Bronze Strigil with Handle in Form of a Girl

  At just 40 centimeters, this figure is unassuming next to the momentous collections at the British Museum. Surprisingly, this bronze strigil is a symbol of girlhood strength. Long before bath bombs, shower gel, and dry shampoo, girls were using a much different tool to get clean. A strigil is a curved blade used to scrape dirt, oil, and sweat off the body, typically after exercise. The curves in the blade were designed to go along the curves of the body and to be scraped across the skin after a scented oil was applied. It sounds bizarre, but it’s really not too far away from all...

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Olympic Girls: Paralympics 2016 – IPC Athletics

Hannah Cockroft Hannah began competing in various wheelchair sports when she was in school and ended up winning a silver medal in the seated discus at the UK School Games. The British Paralympics Association held a talent day which was where she first tried an elite racing chair, soon after she began to be coached by a head Paralympics coach at UK Athletics. At the London Games in 2012 she won gold in the 100m T34 event, setting a new Paralympics record in the process, she also won gold in the 200m T34 event. After London she went on to win numerous gold medals at the World and European...

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Olympic Girls: Paralympics 2016 – IPC Swimming Teams

Ellie Simmonds Ellie earned international attention at the Beijing Games in 2008 when aged just 13 she won two gold medals (in the 100m and 400m freestyle events). Ellie also competed in three other events at the Games and her hard work was rewarded further when she was voted the BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year. Ellie repeated her success at the 2012 Games in London winning gold in the 400m freestyle and 200m individual medley events. In January 2009 she was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the Queen’s New Years Honours List. In Rio this year she made...

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Olympic Girls: Allyson Felix

In Rio Allyson Felix won two gold and one silver medal but success at the Olympics is nothing new for her. She is tied with Marlene Ottey as the most decorated female track and field star of all time with a total of nine medals to her name. Allyson was a prolific athlete in high school which earned her a sponsorship deal with Adidas after she graduated. Her success on the international stage happened early in her career. At the 2004 Olympics in Athens, aged just 18, she won a silver medal in the 200 meter event where she also set a World Junior Record with her time of 22.18. The following...

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Olympic Girls: Michelle Carter

A discussion the other night amongst my friends showed why the Olympics matter – we all agreed that for two weeks every four years we sit glued to the TV watching sports that we normally wouldn’t watch if they were being held in our back gardens. Some of the most popular sports amongst the group were gymnastics, boxing, rowing (Ireland had great success in this event) and any event that Usain Bolt was competing in. One sport that no one mentioned (or thought about) was the shot put, but one woman may have changed that for future Olympics. Michelle Carter became the first woman from the...

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Olympic Girls: Simone Manuel

While another Simone (Biles) was making history on the gymnastics floor, Simone Manuel was making history in the swimming pool. Simone had a sixteen year journey to get to Rio having started swimming aged just 4 years old. She swam at her local swimming club in Sugar Land, Texas as well as in high school and in 2004 she enrolled in Stanford University. At Stanford she has become a two-time NCAA Champion in the 50 and 100 meter freestyle event where she has a set a number of time records. Simone won two silver medals in Rio, one in the 50m freestyle event and one as part of the 4 x 100m...

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Olympic Girls: Nikki Hamblin and Abbey D’Agostino

The beauty of an event like the Olympics is the different types of stories that emerge. From the refugee team that competed this year to the brilliance of Usain Bolt there were plenty of things to read and discuss. Perhaps the two people who best showed what the Olympic spirit is all about are Nikki Hamblin and Abbey D’Agostino. Nikki Hamblin was born in England where she started competing in middle-distance running (her specialties are the 800 and 1500 meter events). In 2006 she moved to New Zealand and in 2009 she gained New Zealand citizenship. 2010 was a breakout year for Nikki as...

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Olympic Girls: Katie Ledecky

Most 19 year olds have spent their summer being 19 year olds, while Katie Ledecky has spent hers making herself an international superstar. Katie comes from a family of swimmers and so was encouraged to start swimming at a young age; she went on to compete for her high school in Maryland before she made the U.S. Olympic team in 2012 aged just 15 years old. In London she burst onto the scene in a big way. She qualified for the 800 meter freestyle final and won the race in the second fastest time of all-time (she broke the American record for this race that had stood for 23 years). At the...

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Olympic Girls: Simone Biles

Simone Biles went into the Rio Olympics with the weight of a nation on her shoulders. At just 19 years of age she was expected to not only perform at a high standard but to bring gold back to the United States. In the past week she has smashed all expectations put on her, as well as becoming a household name worldwide. Simone started taking gymnastics lessons when she was in elementary school and began her career in 2011 (aged 12) placing third in two events. The following year she chose to be homeschooled which gave her the chance to increase her training to almost 34 hours a week – keeping...

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Olympic Girls: Brianne Theisen-Eaton

A little while ago I wrote about Jessica Ennis-Hill’s Olympic glory and her journey to retaining her title. One woman who is aiming to stop her is Canadian athlete Brianne Theisen-Eaton. Brianne competed in a number of different sports while in high school but it was track and field where her true talents lay. In 2005 she competed in the 2005 World Youth Championships and in 2007 she won gold in the Pan American Junior Championships. Her success led to her being offered a scholarship to attend the University of Oregon where she continued to compete in athletics. During her time there she won...

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