Female British triathlete with arm impairment rides her bike

Lauren Steadman

Triathlon | Swimming

Perhaps only Tokyo 2020 Paralympic gold can make Lauren Steadman feel redeemed. 

The Brit spent the 2018 off-season on the popular British TV show “Strictly Come Dancing” and remains a heavy favourite to capture the women’s PTS5 title at the 2019 Grand Final in Lausanne, Switzerland. It would complete back-to-back titles, and further establish herself as the frontrunner entering Tokyo. 

But, as she learned the hard way, anything can happen on race day.

Steadman was the top contender for Paralympic gold at Rio 2016 but a mistake on the swim cost her the victory, while US athlete Grace Norman raced to perfection.

The silver medal was tough to swallow, especially since she had been competing internationally since 2011.

Since 2013, Steadman has not finished lower than second place on the international scene. She went undefeated in all her races in 2018. But in addition to Norman, Steadman will have to fend off teammate Claire Cashmore, who outlasted Steadman to the finish line twice this year.

Steadman’s experience, however, will go a long way.

She competed in two Paralympic Games – Beijing 2008 and London 2012 – in swimming before she decided to try triathlon.

Three years later, Steadman became one of the most successful triathletes, going undefeated in the then PT4* for the most part since 2014.

The turning point in Steadman’s triathlon career came at the 2014 World Para triathlon Event in London, when she became the first woman to beat compatriot Faye McClelland in three years.

She then backed this up with victory at the 2014 World Championships in Edmonton, Canada, to win her first world title.

But 2016 was a challenging year for Steadman. She had mishaps at the 2016 World Championships in Rotterdam, the Netherlands – a crash in the bike – and did not finish the race. Then at the Rio 2016 Paralympics, she missed a turn on the swim, to fall behind.

Over and over, Steadman has proven that she can climb back from adversity. 

She was born without a right forearm and first got into the sport after her uncle, who is also a triathlete, suggested she should try it.

*Sport classes for Para triathlon was renamed in 2017


Impairment information

Type of Impairment
Limb deficiency
Origin of Impairment

Further personal information

Higher education
Psychology - University of Portsmouth: England

Sport specific information

When and where did you begin this sport?
She first tried Para triathlon in 2011. She began focusing on the sport after representing Great Britain in swimming at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London.
Why this sport?
Her uncle, a triathlete himself, advised her to try out the sport during her training for the 2012 Paralympic Games. "In 2011 I competed in the British nationals and came second, and realised I had transferable skills from swimming to triathlon. I then got asked to represent Great Britain a few more times in world championships, and decided to make triathlon my new challenge. I found immense enjoyment from pushing my body to the limits in three sports rather than just the one."
Name of coach
Robin Brew [personal], GBR

General interest

Baking, spending time with family. (Twitter profile, 28 Apr 2020)
Memorable sporting achievement
Qualifying to compete in swimming at her first Paralympic Games in 2008. (, 05 Jul 2017)
Most influential person in career
Her coaches. (Facebook page, 01 Jul 2017)
Hero / Idol
British swimmer Mark Foster. (, 27 Sep 2014)
She was troubled by a hand injury in the early part of 2012. (, 28 May 2012)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"If you want to stay at the same level with the best in the world, you have to train to be the best." (, 05 Jul 2017)
Awards and honours
She was presented with the 2016 Female Para Triathlete of Year award by 220 Triathlon Magazine. (, 24 Apr 2017)

She was named Female Para Triathlete of the Year in 2014 and 2015 by British Triathlon. (, 16 Nov 2015)

She was named the 2007 BBC East Sports Para Personality of the Year in England. (, 14 Nov 2007)
Other sports
She represented Great Britain in swimming at the 2008 and 2012 Paralympic Games. She has also competed in cross-country running for the University of Portsmouth in England. (, 15 Jun 2016;, 30 May 2014)
Famous relatives
She has an uncle who has represented New Zealand as a triathlete. (, 07 Jun 2011)
To win gold at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. (, 15 Dec 2018)
She was born without her right arm below the elbow joint. (, 21 Sep 2014)
Other information
She has appeared on the British television shows 'Strictly Come Dancing' and 'Celebrity SAS Who Dares Wins'. (, 20 Apr 2020;, 31 Aug 2019)

She has studied for a master's degree in business and management at the University of Portsmouth in England. (, 15 Dec 2018; Facebook page, 01 Jul 2017)


Unit Date Rank
Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games (Beijing, China)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's 50 m Freestyle S9 Heat 1 4
Women's 100 m Freestyle S9 Heat 1 4
Women's 400 m Freestyle S9 Heat 3 5
London 2012 Paralympic Games (London, Great Britain)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's 400 m Freestyle S9 Final Round 2012-09-04 6
Women's 400 m Freestyle S9 Heat 2 2012-09-04 4
Women's 50 m Freestyle S9 Heat 2 2012-09-05 5
Women's 100 m Freestyle S9 Final Round 2012-09-07 8
Women's 100 m Freestyle S9 Heat 1 2012-09-07 4
Rio 2016 Paralympic Games (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women PT4 Final Round 2016-09-11 2