Female athletes don’t always get the same level of press and recognition as they should, (in fact up to 20 times less visible than men’s sports). so we decided to change that and showcase a number of truly inspirational women who, through perseverance, dedication and talent, have set new standards, raised the bar, inspired a generation and have broken down barriers for those that follow. The following women currently dominate their respective sports and have made their mark on the international stage. Let’s dive into their extraordinary journeys and celebrate their remarkable successes.
Dina Asher-Smith has taken the world of athletics by storm with her electrifying speed and remarkable accomplishments on the track. As the first British woman to win a global sprint title, she has claimed gold medals at the World Championships and European Championships, cementing her status as one of the fastest women in the world, certainly the fastest British woman on record. Dina also graduated from Kings College with her history Degree while training, competing and winning medals simultaneously.
Laura Kenny is a British cycling sensation boasting an impressive array of 6 Olympic gold medals and world titles. With her exceptional endurance and track cycling prowess, Kenny has become one of the most successful female cyclists in British history, inspiring a new generation of riders. Laura Kenny’s extraordinary journey had a remarkable beginning. The double Olympic champion came into the world a month prematurely in Harlow, Essex, grappling with a collapsed lung and later diagnosed with asthma. Medical advice led her to sports as a means to improve her breathing. Initially, she ventured into trampolining, only to be compelled to stop due to an undiagnosed condition that caused her to sporadically lose consciousness.
Growing up in Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, Laura and her older sister, Emma, who would later become a professional road rider, embraced cycling when their mother, Glenda, decided to take up cycling as a means of losing weight. Alongside their father, Adrian, the family devoted weekends to long bike rides. Eventually, Laura’s passion for cycling blossomed, leading her to begin racing at the tender age of eight and ride at the local club, Welwyn Wheelers.
She also has a five-year-old son and another baby due; she talked about suffering a miscarriage at nine weeks in-between pregnancies, helping normalise pregnancy loss and empowering women to openly grieve and support each other through miscarriage.
Johanna Konta has become a prominent figure in British tennis, showcasing her formidable skills and tenacity on the court. Before rising to international prominence in tennis, she initially pursued a tennis career in Australia due to a lack of opportunities in her native Hungary. Her journey showcases her unwavering dedication to the sport and her ability to overcome challenges to become a successful and influential tennis player. With a strong baseline game and an indomitable spirit, Konta has achieved remarkable milestones, including reaching the semifinals of the Australian Open and Wimbledon.
Jade Jones has made history in the world of taekwondo, earning multiple Olympic gold medals and World Championship titles. Jade Jones started practising taekwondo at age eight after being inspired by the film “Charlie’s Angels.” Her journey exemplifies the incredible heights that can be achieved through passion, perseverance, and an unwavering belief in oneself. Jade’s prominence as a British taekwondo champion from diverse ethnic backgrounds has showcased the sport’s ability to welcome and celebrate athletes from all walks of life. Her success has contributed to promoting diversity and inclusion in taekwondo and sports in general. Through her dedication, she’s elevated the standards of training, promoting diversity, inclusion, and youth participation. Jade’s legacy extends beyond her medals as she mentors and coaches emerging talents, ensuring a brighter, more inclusive future for taekwondo.
Helen Glover has established herself as one of the most successful British rowers of all time. With her powerhouse performances and unwavering commitment to the sport, she has clinched Olympic gold medals and World Championship titles, showcasing her dominance in women’s rowing. Before taking up rowing, Helen Glover was a physical education teacher. She started rowing at 21 years old and achieved remarkable success in a short period. Helen Glover’s journey in rowing is a testament to determination and perseverance. As a true embodiment of the Olympic spirit, she went from a novice rower to an Olympic champion in just four years. Her incredible dedication and hard work made her the first British woman to win an Olympic gold medal in rowing, inspiring countless others to pursue their dreams. Helen’s motivation to return to competitive rowing after becoming a mother showcased her unwavering commitment and passion for the sport. Her ability to balance motherhood with elite athleticism sends a powerful message of empowerment to women everywhere.
Hannah Cockroft is a force to be reckoned with in the world of para-athletics, and her journey is defined by both her incredible speed and indomitable spirit. Overcoming the challenges posed by cerebral palsy, she has risen to become a true icon of determination and achievement. Hannah’s story is rooted in her love for sports, which began when she played wheelchair basketball nationally before eventually finding her calling in athletics.
What makes Hannah’s accomplishments even more extraordinary is her unwavering passion for racing despite the obstacles she faces. Born with cerebral palsy, she has defied all odds, proving that physical limitations are no match for her unyielding determination. Her dedication to wheelchair racing has secured her multiple Paralympic gold medals and world records and inspired countless individuals worldwide.
In addition to her incredible athletic prowess, Hannah is a vocal advocate for inclusion and equality in sports. Her achievements stand as a testament to the power of perseverance and serve as a reminder that with the right mindset, challenges can be transformed into triumphs. By shattering barriers, setting records, and inspiring others, Hannah Cockroft has forever changed the landscape of para-athletics and continues to be a beacon of hope and inspiration for all.
Bethany Firth’s journey in para-swimming is a testament to her exceptional talent, unyielding determination, and remarkable resilience. Overcoming challenges with her hearing, she has not only redefined what is possible in the pool but has also captured the hearts of fans worldwide.
Born with a hearing impairment, Bethany’s story is one of triumph over adversity. Her journey in para-swimming has been marked by a collection of Paralympic gold medals and world records, showcasing her unwavering commitment to excellence. Her ability to conquer challenges and achieve greatness is a testament to her character. By pushing the boundaries and setting records, Bethany Firth continues to pave the way for future generations of para-swimmers. She serves as a shining example of what can be accomplished with perseverance and passion.
Nicola Adams has broken barriers in the traditionally male-dominated sport of boxing. As the first female boxer to win an Olympic gold medal, Adams has paved the way for other aspiring female boxers, leaving an indelible mark on British boxing history. She is known for her infectious smile and the nickname “The Smile Assassin.” She became more of a household name after showing her skills outside the boxing ring as a contestant on “Strictly Come Dancing.”
Lizzy Yarnold has fearlessly hurtled down icy tracks, etching her name in the annals of British sports history. As a two-time Olympic champion in skeleton, she has showcased her nerves of steel and unrivalled skill, solidifying her status as one of Britain’s most successful winter athletes. She initially aspired to become a heptathlete but shifted her focus to skeleton after attending a talent identification program. She also holds a degree in geography and environmental science.
Becky Downie’s legacy, unwavering dedication and enduring passion for the sport made her renowned for her remarkable performances on the uneven bars; numerous national titles and international accolades have marked Becky’s journey.
Hailing from a family of gymnasts, her connection to the sport runs deep. Her younger sister, Ellie Downie, also shares her talent and passion for gymnastics. Together, they achieved a historic milestone by becoming the first British sisters to compete together in gymnastics at the Olympic Games.
Through her journey, Becky Downie exemplifies the power of perseverance, family support, and the pursuit of one’s passions. Her achievements stand as a testament to the heights that can be reached through hard work and unwavering determination, inspiring both aspiring gymnasts and enthusiasts alike.
These ten remarkable British female athletes have conquered their respective sports, pushing boundaries and inspiring millions worldwide. Through their exceptional talent, dedication, and unwavering spirit, they have left an indelible mark on British sports history. As we celebrate their remarkable achievements, let’s recognise their contributions to breaking barriers and inspiring future generations of female athletes to dream big and reach for the stars.