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Last Updated: Sunday, 14 December, 2003, 23:01 GMT
Redgrave: Britain's golden great
Sir Steven Redgrave shows off his five gold medals
Redgrave shows off his haul of five Olympic gold medals
Sir Steven Redgrave's status as the greatest British sportsman has been confirmed at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards.

The five-time Olympic champion was named as the show's Golden Personality in the 50th anniversary programme.

It is the latest in a long line of awards for the rowing legend who first won Olympic gold 19 years ago.

His fifth title came in dramatic style at the Sydney 2000 games, the same year he won the BBC award.

Three years ago Redgrave held off the challenge of fellow Olympic gold medallists Denise Lewis and Tanni Grey-Thompson.

On this occasion he won the vote ahead of the likes of Bobby Moore, Sir Henry Cooper, Ian Botham, Daley Thompson and Paula Radcliffe - all past winners.

Born in 1962, Redgrave made his debut on the international rowing circuit in 1979, when he competed at the World Junior Championships.

Within two years he had joined the senior ranks and first came to the nation's attention when winning gold in the coxed four at the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984.

He was joined in the victorious boat by Andy Holmes, with whom he enjoyed notable success down the years, including back-to-back world titles and Olympic gold in 1988.

As well as winning the coxless pairs in Seoul, Redgrave also finished third in the coxed pairs for good measure.

Redgrave's Olympic Gold Rush
1984: Coxed four
with Adrian Ellison, Andy Holmes, Martin Cross and Richard Budgett
1988: Coxless pair
with Andy Holmes
1992: Coxless pair
with Matthew Pinsent
1996: Coxless pair
with Matthew Pinsent
Following his partner's retirement, Redgrave teamed up with Simon Berrisford.

However, after finishing second at the Worlds, a back injury forced Berrisford to quit, allowing Matthew Pinsent a place in the boat.

The pair, a perfect blend of youth and experience, dominated their sport throughout the nineties.

As well as four world titles, they won Olympic gold at both Barcelona and Atlanta, after which Redgrave famously 'retired'.

"If anyone sees me anywhere near a boat they have permission to shoot me," he announced shortly after crossing the line.

It was a hollow promise and within months he was back on the water, working to win a fifth Olympic gold, a record for any endurance athlete.

Redgrave faced twin threats to his dream, but neither the tide of time lapping at his ageing limbs nor the discovery that he was suffering from diabetes knocked him off course.

In partnership with Pinsent, James Cracknell and Tim Foster he continued to win world titles and eventually that fifth gold - at the age of 38 - after which he retired for good.

An epic year ended with the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award and a knighthood.

But retirement has not slowed Redgrave and his enthusiasm for sport remains undimmed.

He ran the London Marathon in aid of the charitable trust he set up and has taken on an ambassadorial role for sport in Britain, most notably putting his weight behind London's 2012 Olympic bid.

Redgrave's record and eye for victory ensure he may just enjoy one more famous Olympic victory.





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