IWD 2019: The Women in Sport Who Inspire Us

Although we firmly believe in recognizing women’s achievements all year round—and not just on International Women’s Day—we’ll also take any excuse to hype our inspirations. Here, three women athletes who prove anything is possible.

Jeannie Rice

“It’s obvious why I can identify with and aspire to be like Jeannie Rice—she’s a 70-year-old Korean-American woman who has run more than 100 marathons around the world. Most recently she set an age-group world record at the 2018 Chicago Marathon, with a blistering time of 3:27:50. Not only is she incredibly fast, but she’s also an overachiever in her professional life as a real estate agent, even winning a Rookie of the Year award (her perfect slogan: ‘I will go the extra mile for all your real estate needs!’). Jeannie has inspired her family to take up running as well, and now does 5Ks with her granddaughters. Talk about being the ultimate role model for #lifegoals.” —Katie Sin, Special Projects Lead

Lindsey Vonn

“Strong isn’t a strong enough word for Olympian Lindsey Vonn. I mean, she is physically strong. But she has a stand-back-up mentality that has seen her through injuries and tough competitions. (Try Googling her without the word ‘comeback’ appearing.) But what I love most is her straightforward approach to everything: she just works hard. I met Lindsey in 2017, and was surprised to find how approachable and unassuming she is in person—despite being the most successful female ski racer in the world. As we chatted about her career, she drove home the point that she comes from a family that knows the value of putting in the work. Granted, she was downplaying her talent, but the idea that our daily grind is what leads to success is a real and relatable way to think of achieving goals.” —Lisa Hannam, Senior Editor

Roberta “Bobbi” Gibb

“It may be hard to believe now, but mere decades ago, women were considered too weak to run long distances. Races were open to men only. So I remain totally inspired by those who pushed to give women equal footing—including athletes like Bobbi Gibb, the first woman to run the Boston Marathon (1966). When the BAA declined to let her enter because of her gender, Gibb, then just 23, went to the start line anyway. ‘Why did people think women were incapable of so many things? The angrier I got, the more it became a feminist statement for me,’ she explained in the book First Ladies of Running: 22 Inspiring Profiles of the Rebels, Rule Breakers, and Visionaries Who Changed the Sport Forever (a highly recommended read!). ‘I was very shy and wasn’t looking for publicity, but at that moment, I knew I had to run Boston to show what women could do.’ I just love that quote. Today, the women’s running boom is still going strong, and what Gibb proved that day was one of the early sparks.” —Wing Sze Tang, Editor-in-Chief