Every year, On June 23, International Olympic Day is celebrated, where sportspeople and athletes converge across the world to promote the benefits of sports. This is a celebration of sport, health, and being together. It invites everyone around the world to be active and move together.
Several women across the world have created history in the Olympics through decades. Today, on the occasion of International Olympic Day, let us look at some of these inspiring women:
1.Nawal El Moutawakel (Morocco), athletics, Los Angeles 1984
El Moutawakel’s triumph in the 400m hurdles in 1984 made her the first female Olympic champion as well as the first Arab Muslim African woman to win an individual event in the Olympics. Moreover, her triumph led to her receiving a congratulatory phone call from the country’s king. This win inspired other Arab women to come forward and take part in sports.
2. Derartu Tulu (Ethiopia), athletics, Barcelona 1992
Tulu just at the age of 21 became the first black African woman to win an Olympic gold medal. Later, she went on to defend her title at Sydney 2000 becoming the first woman to win the 10,000m twice in a row – and won bronze in 2004 after having given birth to her first child.
Apart from that, she was also a noted cross-country runner and marathoner, winning the London, Tokyo, and New York City Marathons during her career.
3. Icho Kaori (Japan), wrestling, Athens 2004 – Rio 2016
This Japanese wrestler won four olympics gold medals in a row at four different Games. Her triumph in Rio, having moved from 63 kg to the 58 kg class, made her the first woman in any sport to win gold medals in individual events at four consecutive Olympic Games. Dutch speed skater Ireen Wüst would repeat this feat at PyeongChang 2018 to become the first female Winter Olympian to do so.
4. Mariana Pajón (Colombia), BMX racing, London 2012 – Rio 2016
Only one Colombian, male or female, has won more than one Olympic gold medal and that is Pajón. She achieved the feat after successfully defending her London Olympics BMX racing title in Rio.
Her success has paved the way for young girls in Colombia to take up the sport. “I’m a girl who joined a sport in which there were no girls; I opened the path so others could be there and had the chance of dreaming of becoming bikers,” she said.
5. Simone Biles (United States), artistic gymnastics, Rio 2016
During the Rio Olympics 2016, Biles made history by becoming the first non-European women’s gymnast to win four golds at a single Games. Her achievement makes her one of only four American women to win at least four golds at one Olympic Games, along with swimmers Amy van Dyken, Missy Franklin, and Katie Ledecky.
- Staff Reporter