Sir Steven Redgrave Biography
Claim to Fame: Olympic rower
DOB: March 23, 1962
Diabetes Type: I
Winning five consecutive gold medals from 1984-2000, Sir Steven Redgrave has been regarded by many as Britain’s greatest Olympian. But Redgrave was not without his challenges as he continues to overcome health issues and the lifelong ailments. In 1992, Redgrave was diagnosed with Ulcerative colitis, a disease of the intestine that often results in inflammatory bowel disease or irritable bowel syndrome, and often leads to constant discomfort unless treated regularly. In 1997, to add to the athlete’s medical worries, Redgrave was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Nevertheless, the athlete endured, overcame, and triumphed, further showing his talent and drive.
Steven Redgrave was born in Marlow, Buckinghamshire, Great Britain, where he attended the Great Marlow School. He first received notoriety in 1983 when he won the Diamond Challenge Sculls in the Henley Royal Regatta. As a result of this success, Redgrave was sought after to row in the 1984 Olympic games in Los Angeles. Redgrave, rowing in a coxed four, won the gold medal and became well known for his versatility, rowing both bowside and strokeside (starboard and port). From 1985-1989, on behalf of the Marlow Rowing Club, Redgrave won the first of five consecutive wins as a single sculler in the Wingfield Sculls. Likewise, between 1986-1989, Redgrave won the World Championship title in Nottingham and Copenhagen where he rowed in a coxed and coxless pair, respectively. In addition to his Olympic medals, Redgrave won a total of 9 gold medals, 2 silver medals, and a bronze medal in the World Championships.
In 1988, Redgrave returned to the Olympics, this time held in Seoul, South Korea, where he won a gold medal in a coxless pair. He went on to win the gold in 1992 in Barcelona, in 1996 in Atlanta, and in 2000 in Sydney. He also competed and won a gold in every World Championship from 1991-1999. In 1997, Redgrave openly acknowledged his diabetes diagnosis and discussed his intentions to continue competing despite the disease. Though Redgrave is an active member of the diabetes community, he does not make it a point of any great importance, stating, “It's a very, very serious condition but dealt with properly, and looked after well, there's no reason why you can't carry on your normal lifestyle," The former rower remains active by competing in athletic events like the London Marathon, in which he competes in an attempt to raise awareness and support for particular charities. Redgrave has also been active in creating a fair-trade clothing line and in starting a rowing academy in Lavasa, India.
Redgrave was diagnosed with diabetes at the age of 35 and continues to accommodate the disease in his daily life. Since retiring from rowing, Redgrave has openly addressed the difficulty people with diabetes face on daily basis when it comes to balancing sugars and transitioning from one lifestyle to another. "Every waking moment you're aware that you're diabetic," Redgrave says. "But you develop a new sense — what you're going to eat, how much insulin you've got to take with that food that you're taking…” Redgrave has also discussed his transition to the use of an insulin pump to help in managing his diabetes.
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Many people say that depression is a side effect or complication of diabetes. Without discounting the association of the psychological condition with the physical one, I'm not convinced that our high and/or unstable glucose levels are directly responsible for that change in our mental state. My belief is that the unrelenting need for self-care, for following the sort of care schedules that can drive licensed, professional caregivers crazy, is what overwhelms us...