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April 25, 2022 4 min read

Women in sports are changing the game.

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Sport has the power to change lives. The ability to drive gender equality by teaching women and girls’ teamwork, self-reliance, resilience, and confidence. Women in sport defy gender stereotypes and social norms, make inspiring role models, and show men and women as equals.

If you were asked who are the most inspiring female athletes and role models out there, what would you answer? What names or characters come to mind?

To celebrate all the female athletes, I have put together a shortlist of passionate and driven ladies who are changing the world. And sharing their inspirational sports stories in the process.

The following athlete stories are an example of what it means to love what you do and at the same time push the boundaries of what’s possible. These are in no particular order.

Wilma Rudolph – running

Don’t ever let somebody tell you what you can or cannot achieve in your lifetime - that’s the lesson that this incredibly determined African American runner taught the world. Born into poverty, and hit with various illnesses at a young age, including polio, Rudolph was reportedly told that she might never walk without a brace, let alone run.

But at age 16, she won a bronze medal at the 1956 Olympics and was later crowned the “fastest woman in the world” at Rome’s 1960 Olympic Games. There, this icon won gold in three different sprinting events, becoming the first American woman to win three golds at a single Olympics, and cementing herself as a household name and an inspiration.

Serena Williams – tennis

Serena and Venus Williams have been ruling the world of women’s tennis for the better part of two decades. Though both are among the most inspiring athletes of our time, Serena edges out older sister Venus ever so slightly due to a stronger overall career.

In fact, she’s thought by many to be the greatest female tennis player in history. And Serena’s inspiring legacy is made even greater considering all her philanthropic work: from funding a school in Kenya to her efforts with at-risk youth and her contributions to the fight against breast cancer, Serena Williams has shown that she has a heart of gold.

Lindsey Vonn – alpine skiing

Lindsey is a true champion. Throughout her career she has won everything there is to win in the world of alpine skiing. She is a World and Olympic Champion, a multiple World Cup winner who has been on the global stage for a long time.

But these results are not what makes her one of the most inspiring women in sports.

It’s Lindsey’s ability to recover from horrifying crashes, her courage to get back on the start line, and, most importantly, her humility is what makes her the icon for perseverance and true sportsmanship.

One particular crash left her with serious nerve damage in her right hand. Lindsey refers to it as the ‘hardest recovery of her career. It started with just wiggling her fingers before even attempting to lift a cup of water.

Diana Nyad – long-distance swimming

Diana’s story is something one can hardly believe in.

After multiple attempts at 64 years of age, she became the first woman to swim unassisted from Cuba to Florida. An epic journey of 177 kilometers (110 miles). 

Diana’s mindset is truly unbreakable. During the 53 hours that the swim had taken, she did not sleep and had to battle through fatigue, strong currents, and venomous jellyfish. In fact, most open-water experts concluded that this was not possible without a shark cage.

What makes this story even more inspiring is that before starting the training Diana had not been swimming for 30 years. So, if you ever find yourself thinking it’s too late for something and ready to give up – remember this inspirational sports story.

These female athletes have become legends as inspirational role models for people around the world!

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