Arguably Britain’s highest profile and most popular female athlete, Rebecca Adlington became a household name following her two gold medal-winning performances at the Beijing Games in August 2008.
She has cemented her place as one of the greatest distance swimmers of all time by becoming World, European and Commonwealth Champion and completing the international set of gold medals.
Away from the pool she received an OBE from the Queen at Buckingham Palace, won the Laureus World Sports Awards ‘Breakthrough of the Year Award’ and the SJA Sportswoman of the Year in 2008 and 2011.
Adlington is Britain’s first Olympic swimming champion since 1988, the first British swimmer to win two Olympic gold medals since 1908 and is Great Britain’s most successful Olympic swimmer in 100 years.
Born and educated in Mansfield, Adlington started swimming with Sherwood Colliery Swimming Club, and was later selected for the Nottinghamshire County Swim Squad (Nova Centurion).
In the Beijing heats of the 400 m freestyle, Rebecca broke the Commonwealth record. On 11 August 2008 she won an Olympic gold medal in the same event, beating Katie Hoff of the USA. Rebecca was the first woman to win swimming gold for Great Britain since Anita Lonsbrough in 1960, and is the first British swimmer to win more than one gold medal at a single Olympic Games since Henry Taylor won three in 1908.
At the London 2012 Olympic Games, Rebecca Adlington won bronze medals in the women’s 400m and 800m freestyle events.