Sweaty Betty's Most Inspirational Women in Sport
In celebration of International Women's Day, Sweaty Betty takes a look back at some of history's most inspirational women from the worldwide sporting arena.
In July 2014, Scottish racing driver Susie will become the first woman in two decades to take part in the Formula 1 Grand Prix in Silverstone, UK. This impressive athlete is only the 6th female driver throughout the male-dominated sport's 64-year history. We hope this is only the tip of the iceberg for women in motorsport!
Sarah's attendance on the running track of the 2008 Beijing Olympics marked the beginning of a new sporting era for her home country of Saudi Arabia. Challenging the social and cultural conventions of her homeland, Sarah was the first Saudi Arabian woman ever to compete in the Olympics. While she may not have won her 800m race, her run has shaped her country's future for women in sport.
The US swimmer has racked up an amazing 12 Olympic medals throughout her career. But it was Dara's performance at the 2008 Beijing Olympics that made her a true inspiration to women worldwide when she won not just one, but four medals - aged 41. She was the oldest athlete ever to make a US Olympic team, proving to the masses that age is no boundary to sporting greatness.
After winning the silver medal in rowing at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Rebecca was forced to retire due to a back injury. Ever the competitive athlete, the Brit bounced back when she took up track cycling, going onto win gold at the Beijing Olympics in 2008. She was the first Brit to win 2 Olympic medals in different sports. In 2012, Rebecca extended her sporting repertoire even more when she took part in her first Ironman triathlon - finishing in an impressive sixth place.
Billie Jean King
Billie Jean King's campaigning for sexual equality changed the world of sport. As well as winning an incredible 39 Grand Slam titles (including a record 20 titles at Wimbledon), this tennis legend also founded the Women's Sport Foundation in 1974.
Kathrine revolutionised running for women. Before her entry into the men-only Boston Marathon in 1967 (which prompted outrage and led to several men attempting to physically remove her during the race), women were generally seen as too fragile to compete in sport. Her equality campaigns were responsible for launching the first Women's Olympic Marathon in 1984. Kathrine's career highlights included winning the 1974 New York City Marathon in 1974, and being named the Runner's World Female Runner of the Decade (1967-77).