To celebrate the wedding of Prince Harry and Megan Markle On this Week takes a look at 7 athletes born in either 1981 or 1984, the birth years of the new Duke and Duchess of Sussex.



Born on this day in 1981 – American swimmer – Beth Anne Botsford. Beth grew up in Timonium, Maryland and started swimming at the age of 9 for the North Baltimore Aquatic Club in Baltimore, Maryland. Over the next 5 years, she held every national age group record in the backstroke events the age groups 9–10, 11-12 and 13-14 years.

In 1996 at the age of 14, and already with 2 National Championships under her belt, Beth won the 200m backstroke at the US Olympic Trials and was second in the 100m backstroke, earning her a spot as one of the youngest members on the US Olympic Team. That summer in Atlanta, Beth took the 100m backstroke title and swam the backstroke leg of the gold medal winning 4 × 100 m Medley Relay.

During the next ten years, Beth won 6 National Championships, broke the American and US Open records for the 200m Backstroke, was an NCAA Champion and 16 time All-American for the University of Arizona, was voted the PAC-10 Newcomer of the Year, received the Ruby Award for “Outstanding Female Student Athlete” at the University of Arizona, has served as the honorary head coach for the Special Olympics of Maryland, and has been inducted into the Maryland Swimming Hall of Fame and the University of Arizona Sports Hall of Fame.

She has travelled all around the world representing the United States as a member of the Pan American Games Team, Pan Pacific Games Team, World Championships Team and the World University Games Team (which she was also voted Team Captain for the USA). Beth has been requested anywhere from Alaska to Virginia to Japan for her Stroke Clinics and is currently an assistant coach for the University of Wisconsin Badgers.

In 2017, Beth Botsford returned to the college where she was inducted into the Hall of Fame, the University of Arizona, this time however, as a coach. Beth is an assistant coach under new head coach Augie Busch (son of Frank Busch) for Arizona, adding to the deep-rooted Arizona coaching staff, including another former swimmer for the Wildcats, NCAA champion Cory Chitwood.



British fencer Laurence Halsted was born today in 1984. He is the son of Nick Halsted, who fenced for Great Britain in the 1968 Olympics, and Clare Henley-Halsted, who competed in foil in the 1972 and 1976 Summer Olympics. Laurence took up fencing at the Finchley Foil club and soon showed promise, winning the 2001 Junior European Championships in Keszthely. He helped Great Britain to win the bronze medal in the 2002 competition.

After he graduated in social psychology at the University of Sussex, he joined the Lansdowne Club in London. He made his breakthrough at the 2008 European Championships in Kiev:  seeing off 2008 World silver medallist Andrea Baldini in the quarter-finals, then Ukraine’s Andriy Pogrebnyak to reach the final. He lost to Italy’s Andrea Cassarà and came away with a silver medal. The following year he was stopped in the semi-finals by fellow countryman Richard Kruse and took bronze. He finished the 2010–11 season no.16 in world rankings, a career best.

At the 2012 Summer Olympics he competed in the team foil event, where Great Britain team beat Egypt in the first round, but lost to Italy in the quarter-final. After cometing in the 2016 Games in Rio Laurence retired from competition and is now located in Denmark, where, since January 2017, he been Performance Director for the Danish Fencing Federation.


Ross Paul Davenport, born today in Derbyshire in 1984, is a Team GB swimmer who has represented GB in Olympics, Worlds and European Championships, as well as England in the Commonwealth Games. He won two gold medals in the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne in the 200m freestyle and the 4×200m freestyle relay.

On Monday, 27th November 2006 he was recognized as the BBC East Midlands Sports Personality of the Year. He was a member of the University of Bath swimming club, coached by Ian Turner and trained at Loughborough University

Ross qualified for Team GB at the 2008 Beijing Olympics in two events, the 200m freestyle and the 4×200m freestyle relay. He was part of the British 4x200m freestyle relay team at the 2012 Summer Olympics.



Australian basketball player Penny Taylor was born on this day in 1981.  During her 19-year career, Penny spent the most time with the Phoenix Mercury of the WNBA, where she won three championships. She also won the WNBL with her first club, the Australian Institute of Sport, and played in China, Italy, Turkey and Russia. As part of the Australian woman’s national team, Taylor won two Olympic medals and led the Australian Opals to a gold medal at the World Championships, winning tournament MVP honours ahead of teammate Lauren Jackson. Penny debuted in the Women’s National Basketball League playing for the AIS (Australian Institute of Sport) starting in 1997-98, winning the WNBL title the following season. Afterwards she moved to Dandenong Rangers, where she remained from 1999 to 2002. Taylor led the league in scoring with 25.5 points per game and steals with 2.5 steals per game during the 200-1 season, being named the WNBL MVP in that season and the next.

Taylor has been a regular member of the Australian national team, the ‘Opals’, since 2002, when won a bronze medal in the 2002 World Championship. Her biggest accomplishment was winning the 2006 World Championship in Brazil, where she was named Most Valuable Player of the championship. Penny has also won two straight Olympic silver medals, Athens in 2004 and Beijing in 2008. She wound up out of the Opals for the 2012 Olympics after injuring herself playing in Turkey for Fenerbahçe but was named Australian Opals captain for the 2014 World Championship, helping the team win the bronze medal, and was named to the All-Star Five. Her last tournament with the Opals was the Rio 2016 Olympics, where Australia lost in the quarterfinals.




Logan Maile Lei Tom, better known as Logan Tom was born today in 1981. An American volleyball player, she is a four-time Olympian, who at 19 years old became the youngest woman ever to be selected for an American Olympic volleyball team when she competed at the 2000 Games in Sydney. Logan’s very first professional appearance was with the Brazilian team, MRV/Minas of the Brazil Superliga, on 18th January 2003, exactly two weeks after signing with them, on 4th january 2003.

Logan appeared in the 2000 Sydney Olympics (4th place), 2004 Athens Olympics (5th place), 2008 Beijing Olympics (silver medal), and the 2012 London Olympics (silver medal), and was named the “Best Scorer” of the 2008 Olympic games. In 2004, she was named the Most Valuable Player of the World Grand Prix after leading all players in scoring with 224 points in 13 matches (179 kills, 24 blocks and 21 service aces) where she also garnered “Best Server” accolades.

From 2004-2007, Logan took a break from the national team, after claiming to be “burnt out” after a disappointing 5th-place finish at the Athens Olympics. She continued to play professionally in Italy, Switzerland, and Spain though. She also played beach volleyball (partnering with Holly McPeak, among others). She was the 2006 AVP Rookie of the Year and recorded 14 top-10 finishes in 2007. In 2007, she was named one of three FIVB World Cup most valuable player nominees as she averaged 4.10 points per set at the World Cup in her first international tournament with Team USA in nearly three years.

Logan joined the Indonesian club Jakarta Pertamina Energi for the 2016 season, taking them to the championship playoff. The New Zealand club Harbour Raiders announced that she would play with them and she helped them win the local league championship. She then joined the Israeli club Maccabi XT Haifa for the 2017/18 season.



Born on this day in 1984, Spainish shot-putter Borja Vivas Jiménez, who represented his country at the 2012 and 2016 Summer Olympics as well as four outdoor and three indoor World Championships, in addition to multiple regional competitions. He was affiliated to CA Malaga and his biggest success is the silver medal at the 2014 European Championships as well as gold in the European Cup Winter Throwing event in 2013 and another gold in the Mediterranaean Games in the same year.



Polish-born British fencer Natalia Sheppard (née Więckowska was born in 1984. Born in Gdańsk, she took up fencing when she was ten, her sister Irena is also a fencer, specializing in sabre, and took part in the 2008 Summer Olympics. Natalia herself won the Polish national foil championships several times and earned a team gold medal at the 2000 Junior World Fencing Championships.

When she was seventeen she came to the United Kingdom to study at the University of Bath and gave up international competition. She graduated in Mathematics and Computer Science in 2006, then took up law studies. She married a Briton, Gary, in 2007. At his suggestion she came back to the piste and was quickly selected into the British team. Her first major competition representing GB was the 2010 European Fencing Championships in Leipzig. She posted a last-16 finish at the 2012 St Petersburg World Cup and the 2014 Cancun World Cup.

Although Great Britain could qualify athletes for the 2012 Olympics through the host option, She was selected to compete in the zone qualifying tournament in Bratislava. She defeated Romania’s Cristina Ghiță in the semi-finals to earn one of the two Olympic tickets. In the individual event she defeated teammate Sophie Troiano in the first round, but lost to World No.6 Corinne Maîtrejean of France in the second round. In the team event Natalia, Troiano and Anna Bentley saw of Egypt in the first round, then met favourites Italy, featuring the bronze, silver and gold medallists of the individual event. Great Britain were crushed 14–42 in the quarter-finals. She finished the 2011–12 season World No.35, a career best as of 2015. After the London Games Natalia joined the British Fencing World Class Programme to prepare for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.