Britain has produced so many great female athletes who have pushed the limits of what women in sport can accomplish. To celebrate their achievements and inspire you, we’ll take a look at some of the most successful female athletes in the UK and how they have all overcome challenges.
Nicola Adams: Boxing
At 36, Nicola Adams is a double Olympic champion from Leeds. She’s won the ‘grand slam’ of amateur titles: World, Olympic, Commonwealth and European. Last year, she experienced a series of setbacks with the revelation that her mother is battling breast cancer, along with her breakup with fellow fighter Marlen Esparza, and an unknown illness affecting her trainer Virgil Hunter. In spite of these issues, Adams is still determined to win every fight. In an interview she's quoted saying, “I’ve overcome many obstacles in my career and in my life and I know that anybody who is put in front of me in that ring, I know I’m going to take them out.” Adams is a role model for everyone, showing how personal troubles should only make you more determined to succeed and reach your fitness goals.
Jessica Ennis-Hill: Track & Field
Jessica Ennis-Hill was the face of the 2012 Olympics as the champion of the heptathlon that year. She also holds the current British national record for the event. Recently, Ennis-Hill admits the challenges she faced to get back on track after her baby was born in 2015. The pregnancy hormone relaxin caused Jessica’s Achilles tendons to flare up, and relaxed her joints so much that her body isn't used to it. In the end, Ennis-Hill took home silver in the 2016 Olympics, narrowly missing out on keeping her Olympic heptathlon title. Although not her best result, she decided to retire shortly after, satisfied with what she had accomplished. As a retired Olympian, she now supports current athletes undergoing pregnancy during their competing years. She wishes to prove to everyone that getting pregnant shouldn’t be seen as a barrier to success in sport.
Nikita Parris: Football
Nikita Parris was the player to watch in the recently concluded Women’s World Cup. Fourteen minutes into England’s first match, Parris went on to score the country’s first goal of the tournament. It was never a case of men’s or women’s football with Nikita, whose first team was her local boy’s team, Kingsely United. Despite growing up playing against boys, she’s seen the power her performance has in inspiring women, both in sport and in life. One of her inspirations for working hard in her sport is knowing that she’s educating and inspiring the next generation of footballers, both women and men alike. This goes to show how women can succeed even in a male-dominated sport.
Laura Kenny: Cycling
In cycling, there are very few females who’ve become household names. Laura Kenny is one of Britain’s top athletes due to being the most successful female Olympian of all time with four gold medals. This has also made her a household name and global figure for the sport. In 2017, Kenny had her first child. She told the Metro that getting back on her bike after having eight months off was one of the hardest things she’s ever had to do. While she had a lot of support from others, she drew her inspiration from her mum, who used to cycle to lose weight while raising her as a kid. Not once did the pro cyclist think of giving up, especially now with her son as a new source of motivation. She believes that in an age where women’s sport is at its highest, now is the time to push for more role models, particularly for mothers. She is determined to prove to the world that mothers have a place in competitive sport, and can even come out victorious.
Hazel Findlay: Climbing
Viv Wilson believes that more women are starting to find themselves in extreme sports not just due to their physical ability but also because of their mental fortitude. Hazel Findlay is a big wall free climber and has been called “the best female mountaineer in Britain.” In 2014, she became the first female British climber to climb the 160-foot Fish Eye located in Oliana, Spain. However, because of her record-breaking attempt, she badly injured one of her shoulders. Findlay eventually had to get surgery on her injury, although the pain still persisted. What helped Findlay overcome her pain was when she started thinking about it differently. She started to understand that the pain was in part due to how her brain and nervous system were wired to expect pain from her shoulder more than anywhere else. Through overcoming the pain mentally, she was able to accomplish more. In 2017, she climbed up the Salathé Wall in Yosemite’s El Capitan. Her mental strength in overcoming pain just goes to show that women can accomplish any physical feat if they set their mind to it.
Article specially written for theboobuddy.com By Julie Howie