International Women’s Day

Last year on International Women’s day I said thank you to 101 women who have had a positive effect on my life and helped shape who I am. A lot of them have no idea I exist. It doesn’t matter.
I’m not going for another 101 today, but when I think back to last year there was a group of women who I left out. I am not sure a single sportswoman featured in my list. Then London 2012 happened. So today belatedly I want to say thank-you to all of the women athletes who made it such a memorable summer. For the British team, it was the women who kicked off the summer’s success, so I find it very sad and frustrating that just a few months on the sports sections of the national papers are dominated by men’s sports. In fact, we didn’t have to wait months. It happened almost immediately.
I haven’t got room to mention them all here, and isn’t it brilliant to be able to say that? So I’ll be going for a few of my top favourites, and forgive me for the very British bias.
First up, Nicola Adams. She was on the news tonight promoting opportunities for girls to take part in sport. Nicola has one of theose 1000 watt smiles and a personality to match. She was the first woman to ever win gold in boxing at an Olympic games. She has signed her name to the international campaign to raise awareness of and help to stop domestic violence against women.
I was up close and yelling at my tiny television screen when Jessica Ennis won her gold medal. She was one of the poster girls of London 2012, and the pressure on her was huge. Not once did her poise slip. An amazing athlete and superb role model in so many ways. Shortly after the games she tweeted a picture of her beloved dog wearing her medal.

Hannah Cockroft makes me laugh. And cheer. Friends of mine were lucky enough to see her race in the Paralympics and they still go starry eyed when they talk about it. She had a little Channel 4 video where she compared herself to a labrador, always happy, always on the go. Already World Champion, this is the moment when she added Olympic gold.
It’s getting hard to choose, hard to stop, so I am going for another of the poster girls for London 2012, another one with a brilliant smile, whose personal warmth comes through and whose determination and ability shine. It has to be Ellie Simmonds. Still a teenager, she is one of those people I confidently predict will have a future in the public eye lomg after her sporting career is over.
Sarah Storey, Sophie Christiansen, Katherine Grainger, Victoria Pendleton, Helen Glover, Charlotte Dujardin, Jade Jones, Gemma Gibbons, Laura Trott, Hannah Russell, Rebecca Adlington and every other woman in the Olympics and Paralympics, thank you.

And if anyone can tell me why my links are coming up liek this, I’d be very grateful!

8 thoughts on “International Women’s Day

  1. Your post last year has lingered in my mind – so much so, that I have marked the day in a similar way this year. Thank you for making me focus of some of the women who have influenced me, Isobel.
    I didn’t watch the Olympics (don’t faint in horror!) but all these women are role models for so many people, you are right to pay them homage.

  2. Lovely post Isobel. I enjoyed the summer of sport too and the incredible achievements of all the athletes. As far as the women are concerned, I hope they *inspire* young teenage girls to take up sports and believe that they can succeed. I hope schools capitalise on the interest in sport and widen the range of sports they offer. I’d like to see sportswomen going into schools and enthusing girls.

    I suppose the reason is that when I was at school, the choice was gym, hockey or netball and that was it. We had a go at field events in the summer but we messed about, loafed and laughed because if you weren’t already a “natural” you were a no-hoper.

    I was thinking the other day, while out for a run, how if you’d told the 15 year old me that I’d be going out for a run or a bike for the fun and fitness of it at my age, I would * never* have believed it! I hated running as a kid but there’s a technique for everything and it’s just a question of teachers having the patience to teach and youngsters having the imagination to believe they can succeed.

    • Thanks Jan. Trouble is schools have less and less access to space for sports, grounds are sold off; budgets are too tight. If the govt were serious about all of us doing sport they would put in the money. It is the lack of joined up thinking that has beset politics for years that stops it and so many other things that ultimately, I believe, would result in savings in health care. Rather like the campaign for libraries. These things are not extras, not luxuries, they improve people’s lives, help them to be happy and contribute to society as a whole.

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