Triple Olympic rowing champion Pete Reed has backed former mentor Katherine Grainger to emerge victorious in the Sporting Legend category at November’s National Lottery Awards.
This year’s ceremony marks the 25th Birthday of the National Lottery and will celebrate the success of the UK’s favourite National Lottery-funded programmes and people, with over £40 billion having been raised for good causes since its inception in 1994.
Grainger – who won a gold and four silvers at five successive Olympic Games between 2000 and 2016 - is one of 12 nominees in the Sporting Legend category, among other heroes including Sir Mo Farah and Dame Sarah Storey.
And Reed, 37, believes Britain’s most decorated female Olympian deserves recognition for her contribution to sport on and off the water.
He said: “Katherine’s an amazing person – she’s got five Olympic medals which is extraordinary.
“But it’s the other things that make her stand out too – she took me under her wing on my very first day with the GB squad on a training camp in Belgium.
“She’s so grounded, so down-to-earth, so likeable and so knowledgeable.
“She’s passionate about sport and rowing and she always has a massive impact wherever she goes.
“She’s done a lot to help improve female participation in sport and she’s currently the Chair of UK Sport, too.”
Grainger’s achievements have helped inspire a new generation of athletes to get involved in sport and contribute to GB’s increased success on the global stage.
Since National Lottery funding was introduced in 1997, British athletes have gone on to win 864 Olympic and Paralympic medals, and Reed believes the emergence of role models such as Grainger has been key to improved strength in depth.
“It’s really important to have them to look up to,” he said.
“The likes of Katherine have shown that winning is possible and that it can be a reality for young people who are looking to get into sport.
“She’s someone I’ve always looked up to – she’s an icon and will always be a legend of the sport that people can aspire to emulate.”
The Sporting Legend category is one of nine at the awards and Reed says he can’t wait to reflect on the success National Lottery funding has had across the UK at a range of levels.
He said: “It’s going to be a huge celebration for all of the finalists and there are some great causes.
“I’m really excited to hear all of the different projects that the National Lottery have contributed to, because it’s transformed sport as we know it.”
Vote now in the 25th Birthday National Lottery Awards at www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/awards