within months of his birth, Lee is living proof that anything is possible. Paralympic 100m and 200m sprinter in the T38 classification, Lee is European record holder and British record holder for the T38 100m. How inspiring is that?!?

Lee most recently took part in the 2014 European Championships. His big aim in life is to pass knowledge and experience on to inspire the next generation.

“Be true to yourself and believe in yourself” are wise words from Lee.

Liz Cann

GB Badminton Player Liz Cann has competed at the European Champs, World Champs and Commonwealth Games.

Liz's top tip for life is to do the best that you know how to do.

Liz's greatest achievements are winning her medals at the Commonwealth Games.

She is now busy inspiring the next generation.

Luke Delahunty

Luke served in the RAF for 8 years as a Senior Aircraftman. In 1996 he was in a motorbike crash which left him paralysed from the chest down. Luke competed in the 2016 Invictus Games in Orlando and specialises in rowing and hand-cycling.

Luke cycled from London to Paris in 2012!

Luke Lennon Ford sprinting

Luke Lennon-Ford

400m Olympic sprinter Luke is one of Britain’s most exciting sprint talents on the track. He first realised he wanted to be a sprinter aged 13 and by the age of 23 he had already claimed silver medals at the world indoors, the European indoors and the European Champs. Luke was picked for the 4x400m relay squad at the London 2012 Olympics.

Inspired by his coach, Linford Christie, Luke’s top tip for life is to “stay ready so you don’t have to get ready”.

Meghan Beesley with GB flag

Meghan Beesley

The 400m hurdles are Meghan’s speciality. Having recently completed a Bachelor’s degree at Loughborough University, Meghan hopes to become a maths teacher. In the meantime she won a silver medal in the 4x100m relay at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi.

The things that Meghan is most grateful for in life are the friends, family, grants, scholarships and sponsors that have enabled her to train. Long may they continue!

Meghan’s motto is “don’t worry that your best won’t be good enough. Have a go at everything, don’t quit, try your hardest and you will have no regrets”.

Michael Churm

Michael Churm is a GB Paralympic Sprinter and competes in the T37 category. He made the finals in both the T37 100m and 200m finals in the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing. Michael's greatest high is winning his Paralympic silver medal and becoming European Champion.

Michael's top tip for life is to treat other people how you would like them to treat you.

Nathan Fox

Great Britain Triple-Jumper Nathan Fox is the Under 16 Triple Jump record holder, the 2008 English Schools Champion and 2010 (Under 23) England Champion. Nathan trains at Brunel University and is coached by 3-times British Olympic triple jumper Larry Achike.

In 2012 Nathan achieved silver medal at the National championships, has made over 30 British International appearances, and was a finalist at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

Nathan's top tip is to "always do something you have a passion for. Never give up and always have fun!"

Peter Waterfield

For over 15 years now, Peter has represented GB in diving. Having travelled the globe he finished the London 2012 Olympic Games in 4th place with partner Tom Daley in the 10m synchronised event.

Peter has won medals at every major international event on the diving calendar. His greatest high was winning the Olympic silver medal in 2004 and his greatest low was retiring from the sport in July 2012.

Peter now wants to concentrate his time on building a career around inspiring children into sport.

Philippa Tuttiett

Philippa is a Welsh International Rugby Player. She worked her way through the ranks at club and regional rugby before becoming Wales Development Captain. Philippa also works full time as a builder and owns the UK's only all-female building company.

Philippa says "Take your time, stay focused on your goal and enjoy the journey!"

Rebecca Gallantree

Rebecca is a GB diver and has competed at both the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Rebecca won a Gold medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in the 3m synchronised diving with Alicia Blagg.

Rebecca's top tip is "enjoy your sport"

Rhiannon Henry in paralympic cycling event

Rhiannon Henry

Born in Wales and now living in Manchester, Rhiannon is a Paralympic Swimmer turned cyclist. She has been training since she was eight years old and is visually impaired. Competing at her third Paralympic Games in London, Rhiannon set a British Record in the 200m Individual Medley final,
and in the 100m Freestyle she missed out on a medal by just 0.10 seconds to finish in 4th place. Rhiannon recently retired from cycling competitively and is now focused on inspiring the next genereation.

Rhiannon’s greatest achievement to date is representing Wales at the Commonwealth Games in Manchester, 2002. Her biggest influence is her friends and family.

Rich Parker

Rich is a GB Inline Skater who has been rollerblading since he was just 10 years old and was qualified as a professional skater by the age of 17. Since 2004 he has traveled around the world competing at the highest level.

Rich won a silver medal at the 2011 X-Games and is three times European Champion. He is still the number one ranked UK half-pipe inline skater.

Did you know that Rich was the second person in the world to ever land a double back flip 180 on a half-pipe?!

Rion Pierre

GB Sprinter Rion was born in Jamaica and moved to England with his family when he was 5. Mutli-talented at many sports, he was signed to Chelsea FC's youth team. But when Rion was 14 he was stabbed in a non-gang related incident and struggled to recover his fitness and was released from Chelsea.

Rion wants to inspire the next generation and set up a sports physio clinic to support young athletes.

What's your motto, Rion?
"If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you always got."

Roy Turnham

GB Paralympic Footballer Roy Turnham was originally an 800m runner in the UK Athletics development squad. Roy always loved football and began to play competitively with Everton in the National Blind League in 2008.

Roy made his Paralympic debut at London 2012 and was part of the Football 5-a-side team that finished in 7th place.

Roy has a sister who is also a successful athlete - a Para-cyclist and they both competed at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

Sally Scott

Sally is a GB Pole Vaulter and won a Bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Sally is able to jump through the top window of a double decker bus!!

Sam Brearey

Sam is a GB Dinghy Sailor. He was the first, and to date, the only British sailor to win the prestigious 420 Junior European Championships in Holland and more recently won the Fireball World Championships in 2014.

Sam's top piece of advice is "you miss 100% of the shots you don't take".

Sarah Holt throwing hammer

Sarah Holt

GB Hammer thrower Sarah competed in the World junior championships in Beijing in 2006 and went on to break the UK U23 British record in Germany where she was selected as GB captain. Sarah competed in the 2010 Commonwealth Games and the 2012 European Championships.

Sarah has suffered recurring back injuries but with the help of her support team and some strong willed self-management she is now training hard once again.

Sean Rose at winter paralympics

Sean Rose

Born in 1971 in Middlesborough, Sean now lives in Cambridgeshire. A world class sportsman and adventurer, Sean is a double winter Paralympian as well as a skiing and water skiing champion.

A freak ski accident in 2000 broke his back and left him paralysed from the waist down.

In 2013 Sean retired from competitive skiing as Britain’s most successful alpine ski racer ever and is now a hugely inspirational motivational speaker.

No matter how hard or difficult the challenge Sean encourages and guides peoples’ intentions to achieve more in life. Sean says, “Life doesn’t have to end when you’re in a wheelchair or have other conditions or issues. It ends if you give up!”

Serita Solomon

Having made her debut in 2007 at the Loughborough International Championships, GB International sprinter Serita has gone on to make over 15 British International appearances.

Grateful to be competing in a sport that she loves supported by wonderful friends and family.

Stuart Robinson

GB Wheelchair Rugby Player Stuart Robinson was a commander for the RAF Regiment Force Protection from 1999 until 2013. It was in 2013 that Stuart was injured in Afghanistan and has since turned to wheelchair rugby, competing in the first Invictus Games in 2014.

Stuart is currently working with several UK armed forces charities. He is also the founder of Disabled Discoveries, an online portal helping the disabled community. We are proud to support you, Stuart!

Theo Spalding

Five times British Champion Theo Spalding grew up in East London and took up Judo as a way of keeping out of trouble. He has many achievements tied under his black belt now, as he is also a European Cup Medallist, Commonwealth Champion and 1st place Heart of England Champion!

Theo believes that there is so much more to sport than just physical activity...his compelling story reminds us that sport is a way of life.

Tom Lancashire

Tom is a GB Olympic middle distance runner specialising in the 1500m. Over the past 6 years he has been one of Britain’s top athletes at this event. Having represented GB at junior and senior level on the track, Tom has also competed at Olympic, World, Commonwealth and European Championships.

In 2010 he not only ran the fastest time for 1500m by a British athlete for 5 years, but also ran the fastest mile time by anyone in Europe!

Tom studied exercise science at Florida University and is set to study medicine at Manchester University. Both his parents are doctors.

Watch out for Tom, a promising future star.