Olympic Stories

Bryony Shaw - Windsurfing

Bryony Shaw - Windsurfing

Born April 28, 1983 in Weymouth, Dorset, England, Bryony Elisabeth Shaw is a member of Britain’s Women’s Windsurfing team. As a windsurfer, Bryony is not only the best in the UK, but she is perhaps the best women’s windsurfer in the world, helping to put the sport on the map. With good looks and talent to spare, Shaw single handedly attracted a large audience to the 2008 Olympics, and the 2012 crowd in London is sure to grow exponentially to watch her compete. 

Shaw was raised in Oxfordshire, the daughter of intellectuals – her father taught Business Studies at a PhD level at Oxford Brookes University. Naturally, Bryony grew up with high expectations where education was concerned, but once she first tried windsurfing in France in 1992, she was hooked. Even with a chance to attend Cardiff University to study Architecture, Shaw left after a year to take up windsurfing exclusively in 2004. To date, the decision has paid big dividends.

Sporting Career

Still very young, the book is far from written on Bryony Shaw’s career. The only British woman to ever take home an Olympic medal in windsurfing (Bronze), Shaw has been feverishly training for four years, along with smoking her competition, hoping to claim the Gold in this year’s London Games. Knowing the venue intimately gives her a sizeable advantage, but with the growing popularity of windsurfing as an Olympic sport, the difficulty level increases tenfold every Games.

It took a while into Bryony’s life before she decided to really put it all on the line in terms of competing for glory. While windsurfing had played a huge role in Shaw’s life since the early 2000’s, it wasn’t until 2007 that Shaw really put herself out there for the world to see in a major event. She had raced and won in 2005 and 06, but 2007 would be Shaw’s defining year to that point in her career.

In 2007, she ranked 12th in the 2007 ISAF Sailing World Championships; she also took home the Gold in the Olympic Test Event that year. In 2008, she made vast improvements and ranked 8th at the RS:X World Championship.

The 2008 Beijing Olympics is where Bryony’s star really began to shine its brightest. No woman had ever won a medal for women’s windsurfing on the British Olympic team, but from her increased experience and her no-holds-barred training sessions at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy, there was a lot of buzz surrounding Shaw as she entered 2008’s Games. She would ultimately win Bronze in the women’s RS:X class – and while that was an impressive feat, it wasn’t good enough for Shaw.

Living in Tunbridge Wells and dating a windsurfer (Greg King), Bryony has been focusing intently on the Olympic Games since 2008. Now that the competition is arriving, she feels she is in perfect position to claim the Gold this year.

Career Highlights

  • 2005 RS:X Raceboard Worlds – Gold
  • 2006 European Championships – Silver
  • 2007 Olympic Test Event – Gold
  • 2008 Olympic Games – Bronze
  • 2009 World Cup Weymouth – Silver
  • 2010 World Cup France – Gold

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