Tessa Sanderson (b. 1956) is a six-time Olympian who competed for Team Great Britain in javelin from the 1976 Olympics until 1996 Games. She won gold in the event in 1984.

Sanderson is the first black British woman to win an Olympic gold medal and the first British athlete to win a throwing event at the Olympics.

She battled both rivals and injuries and competed at the Olympic level for eight years before making history.

“We were all capable of throwing that distance but when I threw that in the first round I thought, ‘This is a big competition, they are going to have to throw like hell to get that’,” she said.

Sanderson was born in Jamaica but moved to England as a young girl where teacher spotted her talent for throwing. Tessa became a member of Wolverhampton & Bilston Athletic Club where she competed in multiple events.

After her gold medal in 1984, she finished fourth at Barcelona 1992 but didn’t make the final in her last Olympics at Atlanta 1996.

She eventually went into media and has a foundation for youth in sport.

Learn more about Tessa Sanderson

Team GB Feature

Team GB Biography

Olympic biography

Watch Tessa Sanderson Olympic footage

Interview at the 1996 Olympics

2021 Video Podcast Interview

A 2012 Interview

Follow Tessa Sanderson

Instagram

Twitter

Visit her website

Wikipedia