In the world of sports, as in other areas, the female presence has managed to impose itself based on courage, effort, and perseverance. There are endless stories of women whose love of sports, added to the desire to excel, has led them to win important tournaments. Many of them are remembered for being the first to achieve incredible feats in different disciplines, and their stories inspire us.
The achievements of women who have delved deeply into the history of sports encourage us to continue fighting for our goals, sports, or otherwise. So Bright Side shares them with you.
1. Charlotte Cooper
source: © Caulfieldh / Wikimedia Commons
Charlotte Cooper was an English tennis player. She won five Wimbledon championships and was the first female Olympic champion in history. She competed in different tennis tournaments until she was 50 years old.
2. Larissa Latynina
source: © Anonymous / ASSOCIATED PRESS / East News
Artistic gymnastics was his discipline. Thanks to her, Larissa Latynina obtained nine gold, five silver, and four bronze medals: 18 medals in total. This made her the most awarded woman in Olympic history until 2012.
3. Katherine Switzer
source: © RON FREHM / ASSOCIATED PRESS / East News
The American Katherine Switzer was the first woman to run a marathon with an identifying number, or number. This type of test was intended only for men. Defying that imposition, he signed up and ran the 1967 Boston Marathon with number 261, reaching the finish line after 4 hours and 20 minutes. In 1974, she won the New York Marathon, and a year later came second in Boston. Her greatest achievement was to enable women to compete in this discipline.
4. Serena Williams
source: © zhukovsky / Depositphotos
Known as one of the best professional tennis players, Serena Williams has won 39 Grand Slam titles throughout her career, 23 of which were singles. These awards she achieved thanks to her mental, physical strength, and powerful blows. She also won four gold medals at the Olympics, including many other important awards.
5. Nadia Comaneci
source: © AFP / East News
Nadia Comaneci’s extraordinary sports career began when she was very young, at the age of six. In 1974, she was already a youth world champion. Later, she was the first gymnast to obtain seven perfect scores; in other words, she was rated a 10. In 1976, she was the first woman to perform a difficult double back death, making her a winner in America’s Cup in New York.
6. Florence Griffith
source: © ERIC RISBERG / ASSOCIATED PRESS / East News
Florence Griffith’s fondness for athletics led her to become one of the most renowned athletes of the 1980s. In 1988, she earned three gold and one silver medals at the Seoul Olympics. She also set world records in the 100 and 200 meters, breaking all speed marks.
7. Hassiba Boulmerka
source: © Mike Powell / Getty
Hassiba Boulmerka achieved the first gold medal for Algeria. She did it by running in shorts and a tank top, something that caught the media’s attention at the time, as she was a Muslim.
8. Jutta Kleinschmidt
source: © NurPhoto / Getty
She is the first and the only woman to win the Dakar Rally in 2001, one of the toughest and most famous races in the world. Jutta Kleinschmidt is not only a pilot, as she studied Physics and Engineering, and is currently also an instructor.
9. Ellen MacArthur
source: © MOCHET MARCEL / East News
She is an English ex-sailor who, in 2005, broke the world record for circumnavigating the globe. Ellen MacArthur made the fastest trip sailing a solo yacht around the world. Altogether, it took 71 days, 14 hours, 18 minutes, and 33 seconds. After her retirement in 2010, Ellen opened a foundation that bears her name.
10. Lisa Leslie
source: © FRANCIS SPECKER / ASSOCIATED PRESS / East News
Lisa Leslie is perhaps one of the best basketball players in history. She was the first woman to mate during a game in the American Women’s League. That is, it was hung from the hoop to make a basket. She is also one of the founders of the National Women’s Basketball Association, or WNBA.
11. Yelena Isinbáyeva
source: © ChinaImages / Depositphotos
He broke the world pole vault record 28 times leaving it at 5.06 meters. Her coach said that Yelena Isinbáyeva was capable of jumping from 5.15 to 5.20 meters. In 2013, she retired from competition after winning a gold medal at the Moscow Athletics World Cups.
12. Edurne Pasaban
source: © Edurne Pasaban Lizarribar / Facebook
Over nine years, Edurne Pasaban managed to ascend the 14 mountains over 8,000 meters high around the world. They are called “the 14 eight thousand “, and Edurne was the first woman to reach the top of all (and the twenty-first person to do so).
13. Katie Ledecky
source: © ED JONES / AFP / East News
She swept the Olympics in swimming, winning medals and breaking records. At the Rio Olympics in 2016, Katie Ledecky set a new time of 8: 12.86. The next day, she won the gold medal and beat her mark with a time of 8: 04.79. It was so fast that it took 12 meters ahead of its rivals.
14. Bibiana Steinhaus
source: © Werner Eifried / DPA / East News
Bibiana Steinhaus is a soccer referee and the first woman to lead matches in the German 2. Bundesliga. Bibiana is known for wearing only one watch during games when the rest of the referees use two watches to lead.
15. Ada Hegerberg
source: Voetbal International / East News
This Norwegian footballer started playing professionally when she was 15 years old. Throughout her career, she has garnered important awards. In 2018, Ada Hegerberg became the first woman in history to win a Ballon d’Or. Two years earlier, she had already won the award for the best European player from UEFA (Union of European Football Associations).
These women achieved a place in history through passion and hard work. What things are you passionate about that makes you strive to achieve them? Be sure to tell us and share this note with your sports-loving friends!