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Across the past year, nine athletes from eight different disciplines graciously donated their time to share their inspirational stories of how they got to the top of their chosen field.
Representing sports from football to taekwondo and cricket to swimming, our Women In Sport class of 2019 have over 19 Olympic and Paralympic medals between them, and each of them has their own fascinating story to tell.
As the world celebrates the achievements of women across the globe this International Women’s Day, rediscover year’s interviews below and check out what the stars have been up to since filming.
Team GB Taekwondo athletes Jade Jones OBE and Lauren Williams.
Filmed just before the 2019 World Championships in Manchester, Team GB Taekwondo star Jones, who became a household name after taking home gold medals at the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games and Williams, who took up the sport after watching Jones’ 2020 triumph, sat down to discuss how they got their start in the sport, their biggest challenges and their greatest achievements in their careers so far.
Shortly after filming, Jones took home the Gold at the Manchester World Championships, and Williams made Team GB. Both will represent their country at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Ebony-Jewel’s highly decorated cricket career almost never was, after a serious back injury at the age of 19 left her unable to play the sport for three years.
Her story is truly inspirational. Bouncing back, she became one of the sport’s greatest players, becoming an integral part in England’s 2009 team that took home the ICC Women’s World Twenty20, the Women’s Ashes and the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup.
Now retired, Rainford-Brent is one of the UK’s foremost cricket broadcasters and as part of her summariser job on beloved BBC radio show Test Match Special, is currently in Australia working on the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup.
Passionate about women’s cricket, Rainford-Bent also continues her role of Director of Women’s Cricket at Surrey CCC.
Cycling’s popularity has exploded over the past decade and Katie Archibald is one of the country’s brightest stars.
At the 2016 Olympics, only five years after making her competitive debut, Katie earned her first gold medal as part of the team pursuit event in Rio De Janeiro.
With the summer Olympics now just months away, Archibald is in full preparation mode for Tokyo 2020 and after impressive showings at recent events on home soil, will be hoping to help her team retain their Olympic title in Japan.
Finally, after decades of underinvestment and lack of media attention, it feels like women’s football is getting the recognition it deserves.
After a World Cup which narrowly saw England lose out on a final place against the USA, a watershed moment for the game occurred over one weekend this past September. Women’s Football Weekend saw Manchester City host Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium and Chelsea host Spurs at Stamford Bridge, shattering attendance records as over 70,000 fans turned up to watch FA Women’s Super League games.
One player involved in the record-breaking matches was Siri Worm, Tottenham’s star left-back who also regularly appears for the Dutch national team.
Filmed shortly after transferring to Spurs from Everton, the full-back discusses her biggest challenges.
Jodie Kidd’s fascinating story has one overriding theme running throughout it; whatever she’s done in her life, she’s always been underestimated.
The pinnacle of this came when she transitioned from the world of modelling into motorsport. Whilst her fellow competitors started out by not taking her seriously, they soon learned the error of their ways as Jodie rose rapidly up the ranks.
Kidd’s love for sport is palpable. Even though she’s been involved in many different sports at many different levels, she talks about it with the ardent enthusiasm of the most die-hard fan.
If at first, you don’t succeed, try, try, try and try again.
After four consecutive Olympic silver medals, Katherine Grainger finally achieved her lifelong dream of taking home the gold at the 2012 London Olympics.
In this interview, Grainger reflects on the London Games but rather than focus on her personal triumphs, she emphasises just how influential the lasting legacy of the games was on the people of Britain and beyond.
Continuing to build on the impact of London 2012, Grainger remains Chair of UK Sport, the governing body that invests into Olympic and Paralympic sport participation across the UK, and more broadly using her platform to champion and encourage as many people across the UK to get involved in sport.
London 2012 felt like a real moment for the Paralympics, with the British stars on show garnering just as much attention as their Olympic Games colleagues and reigniting the debate about whether or not the games should run concurrently with each other.
One of Team GB’s greatest performers at the event was Ellie Simmons, who after becoming a household name by winning two golds in Beijing four years prior, cemented her status as one of the country’s favourite sport stars by winning two more gold medals in 2012.
Now retired, Simmonds focusses most of her energy working with various charities and is also on the board of the Organising Committee for the 2022 Commonwealth Games, set to be held in Birmingham.
One of the cruellest things in sport is injury, which is especially true at the Olympics. Since the event only comes around every four years, athletes usually get to compete in just two or three of them at their peak, and one injury can ruin their lifelong goal.
At the 2000 summer games in Sydney, Denise Lewis picked up an injury that threatened to destroy her dream.
Instead of letting it derail her, she fought through an Achilles injury, taking home gold at in her beloved Heptathlon event, and overnight becoming a national hero.
Denise’s love of all sport is infectious, as can be evidenced in the interview below, and this love of sport has helped her transition into a highly successful broadcasting career.
Lewis will once again be bringing viewers to the heart of the action at the forthcoming summer Olympics, due to kick off in Tokyo this July.
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