There is nothing like a sport event to bring people together and cheer for their favourite athlete. But the ladies often get overlooked when it comes to sporting ability. Just read some of the headlines that appeared since Rio 2016 Olympics started. But I’m not one to dwell on what those idiots who work in print think. We, the generation of the internet, milky sweet lattes, and adult colouring books; we know better. And we know that the ladies who are competing in Rio are kicking ass. Here are my top 10 inspiring women Olympians of all time who deserve gold for winning at life.
Inspiring Women Olympians #1- Fu Yuanhui
Fu has not won many medals at the Games but she did something very brave. When she was being interviewed after her poor performance in the 4x100m medley relay she admitted she had taken her period. Not a lot of women like to admit to when their period arrives but Fu didn’t care. Women in sports don’t generally talk about having to compete while “Aunt Flo” is in town. Fu has now become an inspiration to women everywhere for breaking the silence on a taboo, yet perfectly normal, bodily function.
Inspiring Women Olympians #2- Simone Biles
You know you have made it when you have a meme made of you (I’m still waiting on mine). Simone will be leaving the Rio Games with various memes of her and four gold medals. But her combined number of medals is the impressive thing. To date, she has 19 medals under belt from the Olympics and World Championships, she is the most decorated gymnast in the world. To top it all off, when she was compared to male sport stars, she reportedly said, “I’m not the new Usain Bolt or Micheal Phelps, I’m the first Simone Biles”.
Inspiring Women Olympians #3- Kerri Walsh Jennings
Kerri has been competing in the Olympics since 2000 in Sydney. In 2004, 2008 and 2012, Kerri has lifted a Gold medal for the USA volleyball team. That is pretty impressive in itself. But what is even more impressive is the fact that Kerri has managed to maintain her physical fitness. Oh, did I forget to mention that she has had 3 kids in between Olympic Games? Between 2009 and 2013, Kerri has given birth to 3 healthy babies. She was 5 weeks pregnant when she competed in the 2012 London Summer Olympics. You don’t even want to know what I was doing at five weeks pregnant.
Inspiring Women Olympians #4- Jillion Potter
Jillion has been through plenty in her 30 years on this planet. Apart from being an Olympic athlete, she is a world-class rugby player. That’s a tough sport. So tough that Jillion broke her neck in 2010 in a game against Canada. A year later, she was back on the pitch. Then in 2013, she discovered she had a rare cancer, stage 3 synovial sarcoma in her mouth. After kicking the shit out of cancer, she is back on the pitch again to compete in the Rio Games. This lady is one tough cookie.
Inspiring Women Olympians #5- Rafaela Silva
Growing up in Brazil, Rafaela faced a lot of problems. First of all, she grew up in the City of God, one of the most violent places in the country. But after playing street football, Rafaela got into judo at the age of 7 years old. Her family encouraged her and hoped that her interest in judo would stop her from joining a gang. She trained hard but she still faced poverty and racism. She became the first female to bring home a gold medal for Brazil in the 2013 World Judo Championship.
Inspiring Women Olympians#6- Zahra Nemati
Having a car crash is enough to make anyone lose their nerve but not Zahra. Her career in taekwondo was ruined in 2003 after a car accident left her paralysed from the waist down. Instead of complaining about it, she trained in archery and completed in the 2012 Paralympics and was the first woman to win a gold medal for Iran. For 2016, she qualified for both the Olympic and Paralympic teams. This lead to her being chosen as the flag bearer for the Iranian team during the Parade of Nations.
Inspiring Women Olympians #7- Breege Connolly
When most of us hit our mid-thirties, we like to slow down a bit. Not Breege. Breege started running as a way to meet new people but it has turned into much more. She competed in her first marathon 4 years ago and has never looked back. Now she has been picked to race as part of Team Ireland for the marathon event. Unlike most of the athletes, Breege doesn’t have the luxury of training full-time. All of her training had to be done during her lunch breaks at work and weekends.
Inspiring Women Olympians #8- Houry Gebeshian
We would all like to do our hobbies professionally is some way, but Houry takes it to a new level. When she isn’t competing as a gymnast for the USA, she is a doctor’s assistant. In 2011, Houry got her bachelor’s degree in athletic training. She then went on to get a master’s degree in medical science in 2014. Now she splits her time between the doctor’s office and the gym. For these Games, Houry representing Armenia and is the first female gymnast to do so.
Inspiring Women Olympians #9- Yolande Mabika
Yolande has received the honor of representing the Refugee Olympic Team at the 2016 Rio Games. Yolande is one of ten refugees who was chosen to represent refugees. She grew up in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and was separated from her family when she was a child. It was in a children’s hospital she was taught Judo. After coming to Brazil in 2013 for a competition, she had to escape her hotel to find help. Yolande and her partner, Popole Misenga, had been held without food, had their money and passports taken, and locked in their rooms by their coaches.
Inspiring Women Olympians #10- Yusra Mardini
At the tender age of 18 years old, Yusra has an incredible task of representing a group of people. Unlike the other competitors, Yusra is representing refugees. Yusra is one of ten refugees who was chosen to represent refugees and the refugee crisis for the Rio Games. After fleeing Syria with her family, Yusra faced certain death while trying to get to Greece. The boat she was travelling in began taking on water when the motor stopped. So Yusra and two others got into the water and pulled the boat for three hours until they reached the shore.