Top 10 Olympic Women who would be Awesome Kick-Ass Novel Heroines

There was something wrong with the 2016 Olympic media coverage. It wasn’t just the commercials every 5 minutes or the security and health concerns facing all the athletes in Rio. It was the blatant sexism illustrated best in this video:

The women’s entire female Olympic team and Katie Ledecky deserve all their media attention for their accomplishments but there was more female talent than the hours of media coverage on the women’s beach volleyball team of Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross with constant bottom up camera shots of their derrieres. The media was happy to give women attention for all the wrong reasons: Hope Solo’s poor sportsmenship, the doping scandals of Russian athletes highlighted by the feud between Russia’s Yulia Efimova and U.S.A.’s Lilly King or Dilma Rousseff, Brazil’s female Prime Minister’s downfall.  But the reality is that women at the 2016 Olympics made Olympic history and shattered glass ceilings. Just on the USA Olympic Team alone, there were 264 men and 294 women. USA women won 27 of the 46 American gold medals. The following 10 women are inspirations to their countries and would make legendary kick-ass romance novel heroines.

10) Majlinda Kelmendi

Gold in Judo

Country: Kosovo

It is a great honor to pursue the dream of bringing home your country’s first gold medal but that doesn’t guarantee food on your table. Majlinda is such a talented athletic that other countries offered her huge financial incentives to compete for them. She turned down these lucrative offers to bring home hope to her war-torn country.  That must have been a tough decision to make, especially for someone who has experienced a life of limited resources. Her bravery and fortitude landed her on my list.


9) Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce

Track and Field:

  • Bronze – Women’s 100m
  • Silver – Women’s 4x100m relay

Country: Jamaica

At Rio, the first Olympian to get the chance to pursue a third straight Gold medal in the 100 meter race was a Jamaican track star named Usain B….Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce. What? Based on the media coverage, Usain Bolt was the only athlete of such grand stature but there was a woman who had the chance to accomplish the same dream. Unfortunately she also came to Rio recovering from a toe injury and only walked away with a Bronze and Silver medal. It was the way she handled her non-gold medals that landed her on this list. She was gracious and congratulated her fellow Jamaican track star Elaine Thompson. Shelly-Ann is one of my favorite Track and Field athletes and I will always wonder what kind of reception she would have received if she had also achieved the third goal medal.


8) Gwen Jorgensen

Triathlon: Gold Women’s individual

Country: United States

Gwen is on this list because she broke free from a safe comfortable life in a work cubicle to pursue her Olympic dream full-time. At first, she kept her full-time job and only practiced before and after work. It was only when she took the leap of faith and trained full-time that she became an inspiration to all women to have faith in their dreams.


7) Caster Semenya

Track & field: Gold Women’s 800m

Country: South Africa

The coverage of this athlete was brutal. They were determined to put an asterisk by her name to dimmer the shine of any medal she received at Olympics. They insisted on calling her a name that has never been proven by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and has never been confirmed by the athlete and her family. Because of her appearance, her clothing choices and her stellar improvements on the track field, people have been cruel to her. But it’s up to the IOC to come up with a fair way to determine gender identity and not to revert back to historically humiliating gender identity verification. It’s unfair to the athletes to be found guilty in the public’s eye. When the warm-up to her race was televised, I had to mute my television screen because the announcers wasted minutes talking about her in a way to imply that when she won, it was because of an unfair advantage. Instead of becoming bitter and resentful, Caster only expressed kindness and gratitude, making her a true Olympian in my eyes.


6) Michelle Carter

Track & field: Gold Women’s shot put

Country: United States

On the flip side, there was another athlete who received a lot of media attention for having a physical appearance that went against traditional public opinion. Female Shot Put athletes are not known for appearing to be feminine but Michelle Carter not only wore beautiful make-up during her competition, she has her own cosmetic company. None of the criticism stopped her from taking home the Gold Medal with her father, Michael Carter (1984 Silver Medal Olympian in Shot Put), in the stands. It was a beautiful moment for the Carter family and the United States.


5) Oksana Chusovitina


Country: Uzbekistan

Most people have the mental picture of female gymnastics as being extremely young and petite with high pitched voices. Oksana breaks that mold by her accomplishment of completing at her 7th Olympics at the age of 41. She even has a pole vault routine named after her. If she could have stuck her current pole vault landing at the 2016 Olympics, she could have been serious competition for Simone Biles. Very few other athletes had the chance to be a legitimate threat against the Rio golden girl. They might even go toe-to-toe again in 4 years. Oksana proves that you can still go after your dreams at any age.



4) Tie: Nikki Hamblin (New Zealand) and Abbey D’Agostino (United States)

Track and Field: Women’s 5000m

These women collided during the women’s 5000m qualifying race. Abbey encouraged and helped Nikki to get back on her feet to compete and Nikki helped Abbey get medical attention after Abbey finished the race. They were both awarded with the prestigious Pierre de Coubertin medal for Spirit of True Sportsmanship. They are awesome women with hearts of gold.


3) Allyson Felix

Track & field

  • Gold Women’s 4x100m relay
  • Gold Women’s 4x400m relay
  • Silver Women’s 400m

Country: United States

Allyson is the most decorated US woman in Olympics track and field history with seven total career Olympic medals. Yet her path has not always been golden. She lost out on 1st place during the Women’s 400m because Bahamas’ Shaunae Miller dramatically dove for the finish line to get more of her body across the line first. Then they were almost disqualified in the women’s 4X100 meter relay because Allyson was bumped while trying to pass her baton. She fought for every victory, never giving up and earned her spot in Olympic history.


2) Simone Manuel


  • Gold Women’s 100m freestyle
  • Gold Women’s 4x100m medley relay
  • Silver Women’s 50m freestyle
  • Silver Women’s 4x100m freestyle relay

Country: United States

Believe it or not, there was another Simone on the USA Olympic Team making history at Rio. Simone Manuel made history by becoming the first African American woman to win an individual swimming medal. But she didn’t stop there; she walked away with 4 medals, cementing her inspirational journey to Rio. I cried tears of joy with her.


1) Yusra Mardini


Refugee Olympic Athletes

Why did I select a person for the #1 spot who didn’t even medal at the Olympics? Because she accomplished something that no other swimmer has ever been asked to do by swimming for hours in the freezing cold water to save the lives of other boat passengers. Yusra competed at the Olympics as part of the first ever Refugee Team and took this opportunity on a global stage to shine a positive light on refugees. Part of her refugee journey was traveling by a boat that began to sink. This has meant death for so many other refugees in similar situations. However, Yusra and her sister jumped out of the boat and swam for three hours to help everyone reach the shore alive.

Last week I spotlighted 10 male champions at the 2016 Olympics that would make ideal romance novel heroes but today these 10 female champion counterparts deserve a bright spotlight for their Olympic achievements. And right now, athletes all over the world are training for the 2018 Olympics in South Korea. I can’t wait to meet you all!


About Jessie Smith

Health Care Worker by Day, Aspiring Author by Night and 24/7 Staff for Riley (Corgie/Tibetan Spaniel Mix)

Posted on September 5, 2016, in Auth: Jessa Slade and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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