Wonder Women: Summer of Sport

There has been a long battle for women’s sports to get the same recognition as men’s, but as I write this blog we are in the midst of something of a revolution. It’s been a long time coming! A staggering 25.4 million viewers watched Carli Lloyd’s hat-trick seal a third world cup for USA in 2015, making it the most-watched game of football ever in the United States – smashing the previous record during the men’s 2014 World Cup out the water. The 2016 Olympics and Paralympics saw Team GB scoop 67 medals to finish second in the medal table in Rio – with women winning 48% of the medals. All the...

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The Rise of Girls’ Soccer in Spain

In a world dealing with various political, religious and social crises that negatively impact girls, this story was a breath of fresh air. A girls’ soccer team in northeastern Spain has emerged victorious after coming in first in a junior regional league. The team beat 13 boys’ teams to become first in the Lleida league; they have been playing against the boys’ teams since 2014. Unlike other countries, women’s soccer in Spain does not enjoy the same recognition and respect as their male counterparts. Coaches for the team say that the girls have struggled with negative reactions from the...

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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: Nellie Kim

Nellie Kim made history at the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal – not only did she win four medals but she also the first woman to score a perfect 10 in the floor exercise and on the vault. For Nellie this was a journey that began while she was still in school, along with her siblings she took gymnastics classes. Nellie had to work harder than everyone else in order to succeed in gymnastics; she was once told by Larissa Latynina that she would have “no future” in the sport. Over the next few years she would prove her doubters wrong. She achieved success in a number of junior competitions...

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Olympic Girls: Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce

This Friday (August 12th) Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce will take the track in Rio looking to make history. She will compete in the 100m sprint heats aiming to win the title for a third consecutive Olympics. Jamaica has a long history of having successful track and field competitors and so Shelly-Ann began competing in athletics while she was still in school. Her first big event was the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. At this event she went in under the radar but ended up making a big splash – she ended up winning gold in the 100m in an impressive time of 10.78 seconds which was the second fastest time...

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Olympic Girls: Babe Didrikson Zaharias

Today’s athletes tend to focus on one sport in order to excel at it – Mildred (Babe) Didrikson Zaharias managed to excel at three diverse sports. Mildred was born in 1911 and would go on to claim that she earned the nickname ‘Babe’ because of the number of home runs she hit during a baseball game aged 4! Babe’s basketball career began with her first job; she worked for an insurance company in Texas who also had an amateur basketball team. She was the star of this team and led them to success at the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) in 1931. The following year she also competed at the event which...

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Olympic Girls: Katie Taylor

Long before the London Olympics in 2012, Katie Taylor was on track to becoming Ireland’s greatest ever boxer. If she wins gold in Rio she will go down as one of Ireland’s greatest ever athletes. Katie began boxing at the age of 11 in St. Fergal’s Boxing Club in her hometown of Bray, Co. Wicklow. Her father, who himself was a former boxing champion, began coaching her and her brothers and four years later she participated (and was victorious) in the first ever sanctioned women’s boxing match in Ireland. She has won 19 medals in different competitions over the past 10 years including winning...

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Olympic Girls: Jessica Ennis-Hill

In Rio next month, Jessica Ennis-Hill aims to make history as the first British woman to successfully defend a track and field title at the Olympics. She won the gold medal at the London Olympics on a night that was known as ‘Super Saturday’. The London Olympics were the first Games that I was really engrossed in; I had just finished college and so had a lot of time on my hands and living in Ireland there was no time difference to contend with. For me, Jessica winning the 800 meters was the highlight of the entire Games. She went on to inspire people everywhere to become more active, whether...

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Olympic Girls: Jenny Thompson

The beauty of the Olympic Games is that it is an amateur event. Sure, many of the top athletes have million dollar endorsement deals with athletic companies and some participate in professional competitions throughout the year (tennis and basketball being two prime examples). The Olympics are different – there’s no prize money and people compete for the honour of representing their country and to achieve personal goals. Afterwards some of the competitors go on to have incredible careers, others choose to go back to a normal life, this week’s Olympic Girl is one such person. Jenny Thompson...

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Olympic Girls: The Fierce Five

In the build-up to the 2012 Olympic Games, the American Olympic Gymnastics team was described by Sports Illustrated as “America’s Game Changers”. Considering the five girls were all still teenagers (between 15 and 18) this was a lot of pressure to place on their small shoulders. But instead of buckling under the pressure, the Fierce Five, as they were ultimately dubbed, all thrived – the team ended up winning the team gold as well as a number of individual medals for the girls.   Gabby Douglas: Gabby began her gymnastics career at the age of 8 and she was so dedicated to the sport that...

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