Sporting Top 10: Women who Invigorated, Innovated and Inspired
10) Sian Massey-Ellis MBE (Football Official)
A beacon of determination, strength and love of the game. Sian Massey-Ellis was recently awarded an MBE in the New Year’s Honours List due to her work throughout a career which has so far seen her officiate Premier League and EFL games, alongside all levels of Women’s football. A flag-bearer for future female officials.
9) Jade Jones MBE (Taekwondo)
A woman not to be messed with. Nicknamed ‘The HeadHunter’ who “kicks people in the head for a living and loves it”; Jade Jones is the personification of the Welsh dragon. With two Olympic Gold medals at just 23 years-of-age, there’s no telling what the remainder of her career will hold.
8) Susie Wolff (Formula One)
If there was ever a woman to revolutionise a sport. Hunting down her passion, as her name fittingly suggests, Susie Wolff became the first female in twenty-two years to sit in the driver seat during a Formula One race weekend. Now retired, Wolff has launched the ‘Dare to be Different’ initiative to accelerate the involvement of females within the sport.
7) Hannah Cockroft MBE (Paralympic Wheelchair Racer)
The term ‘inspirational’ can often be thrown around seamlessly, however it is essential when describing this athlete. Cockroft is a cornerstone to the Paralympic perception upheaval. Her triumphs in both the London and Rio Games have put Paralympic Golds and Olympic Golds on equal pedestals.
6) Kate Richardson-Walsh (Hockey)
The captain of the side who sent the nation into what only could be described as a frenzy bordering upon meltdown. The clocks seemed to stop as the drama of the Women’s Hockey Final unfolded. Kate Richardson-Walsh was one of sixteen jewels in the Olympic crown that night, but her leadership and courage has went on to liberate thousands more than the initial fifteen prior to her career curtain call.
5) Sophie Christiansen CBE (Paralympic Equestrian)
Perhaps the placing on this list may not overwhelm Sophie Christiansen quite to the extent as being voted fifth in the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards, however her thrive and love for sport and life itself is one which is unrivalled. The public cannot help but be inspired by the eight-time Paralympic Gold medallist.
4) Serena Williams (Tennis)
The greatest of her generation? The greatest of all time? Serena Williams secured a record 23rd Grand Slam title defeating beloved sister Venus in straight sets. The American is a symbol of strength and skill as she consistently proves to be a dominative figure in not just Women’s tennis; but tennis as a whole.
3) Rachel Atherton (Mountain Biking)
Mountain Biking may not be an Olympic sport but make no mistake, Rachel Atherton is one of Britain’s greatest champions. The 28-year-old, whose brothers Gee and Dan are at the helm of the Men’s game, is an admired advocate of that whatever men can do, women can do likewise. Now a four-time World Champion, Atherton is pathing the tracks for the future generation of female riders to follow.
2) Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill (Heptathlon)
Winning the World Championships a mere thirteen months after giving birth to her first child, Jessica Ennis-Hill may have been flying alongside the plane to Rio as she appeared to be nothing short of a superhero. This theme continued as she battled against a competitor 9 years her junior for the Gold. Ennis-Hill fell two seconds shy of claiming that feat again but inspired the nation nonetheless, just as she had done in 2012.
1) Dame Katherine Grainger (Rowing)
Britain’s most decorated female Olympian. Grainger wouldn’t have been flicking through any holiday brochures prior to the summer, however with six weeks until the Rio Games got underway, her inclusion was in doubt. This anxious wait was long forgotten when the Scot and her teammate Vicky Thornley stormed across the waters to claim a silver, and Grainger’s fifth Olympic medal. An inspiration for every sportswoman and man alike.