• Phil Packer

Olympic Champion, Sally Gunnell OBE DL, joins Row Britannia

Sally remains the only woman ever to hold four major track titles concurrently – Olympic, World, European and Commonwealth.


In 1989, Sally took Gold at the European Cup 400m flat race in Gateshead; her speed, endurance and mental toughness were becoming apparent. She won the 1990 Commonwealth Games 400m hurdles title in Auckland; Sally had found her perfect event and grew rapidly in stature.

Tokyo’s 1991 World Championships could so easily have brought her the Gold medal; in the lead at the penultimate hurdle, she glanced across at one of her rivals. That uncharacteristic split second of mental diversion left her with the Silver and a burning sense of disappointment. Sally returned to the track’s biggest stage in 1992; the Barcelona Olympics. Months of hard graft paid off and she won Olympic Gold.

Sally worked even harder during the off-season of 1992/3, building in a raft of changes to her nutrition, physical, and technical training; nothing was left to chance. But on arrival in Germany for the World Championships in Stuttgart, Sally developed a heavy cold. Such was her state of illness the night before the race that she called a press conference to announce her withdrawal. At the last minute, she had a change of heart and pulled the conference. This proved to be an excellent decision; although feeling well below par, Sally stormed to the Gold, setting a new World Record in the process.

Although her later career was blighted by injury, eventually coming to an end in 1997, Sally’s achievements in ’92 and ’93 assured her place in the history books. No other woman has held Commonwealth, European, World, and Olympic track titles concurrently.

Following her retirement from international athletics, Sally developed a new career as a television presenter and inspirational speaker. She has written four books on fitness, health, self-fulfilment, and wellbeing.

Today, she mixes keynote speaking and running corporate wellbeing programmes. She is also a high-profile supporter of healthy and active family initiatives in the UK.


We are delighted that Sally has joined Row Britannia and will be visiting The University of Sussex on the 14th January 2020 between 2pm and 3.30pm.



Olympic Champion, Sally Gunnell OBE DL, joins Row Britannia

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