Tessa Sanderson CBE

Tessa Sanderson CBE

6 times Olympian
Keynote Address - Thursday 14th October

On the 6th August 1984 at the Summer Olympics in Los Angeles Tessa Sanderson won the Gold in the Women's Javelin and became the first black woman to win a Gold for Great Britain. She remains today the only British person, man or woman to ever win a throwing Gold Medal, a record that has been maintained for over 36 years.

Tessa competed in six Olympic Games from 1976 to 1996, and in addition to the Olympic Gold, won three Commonwealth Golds and a World Cup Gold in Cuba in 1990. In total Tessa made 61 appearances at Internationals, and it was her sixth appearance at the Games that she again made history, equalling that of any Olympic woman and becoming the only Briton to achieve such a landmark. Tessa also held the British heptathlon record in 1980/81. 

In March 2004 New Years Honours list Tessa Sanderson was awarded the CBE by Her Majesty the Queen, in recognition of her services to sport and her role as Vice Chairman of Sport England.  Prior to the CBE she was the recipient of an OBE in December 1997 for her work with various charities and in 1985 was awarded the MBE for winning her Olympic Gold Medal for Great Britain in Los Angeles. In October 2004 Tessa was awarded the Sunday Times Life Times Achievement Award for her dedication to sport.

Tessa holds two Honorary Fellowship Degrees, one from South Bank University in London in 2004, and prior to that Wolverhampton Polytechnic. She also has an honorary Masters Degree from Birmingham University. Tessa became the first female to be appointed Vice Chair for Sport England a role she held for 6 years. Tessa is a keynote speaker, accomplished motivational presenter and awards host and TV & radio personality across sport, entertainment and media. She is also a business ambassador for carefully selected brands that she is personally committed to.

During her 26 years competing for Great Britain Tessa was voted Sports Personality of the Year and Athlete of the Year (3 times) by the Athletics Writers Association, she also presented the Sports News for 2/3 years for Sky Television. Her media career involved television presenting for BBC, ITV, Bloomberg, GMTV, Talk Sport Radio, Sky.

Tessa was a Board member of the Olympic Park Legacy Company and continues to be very involved with the local area today. Her charity support is extensive, in addition to her own  Foundation her latest work includes being  Patron of Adoption UK having adopted two young twins herself. More recently she became Patron for the Birmingham Commonwealth Association and is an Ambassador for Move it or Lose it, a campaign aiming at improving the fitness of older people, particularly during the pandemic of 2020. She continues to keep in close contact with the area she grew up in, Wolverhampton and supports Birmingham and the West Midlands on a regular basis through media, charitable initiatives and business.

Joining us as our closing keynote speaker, Tessa will share her own story and talk about the role that resilience and determination play in coping with the ups and downs of competition and daily life.