We have reached the final instalment in our series on dyslexic Olympic athletes, and we’ve saved the best for last. Sir Steven Redgrave is the only person to have won gold medals at five consecutive games…if you step back and consider that each Olympics is four years apart, that is a staggering statistic! From 1984 to 2000, Redgrave ruled in men’s rowing at the Olympics and world championships.  

And he did all of this while struggling with diabetes, colitis and severe dyslexia.

As a child with dyslexia, he had big problems with reading and writing. At ten years of age, he couldn’t keep up with the rest of his peers in class, and remembers feeling ashamed and stupid.

“I did the same subjects as everyone else but found it hard to keep up, and always knew I wasn’t going to pass my 11-plus.”

He had special lessons with the headmistress, and spent a lot of extra time working on his reading. Still now, despite all the extra work, he still sees letters upside-down or backwards. He relied on his natural intelligence to get him through school.

“With dyslexia, your other senses become sharper. My memory was great at school but it has become appalling these days!”

In total, Redgrave has won 17 gold medals, 2 silver, and 2 bronze at the Olympics, Rowing World Championships and Commonwealth games. He is an inspiration to aspiring athletes and dyslexics everywhere.


Sarah Forrest is an Easyread Coach with the Easyread System, an online phonics course that offers guaranteed solutions for reading and spelling difficulty. For more on dyslexia and reading, visit our website.