There is a multitude of influential sportswomen out there – in fact too many to fit on one list! Across a range of different sporting fields and for a plethora of different reasons – some of which include speaking up and showing out against social stigma’s – this list is merely a few of those women that you can follow. Witness their brilliance for yourself in their feat to fight against all odds. From all walks of life and their record achievements, these women have taken sporting successes to the next level. Let’s give a round of applause to our sporting sisters the world over!
Who doesn’t know about this wonder woman? One of the greatest sportswomen of our time, her powerful style of play has revolutionised women’s tennis, winning her first Grand Slam at the young age of 17! This sporting legend has also set up a foundation to help American youth and underprivileged children around the world. Lest we forget the adorable moment she took her daughter to the tennis court *wipes tear*.
Why she’s influential: 4 Olympic golds; 39 Grand Slam titles; caring for the community; overall strong woman enough said.
Follow her on instagram: @serenawilliams
The Jamaican’s are no strangers to the track and field, but Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce is a real bolt to contend with (yes, pun intended). After pregnancy, she bounced back in the racing ranks. Who says you can’t do better after you’ve had your baby? She’s also set up her own beauty and hair care business.
Why she’s influential: This double Olympic and triple world champ rose from poverty to become one of world’s best female runners, and is herself history in the making.
Follow her on instagram: @realshellyannfp
Noted as the fastest female downhill and Super G skier in the world, Lindsey Vonn is definitley ruling the rooster. Achieving milestones that no woman has done before, she is one of the most talented skier’s of her generation.
Why she’s influential: She’s overcome many setbacks as a result of injuries over her career, but she battled through the pain to continue competing and has done extraordinarily well to move up in the ranks of Alpine skiing.
Follow her on instagram:@lindseyvonn
Rania Elwani is an Egyptian a world class swimming champion who is also a medical doctor specialising in obstetrics and gynaecology. Elwani is also a member of various committees including the International Olympic Committee and the Athlete Committee of the World Anti-Doping Agency.
Why she’s influential: She’s an advocate for change and balancing two professions is something we can all look up to.
Follow her on instagram:@raniaelwani
This 2016 Olympic swimming bronze-medallist is a GIF worthy and favourable character amongst sportswomen and in the sporting world. Dubbed ‘the happy athlete’, her lively personality reminds us all to have a bit of fun sometimes.
Why she’s influential: For crushing the period stigma around women in her infamous interview. A reporter asked her why her team didn’t perform so well to which she replied “It’s because my period came yesterday, so I felt particularly tired – but this isn’t an excuse, I still didn’t swim well enough”. Thanks for keepin’ it real, girl.
Follow her on instagram: @fu.yuanhui
Terzinha Guilhermina is a Paralympic athlete from Brazil. Categorised as ‘totally blind’ for the sprinting competitions, Guilhermina runs with (or should I say outruns) a guide. A woman who has dominated her category for the best part of 10 years is an influence to say the least.
Why she’s influential: She rose from poverty and had managed to stay top of the leader board for an entire decade!
Follow her on instagram: terezinhaguilherminaoficial
The 5-time Olympic medallist was given the honorific title of Dame in 2017 for her services to athletics. Heralded as one of the UK’s greatest sportswomen, she is an inspiration to British athletics. Also a patron of numerous charities, she has done considerable work for the community.
Why she’s influential: Her story reminds us that the girl from a small town can make it big.
Follow her on instagram: @jessicaennishill
Rubab Raza is Pakistan’s first female Olympic swimmer in 2004. A gold medallist at the Islamic Women’s Solidarity Games in Tehran, Iran.
Why she’s influential: She has broken boundaries for Pakistani sportswomen and Pakistani women in general in the sporting world.
Ellie Simmonds is a British Paralympic swimmer who was winning gold medals at the very young age of 13! How many sportswomen can say they’ve done that?
Why she’s influential: Her dwarfism didn’t stop her from breaking 8 world-records before her 18th birthday.
Follow her on instagram: @elliesimmonds
The four-time WNBA champion and Olympic three-time gold medallist (amongst a long list of other accolades) had a prolific 13 year career in women’s basketball. Helping the Minnesota Lynx win their first championship in the franchise’s history, Seimone Augustus is a boundary-breaker. She is openly gay and finally managed to marry her long-time girlfriend after the Supreme Court made gay marriage legal across the US in 2015.
Why she’s influential: She is a spokesperson for gay marriage and has been instrumental in bringing awareness around the restrictions based on sexuality for sportswomen everywhere.
Follow her on instagram: @moneymone33
Michelle Wie is a Hawaiian professional golfer and the highest paid female golfer in the world. She was the youngest player to qualify for a USGA amateur championship at age 10; the youngest player to win the USGA event for adults; the youngest player ever to be selected and then to win on the U.S. team. Fun fact: she used to compete against men as a teenager in the PGA Tour event.
Why she’s influential: She stands tall (literally at 6ft.) and is incredibly courageous to have competed in the big leagues at the young age that she was.
Follow her on instagram: @themichellewie
Marta Vieira Da Silva
Marta Vieira da Silva is a Brazilian professional footballer Brazilian’s an football go together like white on rice. Her quality footwork and technique is spectacular. She’s won best female at the Best Fifa Football Awards six times! Not even Ronaldo or Messi have an accolade as many times as that to their names. She is also the UN Women Goodwill Ambassador for women and girls in sport.
Why she’s influential: She’s a spokesperson for women in sport and the way she controls the game of football, even nearing the possible end of her career is something special to admire.
Follow her on instagram: @martvsilva10
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Lauren is a freelance writer who aspires to be an editor-in-chief of her own publication. Her interests lie in culture, people and behaviour. Her favourite exercise routine is laughing (it really works the abs!).