Born on 14th of March 1956
Theresa 'Tessa' Sanderson is a Javelin Thrower and Heptathlete who enjoyed a long and distinguished career as one of Britain's top female athletes. Such was the length of her career that she was able to compete in six Olympic Games.
She was the United Kingdom's top female Javelin thrower during the mid-70's but was for a while was eclipsed by the emergence of Fatima Whitbread. Despite this, Tessa surprised everyone in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games by taking gold ahead of Fatima, who had to settle for the bronze. Tessa Sanderson's career ultimately outlived that of Fatima Whitbread and she was still competing at senior level right up to 1996.
Sanderson was the first British black woman to achieve an Olympic gold throwing medal and this led to her being awarded an MBE in 1985. This was later upgraded to an OBE in 1997 (actually awarded in the 1998 New Year's Honour list) in recognition of the charity work undertaken by Sanderson. She has continued to contribute to the sport in a coaching capacity and her efforts for Sport England (she was Vice Chairperson) were recognised in 2007 when the OBE was itself upgraded to CBE.
Sanderson was born in St Elizabeth, Jamaica and has a Ghanaian heritage. She later emigrated to Wolverhampton area in the UK. She worked as one of the first news presenters for Sky News when it debuted and currently is closely involved in coaching British athletes in preparation for the London Olympics of 2012. She once appeared on the TV game show Bullseye and also appeared on a one off TV special 'Strictly African Dancing', in which she was voted by the viewers into third place. Her adopted home town of Wednesfield has honoured her by naming a housing estate after her.
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