Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Sharon Davies (born 1 November 1962) is one of Britain's most successful swimmers ever. Having won two gold medals at the Commonwealth Games and a silver at the 1980 Olympics in Moscow, Davies has built a successful second career as television presenter and patron for charities for disabled children and fitness.
Davies grew up in Plymouth and Plymstock. She learnt to swim at age 6 and was training seriously two years later. She set a record by swimming for the British national team at the age of only 11. In 1976, still a few months prior to her fourteenth birthday, Davies was selected to represent Britain at the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal. Although her performance was not enough to get her in the medals but it did make her a household name. The next year she stepped a gear to win two bronze medals in the 1977 European Championships. The following year, still just sixteen, 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 400m individual medley behind East German Petra Schneider . Many years later a television documentary revealed that Schneider's performance had been drug-assisted. Davies, along with a United States relay team beaten by a similarly assisted East German team at the 1976 games, appealed to the International Olympic Committee to have their medals upgraded in 1998. The IOC agreed that the East German swimmers had cheated, but that it could not "rewrite history" by re-distributing medals so long after the event. It urged the drug-using athletes to hand over their medals to their competitors or to a museum voluntarily.
At the age of 18, Davies called time on the first stage of her swimming career in order to build her television profile and a career in modelling. In 1989 she returned to the pool where she picked up two more medals at the 1990 Commonwealth Games. By the time she finally hung up her swimsuit for good in 1994, she had been a British champion on twenty occasions and had broken 200 British swimming records and 5 World Masters records (eligible to those over 30). She was briefly linked romantically with Daley Thompson.
Davies 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. Inside of their usual functional sporting outfits, the athletes adopted a variety of sexy outfits in order 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 as Gladiator 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.
Davies is married to Tony Kingston. She has two children from previous marriage to athlete Derek Redmond , whom she divorced in 2000. In 1993 she was awarded the MBE for her services to swimming. Davies is a current patron of the Disabled Sport England and The Sports Aid Foundation. Davies is also the face of the Swim for Life charity event.
External links and references
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