Sharron Elizabeth Davies, MBE (born 1 November 1962) is an English former competitive swimmer who represented Great Britain in the Olympics and European championships, and competed for England in the Commonwealth Games. 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 a television presenter and served as a patron of charities for disabled children and fitness. She was also a contestant on Dancing on Ice 2010.
|Full name||Sharron Elizabeth Davies|
|National team||Great Britain|
|Born||1 November 1962|
Plymouth, Devon, UK
|Height||5 ft 11 in (180 cm)|
|Weight||10 st 6 lb (66 kg)|
|Club||Portsmouth Northsea SC|
Sharron 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 school Kelly College, which is now known as Mount Kelly, in Tavistock. She learnt to swim with Devonport Royal Swimming Association. She moved to Port of Plymouth Swimming Association when she was eight and was coached by Ray Bickley (ASA Coach) until he became seriously ill. Her father Terry, then initially worked with Ray coaching her in swimming.
She learned to swim at the age of six and was training seriously two years later. In her biography Against the Tide published in 1984 Sharron records that 'being accepted into Ray's Port of Plymouth squad was one of the many watershed points of my career' she goes on to describe how 'he corrected all her bad habits and developed me into a four-stroke swimmer. Ray laid the foundations of the medley swimmer that was to blossom 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.
At the age of eighteen, Davies called time on the first stage of her swimming career 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 retired for good in 1994, she had been a British champion on 22 occasions and had broken two hundred British swimming records and 5 World Masters records (eligible to those over 30).
At the ASA National British Championships she won 22 titles - the 100 metres freestyle title in 1978, 200 metres freestyle title in 1977 and 1978, 400 metres freestyle title in 1977, 1978 and 1979, 800 metres freestyle title in 1978, 200 metres backstroke title in 1976, 1977 and 1978, 200 metres medley title in 1976, 1977, 1978, 1980, 1989 and 1992, 400 metres medley title in 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979 and 1980 and the 50 metres butterfly title in 1992.
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.
Davies's 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". In 1984 she appeared as the guest dart player, throwing for charity, on British game show Bullseye.
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 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.
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.
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).
Davies's third marriage was to British Airways pilot Tony Kingston. They were married in 2002 in Gloucestershire. 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 on 30 January 2007. She split up with Kingston after seven years of marriage.
Davies believes that trans women should not be allowed to compete in women's sports. Three national LGBT sports associations in the UK released a statement saying her comments were "deeply irresponsible transphobia". Her words were supported by Olympic medal-winning sports women Sally Gunnell, Nicola Adams, and Kelly Holmes.
- "Mount Kelly Swimming". kellycollege.com. Retrieved 21 May 2015.
- Sharron Davies Against The Tide Willow Books 1984
- "'My children mean more to me than any medals', says Sharron Davies". The Evening Standard. Retrieved 21 May 2015.
- Against the Tide Sharon Davies published Willow Books 1984
- "Schneider Fesses Up". Swimming World News. Archived from the original on 16 July 2011. Retrieved 21 May 2015.
- ""Swimming." Times, 25 July 1977, p. 6". Times Digital Archive.
- "Hennessy, John. "Swimming." Times, 29 May 1978, p. 12". Times Digital Archive.
- "Hennessy, John. "Swimming." Times, 30 May 1978, p. 6". Times Digital Archive.
- "Hennessy, John. "Swimming." Times, 24 May 1980, p. 17". Times Digital Archive.
- "Hennessy, John. "Swimming." Times, 26 May 1980, p. 11". Times Digital Archive.
- "Downes, Steven. "Selectors juggle numbers for Bonn." Times, 17 July 1989, p. 31". Times Digital Archive.
- ""Results from Sheffield." Times, 15 June 1992, p. 28". Times Digital Archive.
- "No. 53153". The London Gazette (Supplement). 30 December 1992. pp. 12–13.
- "Superstars twinkle with 1.3m". broadcastnow.co.uk. Retrieved 21 May 2015.
- "The water babe". Telegraph.co.uk. 29 August 2004. Retrieved 21 May 2015.
- Eden, Richard (19 September 2009). "Olympic swimmer Sharron Davies separates from her third husband". telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
- Rowley, Emma (21 September 2009). "Swim legend Sharron in split from husband No3". express.co.uk. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
- "Olympic swimmer Sharron Davies separates from her third husband - Telegraph". Retrieved 10 August 2015.
- "Make Christmas Villages easily with My Village". www.myvillage.com. Retrieved 20 November 2017.
- "find my past". findmypast.com. Retrieved 21 May 2015.
- Fulton, Rick (23 January 2010). "Swimmer Sharron Davies hopes to prove Dancing on Ice critics wrong". Daily Record.
- "Former Olympian says transgender athletes should not compete in women's sport". The Independent. 3 March 2019. Retrieved 3 March 2019.
- "LGBT sport organisations respond to Sharron Davies anti-trans claims · PinkNews". www.pinknews.co.uk. Retrieved 6 March 2019.