The Olympic Games in Rio were hugely successful for Great Britain. In total, our athletes walked away with 27 Gold, 23 Silver and 17 Bronze medals, coming second in the medal tables only to the USA.
The GB women impressed us no end with their strength and power on many occasions. And so did women from some of the other nations.
We don’t want to come over all glitter, platform trainers and ‘ziggazehahh’, but we couldn’t help but be inspired by some of the kick ass women gracing our TV screens and [FOR ONCE] newspaper headlines. Though we certainly felt some reporting left room for improvement [rhymes with: Daily Fail].
We’ve compiled a list of just a few of the stand out moments. They’re a mixture of sugar and spice – some are related to absolutely obliterating the competition, and others are more about what the athletes said and did outside of the ring…
Mara Abbott’s incredible breakaway
No, it wasn’t successful – but Mara Abbott, a rider who has had a long and fruitful career already (winning the Giro twice!), really put herself on the map in Rio. Yes, the American athlete has competed at a similarly impressive level before, but the simple fact is that the Olympics just draws more eyes, and for a significant portion of that race all eyes were upon Abbott.
Writing about the race in her own beautiful words for the Wall Street Journal last week, it’s clear that Abbott was and is bitterly disappointed with her fourth place. We can only hope that in time, Abbott will come to smile on the day when she really did create a “performance that was truly [her] best”. She certainly captured our hearts in the process.
The road race was eventually won by Dutch rider, Anna van der Breggen, as she sprinted from a group of three who swept past Abbott after playing the tactical game of cat and mouse to perfection. We’ve got to add that our absolute worst moment of the Games had to be seeing Annemiek van Vleuten’s crash – though we’re pleased to hear she’s now on the mend.
Kristin Armstrong showing that age is no barrier
It seems like early on in the Games, we were most inspired by the American riders… Kristin Armstrong’s performance was as successful as it was inspiring, as she took her third consecutive Olympic Time Trial Gold Medal.
The ex-triathlete who turned to cycling full time after being diagnosed with osteoporosis aged 27 won her third Gold medal the day before her birthday, aged 42 going on 43. She was greeted at the finish line by her 5 going on 6-year-old son, inspiring generations of women who might have previously written themselves off as too old for competition.
We loved seeing all the inspired comments across social media – particularly from Dame Sarah Storey who pointed out: “Average age of top 10 in the women’s TT today? Almost 32 years old. Says a lot about “development”. Don’t ditch riders with potential at 25!” as well as the response from reader Sarah Croucher who said: “A massive inspiration! Made me go faster on my TT tonight!”