The women who absolutely killed it at the Olympics
Just girls making history
If you believe a lot of the negative press around Rio 2016, it would be fair to say that the Olympic games haven’t been great for women. And it’s true that they’ve had to deal with a lot of bullshit. From having their moments stolen by kind of annoying proposals, to being compared to men, to literally missing their names to cover them in relation to the husbands, there are definitely reasons to be annoyed. But it’s easy to forget that among all the bullshit are some shining moments of incredible achievements from amazing women. Here are just a few:
Basically anything Simone Biles did at the Olympics was legendary. Despite putting up with some offensive interview discussing her adoptive family, she has become one of the impressive gymnasts in recent memory. The 19-year-old is now a four time gold medallist, and by winning the all-round gold medal she’s become the third female gymnast ever to win the grand slam of all titles – and the first US gymnast to ever hold that honour.
Plus, she gave us this amazing quote which slammed anyone who tried to compare her achievements in incredibly complex routines to other athletes: “I’m not the next Usain Bolt or Michael Phelps, I’m the first Simone Biles.”
A four time gold-medallist, Katie Ledecky has destroyed records in Rio, smashing the US record in the 100m freestyle, and the world record in the 800m freestyle. Although one commentator said Ledecky “swims like a man”, another retorted: “She doesn’t swim like a man, she swims like Katie Ledecky”. Oh, and she’s the first swimmer to win the 200, 400 and 800m freestyle in the same Olympics since 1968.
A two time gold medallist, Simone Manuel made history in Rio by becoming the first African-American woman to win a gold medal in an individual swimming event. When she’s not making history by the way, she swims and studies at Stanford University.
Ibtihaj made history for a number of reasons in Rio, being both the first US Olympian to compete in a Hijab, as well as the first female Muslim-American to win an Olympic medal, after earning bronze with Team Sabre. Speaking after her accomplishment she told reporters: “This is the America that I know and I love. The America that is inclusive, that is accepting and encompasses people from all walks of life.
“What I love about my experience here as a minority member of Team USA is that I’m able to encourage other youth to pursue their dreams, to not let other people dictate their journey for them.”
Oksana broke records when she became (at 41) the oldest gymnast to ever compete in an Olympic games and the only gymnast to ever compete in seven consecutive Olympics. Not defined just by her age, Oksana came out of retirement to perform as one of the world’s elite vault specialists. The Australian head coach called her an “inspiration” for continuing to compete in gymnastics after becoming a mother.
Sakshi became a national hero after becoming the first Indian female wrestler to ever win a medal at the Olympics. The 23-year-old triumphed in a 8-5 over the reigning champion from Kyrgyzstan.
Fu Yuanhui, 20, represented China in the Olympics and took home a bronze medal in the 100 meter backstroke. Her name is now arguably more recognizable than the names of some gold medalists – not just for her performance in the pool.
After competing in the 4×100 meter medley relay and finishing in a disappointing fourth place, Fu told reporters that she was weak and tired during the race because she had gotten her period the previous day. “But this isn’t an excuse for not swimming well,” she clarified.
Along with setting a new cycling world record and winning gold with Team GB, Laura Trott became the first British woman ever to win three Olympic gold medals. That makes her the UK’s greatest female Olympian ever. Nbd.
Not only did Michelle Carter break the American record and win the gold medal in shot put, she’s also been a massive inspiration for her body positive comments following her win. Challenging beauty stereotypes around professional female athletes, Carter said: “I used to think, should I wear my false lashes or take the time I want to take so I can feel good when I go out on the field? Because nobody else was really doing that. And I thought, No: I’m not going to change what I believe I should look like to fit anybody else’s standards. I believe if you look your best, you’re going to feel your best, you’re going to do your best.
“We’re girls and we can throw heavy balls and be in the dirt and we look good while we’re doing it.”
He ZiYeah I’d look pissed off too
Not only did she win a silver medal in the in the women’s three-meter springboard diving event, Chinese diver He Zi also had to put up with this incredibly cringe marriage proposal stealing her spotlight. What a dick move.
Kelmendi inspired a huge outpouring of emotion in her native Kosovo, which only became independent in 2008, after winning their first gold medal in judo. After winning she said: “People, especially kids, in Kosovo look to me as a hero.
“I just proved to them that even after the war, even after we survived a war, if they want something they can have it. If they want to be Olympic champions, they can be. Even if we come from a small, poor country.”
Katherine Grainger, who among other things is the Vice Chancellor of Oxford Brookes university, won a silver medal in rowing in Rio 2016. With five Olympic medals she is officially Britain’s most decorated female Olympian.
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