The 2016 Olympics begin in less than a month, when the best athletes in the world will converge in Brazil to compete against each other, showcasing their physical prowess. (And the US Olympic uniforms aren’t bad either!) Becoming an Olympic-caliber athlete takes a kind of dedication and intensity, in addition to innate talent, that few of us will ever approach, though we can certainly take cues from the people who do.
Male athletes tend to hog all the glory (or at the very least, the pay). So as we get ready to celebrate the best of the best, let’s take a look at some of the awe-inspiring women who are making history.
1. Gabby Douglas: Gabby was a breakout star of the 2012 London Olympics, where she won gold in both the individual all-around and team competitions. She overcame a serious knee injury and situation that forced her to change gyms and coaches to be named to the 2016 team, and it was recently announced that she is the face of a new Barbie doll. Go Gabby!
2. Simone Biles: In 2012 Simone Biles was just 15, making her too young to join the Olympic team. But she has made a name for herself in the last few years alone: She’s the only woman who has won the all-around World Gymnastics championship three times in a row, she invented a move (called “the Biles”) and she’s never lost a competition.
3. Hope Solo: The US women’s soccer team are the reigning Olympic and world champions. Brazil will be the third Olympics for Hope, who is widely considered one of the greatest goalkeepers in the world; in last year’s Women’s World Cup she had a 540-minute shutout streak! She’s a rather controversial figure due to some off-pitch behavior, including a domestic violence charge that hasn’t yet been heard in court, but in addition to her on-field excellence, she’s been a fierce advocate for women athletes and equal pay.
4. Allyson Felix: She won gold in the 200-meter race in London, but won’t compete in that event this year due to an ankle injury that had yet to fully heal by the time of the trials (though she still only lost by one hundredth of a second). However, Allyson will still represent the US in the 4×400-meter relay and the 400-meter race, for which she racked up the fastest time in the world this year at the qualifiers: an astounding 49.68 seconds.
5. Megan Rapinoe: This will be Megan’s second Olympic Games, and she overcame SERIOUS obstacles to get here: She suffered a serious injury in December that led to surgery, and hasn’t played a game with the team since then. But we all look forward to seeing her on the field as the team attempts to both defend its Olympic title and win gold the year after winning the World Cup, which has never been done by a women’s team.
Let us know which events you’re excited about on Twitter by tweeting us @BritandCo!
(Photos via Harry How, Sean M. Haffey and Mike Ehrmann/ Getty)