These are the kickass female athletes you *need* to know about
When a staggering 28.1m people tuned into BBC’s live coverage of the Women’s World Cup, it marked a pivotal moment for women’s sport. On a larger scale, the record-breaking figures demonstrated a growing global interest in women’s sport, and highlighted changing perceptions.
From 15-year-old Cori Gauff’s epic
Wimbledon run that saw her defeat five-time champion Venus Williams, to Dina Asher Smith’s triumphant win in the women’s 200m sprint, these trailblazing athletes are in the spotlight more than ever before and we’re backing them all the way.
With that, we’ve created a round-up of all the badass sporting heroines you need to know…
You probably hadn’t heard of 15-year-old Cori Gauff until last week when she defeated five-time champion Venus Williams in the first round of Wimbledon. After the unexpected win, Cori was overcome with emotion as she hailed the Williams sisters her “idols”, meanwhile Venus said the “sky’s the limit” for the young tennis star. No one can argue with that.
Global interest in women’s football has hit fever pitch with record-breaking viewing figures for the Women’s World Cup semi-final. Leading the way is the Lionesses captain, Steph Houghton MBE, who has played over 100 games for the England national team. But she is isn’t just packing a punch on the pitch – Steph has fervently campaigned for the game to be televised more regularly to great success.
She is a renowned American basketball player and president of the Women’s National Basketball Players Association President, and now Nneka is speaking out against the status quo between men and women in sport. In a Players Tribune essay, she spoke about “not just feeling fed up with the status quo, but going one step further: rejecting the status quo”. She’s undoubtedly one of the brightest young stars of our generation.
Four-time world champion Simone Biles cemented her position as the best gymnast in the world when she scooped up all-around gold at US Classics despite taking two years off. During the competition, she wore a teal leotard to represent survivors of s3xual abuse after she was abused by former USA gymnastics doctor, Larry Nassar.
England’s Georgia Hall won her first major title in golf at only 22, and now she is ranked 8th in the world. She is also the youngest player to win two consecutive Ladies’ European Tour Order of Merit titles. She’s basically an all-round champ.
British athlete Dina Asher-Smith hit headlines when she triumphed her Olympic rivals in the women’s 200m sprint at the Stockholm Diamond League. One year previously and she was named the women’s European Athlete of the Year. At the same time, Diva has built a name for herself as fashion’s new darling with regular red carpet appearances and fashion magazine covers. There’s truly no end to Dina’s talents.
Since her 2015 World Cup debut, England’s Fran Kirby has been steadily gaining a name for herself as “Mini Messi”. The professional British footballer smashed it during the World Cup with the Lionesses and she is currently under a three year contract with Chelsea so expect to see the sports star ascending to the next level.
British netballer Layla Guscoth took time out from the sport to qualify as a doctor and is now back killing it with the England team. When she’s not on the court, Layla works tirelessly to raise the profile of netball in the UK and improve participation at grass-roots level. We’re officially in awe of this incredible woman.
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