Meet 4 Of The Most Determined, Trailblazing Women In Sports

Abby Wambach and Hope Solo wave to the fans at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Vancouver, Canada. Image by Rcanizares – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

The world of female sport is full of unforgettable moments and influential personalities. Many sports stars have earned the right to be in the spotlight through their outstanding accomplishments. There are a number of ways one could come up with the list of most determined women in sports, so with just a few examples singled out, this one here has its own approach to the matter, but every position is well deserved.

Abby Wambach

The words “soccer” and “Abby Wambach” just go together. Abby is a retired soccer player, coach, two-time Olympic gold medalist, a FIFA Women’s World Cup champion and a member of the National Soccer Hall of Fame. A six-time winner of the U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year award, she was a regular on the U.S. women’s national soccer team from 2003 to 2015, earning her first cap in 2001.

As a forward, she currently stands as the highest all-time goal scorer for the national team and is second in international goals for both female and male soccer players with 184 goals, behind Canadian Christine Sinclair. Abby was awarded the 2012 FIFA World Player of the Year, becoming the first American woman to win the award in ten years. She was included on the 2015 Time 100 list as one of the most influential people in the world.

These days she is having just as much of an influence off the field as she did on it, by championing equal pay and gender equality in soccer, and in sports in general.

Jenny Thompson

One of the most apparent signs of determination is being praised for your hard work. We’re talking winning awards rather than gaining fans’ appreciation, however pleasant that might be. After all, being the best at something and proving it is the heart and soul of every competion. Of course, there are countless wonderful men and women who weren’t fortunate enough to achieve as much as they wanted, and we still admire them. Nevertheless, most ambitious professionals shoot for this one goal: winning prestigious titles. If you earn enough of them, you can secure your place in history and people’s minds. That is the case with Jenny Thompson.

Among loads of significant competitions for various disciplines, even on the highest level, perhaps the most respected are the Olympics. Mere participation alone is considered a great honor, and when you win, everybody talks about you. Not many athletes, men or women, have won more than a single digit number of medals at such events. Meanwhile, Jenny Thompson, former swimming champion, brought home 12 Olympic medals, 8 of which happened to be of the most precious color – gold. Her accomplishments alone prove her fantastic drive that continued long after her career ended; she went on to acquire a medical degree and worked as an anesthesiologist.  

Vanessa Selbst

To pick the representative of such an unusual profession as poker might come as a surprise. However, because of the sport and the unique circumstances it provides, it’s worth taking a moment to recognize Vanessa Selbst’s achievements in this field. The competition in live poker events is one of those rare occasions when men and women face each other in a battle of wits for titles and big money prizes.

Winners often have to demonstrate a lot of discipline and determination because, while the rules of poker are relatively easy to learn, becoming a true master is a whole other story. Not to mention the tremendous pressure accompanying the stakes as they get higher and higher. Being the only woman to ever reach number one on the Global Poker Index, Vanessa’s total live earnings are close to $12 million. Other than that, she possesses three bracelets for winning events at the World Series of Poker, which is considered to be the unofficial world championship.

Serena Williams 

The true trait of an indisputable master is continuity. If you can perform well and show people what you are made of over and over again, by winning games and bringing home awards, nobody will ever question your professionalism. Just as nobody should question that Serena Williams is one of the most important individual competitors ever to play, regardless of gender and discipline. Her period of absolute dominance puts her among the greatest ever.

Twice in her career, she was the defending champion of all four Grand Slam tournaments at the same time. Among numerous titles won and awards achieved, she holds a record for the most Grand Slam victories (23); she attended 98 finals in Singles, in which she claimed victory 73 times; and then there are her four Olympic gold medals in Singles and Doubles. A living legend.

Serena Williams at the 2013 US Open. Image by Edwin Martinez. Creative Commons License.

Leave a Reply