Sports remain a general bastion for men, both on the field and in the headlines. Here we take a moment to honour some women who truly kicked ass in their sport in 2014.
Lindsey Vonn – Downhill skiing
With a litany of titles to her name, Vonn is easily the successful American ski racer in history, but that’s not why she’s here on this list. She’s here because of her drive and will to fight back from a knee injury that would sideline most of us mere mortals. Oh, and she’s about to tie (and probably break) the world record for most World Cup wins ever.
Eugenie Bouchard – Tennis
This tennis phenom had a banner year winning her first Grand-Slam title and was the first Canadian to ever reach the finals of a Grand Slam in singles. She was also named the WTA’s most improved player of the year plus has pretty much the best selfies of any athlete thisyear.
Amy Hughes -Marathon runner
In September, 26 year-old Amy Hughes st a new world record for most number of consecutive marathons after running 53 marathons in 53 days. Hughes successfully completed the marathons, but is still raising money for her charity, The Isabelle Lottie Foundation, which aims to support children and their families following the diagnosis of a brain tumour.
Floria Guei -Track & field runner
Floria Guei set a new European Record this year when she came back from fourth place to win the 4 x 400 relay at the European Championships. Even the French announcers wrote off the French team. Here she shows the race isn’t won or lost until it’s over!
Kaillie Humphries – Boblseigh
Kaillie Humphries and her race partner Heather Moyse became the first female bobsledders to successfully defend their Olympic gold medal. After the Olympics, Humphries decided to push herself further. She is now the pilot of the MEN’S four-man bobsled team and named Canada’s athlete of the year for 2014.
Women’s World Cup soccer players
Next year’s Women’s World Cup is slated to be played on artificial turf, something the kick-ass kickers who will be taking the pitch are trying to fix. Dubbed the Turf Wars, the women are making the case that men would never be told to play on fake grass at such a prestigious event as the World Cup. Their case is now before the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario and while it is unlikely they’ll get to play on grass this summer, we salute these women for speaking up and not backing down from the fight.
Simone Biles -Gymnastics
Simone Biles won the gymnastics World Championships and did it with style, power and an electric smile. Many criticize American gymnasts for their more powerful, less balletic style of gymnastics (like the Russians and Romanians are known for). To them I say, hater gonna hate. Biles’ sky-high tumbling, energetic dance and amazing endurance proved that she is what the future of gymnastics looks like.
Mo’ne Davis -Baseball
This year, Mo’ne Davis single-handedly redfined what it means to throw like a girl. One of only 18 girls to ever play in the Little League World Series and the first girl to earn a win and pitch a shutout in tournament history.
Alla Tsuper -Aerial skiing
After a 16-year wait, Alla Tsuper finally won a medal at the Olympics this year in Sochi. The Belarussian aerial skier first competed at the 1998 Games in Nagano, Japan but until this year had missed the podium. Tsuper made her moment golden by clinching first place in the final run.
Brittney Griner -Basketball
Brittney Griner led the Phoenix Mercury to the top of the WNBA in 2014. At 6’8, she is one of the only women in the WNBA who can slam-dunk the ball. She’s got the fight and the skills to show women can play ball just like the guys.
The Dufour-Lapointe sisters
Maxime, Chloé and Justine Dufour-Lapointe grew up competing against each other on ski slopes across Quebec. This year, the three sisters showed the world what it meant to be sisters and competitors at the Olympics. Their bright spirits, strong family bond and joy at each other’s success were as charming as their skiing was impressive.
Becky Hammon -Assistant coach, San Antonio Spurs
This year, Becky Hammon became the first woman to be hired as a full-time assistant coach of the four professional sports leagues in North America when she joined the San Antonio Spurs’ coaching staff.
Women’s Olympic ski jumpers
For the first time ever, women took to the ski jumping slopes at the Sochi Olympics. After a years-long legal battle, the women showed the world what they knew all along: ski jumping is badass, and not just for the boys.
Afghan women’s cycling team
This year, the women’s national cycling team from Afghanistan made headlines around the world thanks to a viral video put out by cycling brand Liv. Thanks to continued efforts by cycling activist Shannon Galpin, we learned about this amazing team of driven young women from Afghanistan devoted to showing women can and should be allowed to ride bikes.