Female athletes have been around forever – just like male athletes have. Often, female sports’ leagues, tournaments, and competitions do not get enough media coverage. This means the world regularly misses out on women who are super-talented with supernatural talent. These female athletes are fierce, strong, and they’re not here to play around.
It seems like nothing in the world can hold back ballerina Misty Copeland. She’s been breaking barriers since she was a teenager. It all started when she was 13 and started taking ballet classes. This is considered to be a “late” age for ballet, as most kids start at the age of seven or eight, and some even as early as four years old! Despite the challenges, Copeland never let anything get in her way. Just two years ago, she became the first African-American woman to be promoted to a principal dancer in the prestigious American Ballet Theater, which was founded last century. Copeland became an all-around star and inspiration, in her words, for “all the little brown girls out there.” Copeland will even star in the upcoming reboot of The Nutcracker this Christmas, alongside Keira Knightley and Helen Mirren!
Megan Rapinoe’s story is one that needs to be heard. Before that, let us drop some facts: Rapinoe is a soccer player, currently playing for the Seattle Reign FC. She participated in the soccer Olympic games in London in 2012. Also, Rapinoe played in the FIFA World Cup in 2015 on the US Woman’s soccer team – and the team won!
In addition to her incredible athletic skills, Rapinoe is openly gay, and a huge advocate for equal pay, as women in soccer make a quarter of the salary male soccer players make. She and other soccer players filed a complaint against the US Soccer Federation, and have been fighting for equal pay ever since.
Another household name, this woman is one of the greatest athletes of our generation. Winning four gold medals at the 2016 Rio Olympics, Simone Biles participated in the individual artistic gymnastics competition as well as the group competition. The group team was titled the “Final Five” and went on to become international celebrities during the games. Despite only being 19 while in the Olympics, Biles does not let the fame go to her head. She practices and works just as hard, eyeing more gold in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
Not many people have heard of Minda Dentler, but everyone should know about this incredible human being. Dentler competed in the Ironman World Championship in 2012. For those not in the know, the Ironman World Championship is a triathlon that starts with a 2.4-mile swim, followed by a 112-mile bike ride, and finishes with a 26.2-mile run. But that’s not it – Dentler is a polio survivor, who competes in a wheelchair. Polio is a life-threatening disease, which the athlete fought and won bravely. She is also a vaccine advocate, and in front of hundreds of eyes and cameras, she vaccinated her baby daughter against the polio virus in the Global Moms Relay in 2017. Additionally, Dentler now tells her story of triumph as a female athlete with a disability with an inspirational speech!
Do we really need to introduce this legend? Serena Williams is one of the biggest names in tennis, and sports in general, in the world. With 23 Grand Slams under her belt, this super-athlete never holds back. Dealing with sexism and barriers created by others for years, she continues to win time after time. In doing so, she became an inspiration to female athletes everywhere. To many who look up to her, it seems like Williams is almost superhuman. She trained from a young age, beat competitor after competitor, and returned to tennis right after she gave birth. Through her dedication, Serena Williams became a household name and a brand, that represents strength, dignity, and ambition.
Just like Williams likes to remind others, we join her in saying that these are not only the greatest “female athletes” in the world, but some of the best athletes. Period.