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Female Trailblazers: Empowering Women in Sport

After our podcast interview with Tracy Herbert, who completed a solo 3,527-mile ride around the US to spread awareness about diabetes, we can't help but feel even more inspired. Tracy is just one of the many women who continue to break barriers in the world of sport, acting as a role model and inspiring others to do the same.

To keep the inspiration flowing, here are some of the most awe-inspiring women and their achievements in sport.

Madonna Buder

Many of you may have only heard of the Iron Nun from viral posts. Her real name is Madonna Buder, a Catholic sister who also happens to be the oldest woman to ever finish an Ironman Triathlon. Sister Madonna is 87-years-old, and started competing in races when she was 52. She's racked up an impressive 340 triathlons since. She believes that training helps balance the mind, body, and soul. The Iron Nun is a shining example that it’s never too late in life to start exercising and that age is just a number.

Janja Garnbret

Janja Garnbret may not be a household name yet but in the rock-climbing community, the 20-year old Slovenian is already a legend. She is known for being a dominant force in sport climbing and bouldering, which are two disciplines in indoor climbing. In the recently concluded bouldering season, Garnbret made history by winning all six World Cup events, a feat that has never been achieved by any climber, male or female. If there were any doubts that women can surpass the achievements of men, Garnbret just put those all to rest in one year. The young climber is proof that women are strong and have always been strong.

Shalane Flanagan

Only a handful of women have won the New York City Marathon, and Shalane Flanagan became one of them in 2017. What makes it more impressive is that Shalane, a four-time Olympian, is the first woman to do so in four decades. In an interview with journalist Elana Lyn Gross, the long-distance runner revealed that her secret to a long-spanning career is the ability to mentor other aspiring runners. Marathon running is a competitive sport, but Flanagan is able to focus on her own performance while setting others up for success.

Kelly Holmes

Dame Kelly Holmes may have retired from competitive running, but she continues to make the country proud. She was the first British athlete to become a double gold medallist since 1920, raising the bar for every other British athlete. A Coral feature on ‘Women in Sports’ notes how Dame Kelly made her mark in 2004 after nabbing two gold medals at the Athens Olympics for middle distance running. But since her retirement, the 46-year-old former athlete has kept busy with her charity, the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust. ConnectSport's article on the charity explains how they mentor disadvantaged youth in sport. Dame Kelly's charity has transformed the lives of hundreds of thousands of young people in need, helping them find their purpose in society.

Serena Williams

Serena Williams needs no introduction. The tennis star continues to display strength and determination on and off the court. But no one can say that she has breezed through her career. In fact, 2017 has not been particularly easy as her pregnancy came with complications. Serena spent six weeks in bed, nursing herself back to health while taking care of her newborn. The athlete has been outspoken about her experience not only as a female athlete but as a mother. She has opened up important discussions on how challenging it is to have a career in sports while focusing on family life.

There’s no doubt that these women are inspiring but you don’t need worldwide recognition to empower others. Venturing out of your comfort zone is already a feat in itself. Every single achievement no matter how small is a victory that we all share as a community of tough girls and women.


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