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!