Tanni was born in Cardiff, Wales and with supportive parents and an independent streak she was determined to find out for herself what she could and couldn’t do. By the age of 13 Tanni realised that Wheelchair Racing was her sport of choice competing as a junior athlete, and at 17 she became part of the British Wheelchair Racing Squad.
Over the course of her sporting career Tanni competed in 5 Paralympic games with an amazing medal haul: Seoul in 1988 (bronze medal in the 400m); Barcelona in 1992 ( four gold medals in the 100m, 200m, 400m and 800 metres and a silver in the 4x100m relay. It was also at Barcelona that Tanni became the first women to break the 60 second barrier for 400m); Atlanta in 1996 (gold medal in the 800 metres, 3 x silver medals in the 100, 200 and 400 metres); Sydney in 2000 (four gold medals in the 100m, 200m, 400m and 800 metres); Athens in 2004 (gold medal in the 100m and 400m).
In 1992 Tanni also claimed victory in the London Wheelchair Marathon (the first of six wins) and over her career she added to that 5 gold, 4 silver and 3 bronze medals at World Championships and broke 30 World Records on the track.
Since her retirement, Tanni has continued to be involved in sport and physical activity. She is chair of UKActive. She is a Board Member of the London Marathon, the Sportsaid Foundation, the Duke of Edinburgh Awards and Join In. In addition to this she is also a Board Member of several organisations including Transport for London, the London Legacy Development Corporation and the London 2017 Organising Committee. She is also Chancellor of Northumbria University.
In 2010 Tanni became an Independent Crossbench Peer in the House of Lords, taking the title Baroness Grey-Thompson of Eaglescliffe in the County of Durham. As a working peer Tanni uses her experience and knowledge during debates in the House and she has spoken on a range of issues including Disability Rights, Welfare Reform, and of course, Sport.
Her voice and insightful analysis has been a key part of the coverage at a number of events including the London Marathon, World and European Championships, Olympic and Paralympic Games and she has also presented BBC Wales X-ray, Big Welsh Challenge, Land of our Mothers, BBC2’s From the Edge, and also worked for BBC Radio Wales, Five Live, and Radio Tees.