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Outstanding Female Olympians
By: Robyn Welsh
The Rio 2016 Olympics have been intense and monumental, with no shortage of inspiring talent from young female athletes. We have compiled a list of amazing Canadian and American Olympians that have made an impact in this year’s Olympic games.
Simone Biles, 19, Gymnast, Team USA
Biles was crowned the world’s best gymnast when she took home gold medals in the all-round individual finals. She is able to do routines on the balance beam that others would do on the floor and many people have said that at this point, she is competing against herself. She is incredibly inspiring and has empowered female athletes by standing up to sexism in the Olympics.
Aly Raisman, 22, Gymnast, Team USA
There is no shortage of talent from the United States gymnastics team. Aly Raisman, captain of the women’s team for the 2016 Summer Olympics, took home a silver medal in the all-round individual finals, and the United States took home a gold medal in the team all-round finals. Raisman also competed in the 2012 Olympic games where she was awarded two gold medals and a bronze.
Simone Manuel, 20, Swimmer, Team USA
Simone Manuel made history at this year’s summer Olympics being the first African-American woman to ever win a gold-medal in an individual swimming event. In an interview with Time magazine, Simone Manuel said, “I would like one day for there to be more of us, so it’s not Simone the black simmer because the title of black swimmer makes it seem like I’m not supposed to be able to win a gold medal, or not supposed to break records. That’s not true. I work just as hard as everybody else and I want to win just like everybody else.”
Penny Oleksiak, 16, Swimmer, Team Canada
At only sixteen, Oleksiak is the youngest Canadian to become an Olympic champion and the first to win four summer Olympic medals in one year. She tied for gold with American Simone Manuel, setting a new world record of 52.70 seconds in the women’s 100-meter freestyle. Oleksiak specializes in freestyle and butterfly events and is the youngest of five siblings.
Emily Overholt, 18, Swimmer, Canada
Emily Overholt began swimming when she was nine years old and competed for the first time in the 2013 Canada games at the age of fifteen. After Brittany MacLean became ill, Overholt was brought up to the women’s 4x200m freestyle relay team, where she ultimately helped Canada bring home the bronze.The team consisted of Katerine Savard, Penny Oleksiak, and Chantal Van Landeghem.
Jennifer Abel, 24, Diver, Canada
Abel placed first in the Women’s 3 meter spring-board preliminary, and fourth overall in the event. Abel began competing at the Olympics when she was only sixteen as one of Canada’s youngest divers. Over the years, she has won her fair share of medals and has proved to be an asset to Team Canada.
Meaghan Benfeito, 27, Diver, Team Canada
With her partner Roseline Filion, Benfeito brought home a bronze medal for Canada this year in the women’s synchronized 10 meter platform. Benefito won her first bronze at 16 and continues to hold the national record for sixteen to eighteen year olds in 3 metre diving.
Kassidy Cook, 21, Diver, Team USA
Cook has been a member of the United States diving team since 2012, but due to a shoulder injury the 2016 Rio Games are the first Olympics she has competed in. She started diving at the age of four and was a child model before that. Cook now studies communications at Stanford University.
Katie Ledecky, 19, Swimmer, Team USA
Ledecky took home four gold medals and one silver at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. She is a nine-time world champion and holds the world record for women’s 400-, 800-, and 1,500-meter freestyle. She started swimming when she was six and has since received numerous awards such as one of Time Magazine’s 100 influential people in 2016, Swimming World’s World Swimmer of the Year, and American Swimmer of the Year for three consecutive years.
Brianne Theisen-Eaton, 27, Heptathlete, Team Canada
As a heptathlete, Theisen-Eaton competes in seven track and field events: the 100 metre hurdles, high jump, shot put, 200 metre run, long jump, javelin throw, and the 800 meter run. This year, she brought home a bronze medal for Canada in the heptathlon.
Overall, female athletes have done phenomenal in this year’s Olympics. The majority of Canadian medals have been brought home by women.
Which Olympians have you been loving this year? Let us know in the comments!