Anita Lonsbrough, MBE (born 10 August 1941 in York[1]), later known by her married name Anita Porter, is a former swimmer from Great Britain who won a gold medal at the 1960 Summer Olympics.

Swimming career

At the 1958 British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Cardiff she won gold in the 220 yards breaststroke and the medley relay.

At the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome, on 27 August 1960, at the age of 19, she won gold in the 200 m breaststroke in 2:49.5 ahead of West Germany's Wiltrud Urselmann (2:50.0), setting a new world record time. She was one of only two GB gold medallists that year, the other being Don Thompson in the 50 kilometre walk.[2]

She would also be the last British woman to win Olympic gold in swimming until Rebecca Adlington gained the gold in the 2008 Summer Olympics, 48 years later.[3]

At the 1962 British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Perth she won three golds: 110 yards breaststroke; 220 yards breaststroke; and 440 yards individual medley.

At the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo she came seventh in the 400 m individual medley


Lonsbrough was educated at St. Joseph's Catholic College, Bradford, a girls' direct grant grammar school.[4] She became a Treasurer's Office clerk employed at the Huddersfield Town Hall. She won her first gold medal for swimming in the 1958 British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Cardiff. Five world records and seven gold medals followed until her retirement in 1964. At one time she held the Olympic, Empire and European titles at the same time.

She is married to cycling commentator and former leading British professional track cyclist Hugh Porter; they met travelling to Tokyo for the 1964 Summer Olympics and married on Thursday 17 June 1965 at St Peter's Church, Huddersfield.[5][6][7] The couple live in Wolverhampton, and, after a spell teaching swimming including the P.E. Dept at Ounsdale High School, she is currently a sports commentator and journalist for The Daily Telegraph, under the name Anita Lonsbrough-Porter.


Anita Lonsbrough was the first female flag bearer for Great Britain at the Summer Games when she carried the flag in the opening ceremony of the 1964 Summer Olympics. She was the first woman winner of BBC Sports Personality of the Year in 1962.

She was awarded an MBE in 1963 for services to swimming.

In 1983 she was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame.

See also


  1. ^ "50 years ago today, Huddersfield swimmer Anita Lonsbrough received her Olympic gold medal". Huddersfield Examiner. 27 August 2010. Retrieved 25 July 2014. 
  2. ^ Burnton, Simon (12 June 2012). "50 stunning Olympic moments No38: Don Thompson takes walking gold". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 July 2014. 
  3. ^ "Adlington snatches swimming gold". BBC Sport. 11 August 2008. Retrieved 25 July 2014. 
  4. ^ "Flats named". The Catholic Herald. 30 June 1961. Retrieved 25 July 2014. 
  5. ^ Express and Star June 2015
  6. ^ Jones, Andy (6 March 2008). "STAFFORDSHIRE AND SHROPSHIRE WITH HUGH PORTER". Cycling Weekly. Retrieved 17 August 2008. 
  7. ^ Ringland, Nigel (12 August 2008). "No chance to relax in the Water Cube. The Beijing Olympics". Irish News. Belfast. Retrieved 17 August 2008. 

External links

Preceded by
Stirling Moss
BBC Sports Personality of the Year
Succeeded by
Dorothy Hyman