Olympic silver medalist swimmer Sharron Davies may be 61 with nine knee surgeries under her belt, but she says she can still “fall down and do 40 push-ups”.

Davies, who was selected for the Montreal Olympics aged just 11, retired in 1994 after breaking more than 200 British pool records, but fitness continued to be a big part of her life – especially as she ages.

“I have a 25-year-old daughter, a former international track and field athlete, and I can still beat her in basic exercises. I can still beat my 17-year-old son, who plays rugby very well, in stability and basic exercises,” she says.

Davies, who held the Commonwealth Games record in the 400-meter individual medley event for 18 years, goes to the gym four times a week, cycles and walks now, but “I'm not an obsessed exerciser,” she says. “I used to work six hours a day, now I don’t do six hours a week.”

With her history in competitive sport (she won a silver at the 1980 Moscow Olympics and was a two-time Commonwealth champion), and her time on the original Gladiators series as Amazon, and now as a sponsor of Disabled Sport England and SportsAid, exercise- if it is simply part of who she is.

“It has always been part of my life. I was an international when I was 11, that is, 50 years ago. It's just who I am. It’s almost automatic.”

But staying active is especially important given the long-term problems with her right knee. She first damaged it when she was 12 years old, getting her foot stuck in a hole and tearing her anterior cruciate ligament. Fortunately, being a swimmer (a weightless sport) has not affected her ability to train or compete.

“Then, in 1995, I was doing Gladiators and a very lovely, terribly sorry policewoman fell to her knees on my knee and what was left of my anterior cruciate ligament just disappeared.”

Davies had an ACL reconstruction that year and nine more operations since. “I don’t have any cartilage left in that knee, it’s just bone on bone,” says Davies, who was also diagnosed with grade four osteoarthritis in her knee about a decade ago.

“The last [operation] It was seven years ago when a really bad piece of leftover cartilage flew off and got into the joint, so I couldn't straighten my legs. And that was incredibly painful.”

“I used to sit up at night just rubbing my knee watching television. It almost got to the point where I did it unconsciously all the time because it would get swollen and sore, and I just lived with it. [the pain]”. Even wearing tight jeans was painful.

Then in September 2022, she received a treatment called Artrosamide – pain relief through a single injection for knee osteoarthritis. Although it does not cure the disease, patients can expect improved mobility and pain relief within a few weeks. “You literally come in, you’re done by lunchtime, you don’t need any downtime,” says Davies, who is a vaccine ambassador. “About a week or 10 days later, I think, 'I'm not rubbing my leg.' It gave me unbelievable pain relief.” And she hasn't needed a refill yet.

“Suddenly you notice that you are more mobile… I had to pull myself together, because suddenly I was pain-free and I was doing three times as much. So I had to [say to myself] to calm down.”

Eventually, she says, she will need a complete knee replacement. “My knee isn't very attractive,” she laughs, my right knee looks nothing like my left knee, it's almost twice the size.

“If I were to see [a doctor] now they looked at my photos and said, how are you walking? They won't, how are you riding your bike? How do you go to the gym?” Davies attributes this to maintaining the muscles around the joint through mobility and fitness.

It's not the only part of her body she's had surgery on; Over the years, she has had broken ribs, two broken arms, a hernia operation, a bladder operation, several back and shoulder operations (professional swimmers often end up with lower back problems and over-rotated shoulders). “Oh my God [I’ve had] dozens. I've had seven or eight broken bones. I broke my leg not long ago, got knocked off my bike and broke my femur pretty bad.

“I can rebuild myself, we just keep going!” she says, with a laugh. But her body's resilience is due to all the work she puts in at the gym. “When I broke my leg, I was back on the exercise bike within six days.”

She doesn't swim now. “Because for me it’s a bus driver’s holiday. I did 20 years of my life, six hours a day – that's enough for anyone. I do it on vacation, but ultimately it’s good to do something else.” Plus, “when you’re a swimmer, your shoulders aren’t good, so I don’t like to aggravate them too much.”

Staying in shape “isn't as easy at 60 as it was at 40. It wasn't as easy at 40 as it was at 20. Unfortunately, it's a linear line that goes in the wrong direction.” But there is a lot we can do to take care of ourselves as we age.

“The amount of times people tell me, 'My metabolism has slowed down.' Well, it's not that your metabolism has slowed down, you've lost muscle mass and it's the muscle mass that burns calories – if you don't have muscle, you won't burn the calories.”

Plus, “I definitely feel sadder if I don’t exercise, it definitely does.” She takes hormone replacement therapy for her menopausal symptoms, a multivitamin, vitamin D and cod liver oil, but when it comes to her well-being, a positive mental attitude is key.

“I’m a big believer that your glass is half full,” she says, and positivity comes naturally to her.

“Why not? I am an Olympic athlete.

For more information about Artrosamide visit

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