To mark tomorrow’s International Women’s Day, and celebrate the women who inspired a nation, Team GB reflect on Rio 2016 and its greatest Olympic Games for women’s sport while asking fans to talk about the women who inspire them, using #SheInspiresMe.
As the world looked towards Rio last summer, Team GB prepared to take its highest ever contingent of female athletes to an away Games, with 162 women selected as part of the 366-strong team*.
As the Games progressed, these athletes competed in 21 of the 23 sports in which Team GB had qualified places and returned from Brazil having contributed to 26 of the total 67 medals**.
Each of these medals marked an incredible achievement with a few breaking records. Laura Kenny became the first British female to win three and then four Olympic gold medals after defending her titles in the team pursuit and omnium, while Charlotte Dujardin won her third gold medal after triumphing in the individual dressage event on board Valegro.
Also contributing to the medal tally was Team GB’s women’s hockey team, who went unbeaten at the Games, winning each of their eight matches in Rio. They won their first ever gold in a memorable final, while there were also first-time medals in triathlon, trampolining, women’s eight rowing and gymnastics floor, where 16-year-old Amy Tinkler won bronze as the youngest member of Team GB. In total 59 British women stepped onto the podium at Rio 2016.
As a result of these successes, 25 female Olympians were recognised in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List, including a damehood for Katherine Grainger – the first female Olympian to win five medals at five Games – for services to rowing and charity; and a damehood for Jessica Ennis-Hill for services to athletics.
Annamarie Phelps, Vice-Chair of the British Olympic Association said: “Women’s sport is in a great place in the United Kingdom and it’s fantastic to see Team GB and our female Olympians as leading role-models in the sporting world.
“The incredible performances of all of our Team GB athletes at Rio 2016 gripped a nation and to see our female competitors enjoy their most successful Games should be a source of great pride to the country and to our Olympic sporting family.
“With under a year to go to PyeongChang 2018, the nation can no doubt look forward to more inspiring performances from our athletes in South Korea next year.”
Team GB will be celebrating women across the country on the 8th March using #SheInspiresMe on social media and are encouraging fans to do the same by posting a picture or comment dedicated to those who inspire them.