You can’t ignore it: the women are killing it as of late. Step aside, men of the Tour de France, it’s time for us to raise a toast to our fellow athletes and celebrate the achievements and all-around badassery of women.
For your inspiration, here’s a roundup of ladies who, over the past few weeks, have risen to the top and dominated their fields. Swimmers, fighters, ballerinas, warriors—these women are at the top of their game and the world is taking note.
US Women’s Soccer Team
There’s no better way to ‘kick’ things off than with the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The biggest and brightest bang on America’s birthday weekend arrived when the US team brought home the championship. After the men’s less than stellar performance in the games, the country rallied behind its heroes who got it done: the women. We are the champions of the world, indeed.
Misty Copeland is truly a tour de force. She is Under Armor’s leading lady. She was featured on the cover of Time magazine’s April issue of “The 100 Most Influential People.” In May, she was profiled by “60 Minutes.” And earlier this month, she became the American Ballet Theater’s first African American principal ballerina (the highest ranking a ballet dancer can achieve).
Copeland’s road to success has been challenging and unique, but her circumstance didn’t define her; it empowered her. Copeland broke the mold of what a ballerina “should” look like, becoming a champion for dancers who are neither rail thin nor pale.
“Had I had this very easy path, I’d be a different person,” she said. “I talk about it because it hasn’t changed. Until I can see America represented in the American (ballet) companies, we have to have the conversation.”
This Saturday, the unparalleled Serena Williams won Wimbledon 2015—for the sixth time, and for her fourth consecutive title. She won the U.S. Open last year as well as the Australian and French Opens to start 2015. The media has dubbed the series of wins the “Serena Slam.”
“I honestly wouldn’t have thought last year after winning the U.S. Open I would win the Serena Slam at all,” she said in an interview. “So just starting this journey, having all four trophies at home, is incredible.”
This fall, she’ll compete in the U.S. Open again, and if she wins, she’ll complete a calendar-year grand slam. It’s a feat that hasn’t been done, by a male or a female tennis player, since the equally fierce Steffi Graf in 1988.
The Women of the 2015 ESPN Body Issue
The recently published ESPN Body Issue is full of the strongest and fittest females today. And you know what they have to say to all of us? Love who you are.
Amanda Bingson, America’s #1 hammer thrower (and the lady above), remarked, “Whatever your body type is, just use it. There are definitely things that I can do that skinnier people can’t do. But then there are things that skinnier people do that I’ll never be able to do, like run a marathon. There’s just no way that will ever happen.”
Natalie Coughlin (you’ll remember her as a star swimmer from the 2008 Olympics—she’s the first American female athlete to win six medals in one Olympics), said, “There were times when I wasn’t happy with my body, but I always knew that I was really fit and that it was what allowed me to be successful in the pool.”
From heptathlete Chantae McMillan: “I don’t look in the mirror and think ‘slim’; I look in the mirror and I’m like, ‘Whoa, beast!'”
Feeling inspired yet?