STAGING Why vote Katherine for SPOTY? by Anna Watkins - British Rowing

Why vote Katherine for SPOTY? by Anna Watkins


So Katherine is nominated for BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

That’s amazing, not least as it’s been the best year for sport that any of us can remember.


To make the list in this year of all years is incredible. But I think we can go even better. I think Katherine deserves to win the whole thing, and here’s why:

Her sporting record is simply without equal. She has ascended the heights, reaching the very pinnacle of her sport. She also triumphed across time and scale. She became a World Champion six times and is the first British woman ever to win four Olympic medals at four consecutive games, in any sport.

She was part of Britain’s first-ever Olympic rowing medal for the women, back in Sydney, and was of course among that memorable group that claimed those three very first Olympic golds for women’s rowing.

I can’t think of a rowing first that she doesn’t have!

She has won a gold or silver medal at each major championships for ten years on the trot.

Katherine may not have won the Tour de France but she has completed an extraordinary tour of rowing. There are five Olympic rowing events for women (and one for lightweight women). Of these, two are sweep boats, the pair and the eight. Three are sculling boats, the single, double and quad.

There could not be a bigger world of difference between competing within the noise, dynamism and team synergy of the eights, and then going and racing the single with its silence, grit and psychological battles.

Katherine has not just competed in all these, she has won a World Championship medal- in all five – and that makes her very rare indeed.

Katherine’s story, and the way she communicated it, was one of the moments of the games. The pressure she heaped upon herself when she decided that four more years would be gambled in the pursuit of her goal was compounded by a huge media interest.

Every interview that we did before the games contained the question, “so why will this one be different?” And every time it hurt her deeply.

She brought the country on to her side and carried their hopes and dreams with her own.

As a rowing partner, she has taught me so much. Katherine taught me to believe in myself and to be excited about possibilities, excited about the sheer joy of a race.

Together this summer and for the two summers before, we have planned and discussed, tested and improved every aspect of our training and racing. We watched tiny details in slow motion and then we went into hyperspeed to go out and beat anyone who would race us.

In our race in London we had so much trust, so much belief that we were capable of winning, that we could put the pressure to one side and just race like hell. I even enjoyed our Olympic final, though Katherine was scarred by the near misses and didn’t dare enjoy it till it was over.

We crossed the line and for a precious moment, it was just us in our boat surveying the scene. We hugged and she went off to be a superstar.

And then in the morning, back in our hotel, she put the kettle on and brought me a cup of tea.

*** Anna Watkins won gold at London 2012 with Katherine Grainger in the women’s double scull.

– Grainger shortlisted for BBC SPOTY Award:
Katherine Grainger‘s GBRT biography:
Anna Watkins‘ GBRT biography:

The BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2012 is from a shortlist of 12 sportsmen and women, voted for and presented live on Sunday December 16. It is decided by a public, phone vote with athlete-specific numbers announced on the night.

To get your own ‘VOTE GRAINGER’ image to use, please see the GB Rowing Team’s Facebook page: