Throughout history, women have continued to show their vast influence and intelligence in a number of different areas. However, sometimes these brilliant women are lost to the depths of history, or simply do not receive the coverage they deserve in today’s 24/7 media coverage. So, we thought we’d give six influential, intelligent women their time in the spotlight today. These ladies are all intelligent and skilled at their respective sports and mind sports, and an inspiration to all who know their accomplishments.
Born in Xinghua City, Jiangsu, China Hou Yifan began playing chess early in life, which no doubt helped her achieve the titles of youngest Grandmaster in the world as well as youngest ever Women’s World Championship finalist (though Judit Polgar was close!). Yifan began competing in 2003, when she won in her category in the World Youth Championships in Greece before scoring 9/12 in the World Junior Championship coming second.
In 2010, Yifan became the youngest winner of the WWC in addition to her other impressive titles. She defended this title in 2011 by winning a best-out-of-ten contest with 5.5 to 2.5. In 2015, Yifan finally competed in her first open invitational super-tournament, the Tata Steel Chess Prize, sponsored by Tata Steel, where she scored 5/13, though she scored a more impressive 7.5/10 later that year, placing third at Tradewise Gibraltar. These days, Yifan can often be found at tournaments around the world and is currently celebrating a historic win in Biel.
For centuries, casinos were considered a place where menfolk gather together to indulge in a little fun but these days women are beginning to have some of their own. This is especially true when it comes to games of strategy and smarts such as poker and blackjack, where women including Vanessa Selbst and Eleanore Dumont are taking centre stage. In fact, Dumont was inducted into the Blackjack Hall of Fame back in 2006 after becoming the first professional blackjack player ever.
Though she was born in France, in 1854 Dumont moved to Nevada City, California and opened her own casino named “Vingt-et-Un” (“21”). There, Madame Dumont ran a classy establishment, and she even dealt the cards herself. Although blackjack is a popular game with simple rules, it requires math and strategy to master, so there is no doubt in Dumont’s intelligence in addition to her entrepreneurial spirit. Eventually, Dumont managed to open new casinos in Virginia City, Fort Benton, Montana, Salmon, Idaho and Brodie before her passing in 1879 in Brodie, California.
Sasha “Scarlett” Hostyn
Raised in Canada, Sasha “Scarlett” Hostyn is the world number one female eSports professional having reigned supreme in 122 competitive gaming tournaments around the world. Hostyn’s game of choice is Blizzard Entertaiment’s StarCraft II, which she began playing in April 2011 before participating in the NESL Iron Lady league later that same year. By March 2012, Hostyn had won the Playhem “Sponsor Me!” Tournament and the chance for an all-expenses paid trip to IPL 4, Las Vegas.
Throughout 2012, Scarlett attended the ScarCraft II World Championships Series Canada, where she reached the Grand Finals and defeated her rival Ostojiy and became Canada’s national champion achieving a 12-1 record. She then went the 2012 WCS North American Championship where she again won with a 12-1 record. In this year alone, Hostyn won $38,278.40, 20.32% of the total prize money, as we read on eSports Earnings. Already in 2017, she has competed in 20 tournaments and has won $27,101 after coming first in five of the competitions.
“These ladies are all intelligent and skilled at their respective sports and mind sports, and an inspiration to all who know their accomplishments. ”
In a world where there are so many different sports to keep up with, it’s no surprise that downhill mountain bike champions often go as unknown as our friends the Biking Queens. Still, when it comes to Rachel Atherton, she certainly deserves a little more attention than she is receiving. Born in Salisbury, UK in December 1987, Atherton has been given the title of The Times’ Young Sportswoman of the Year (2005) and continues to impress fans with her downhill MTB skills.
In 2016, Atherton managed to keep her World Champion title before achieving 15 consecutive wins in races around the world. This is borderline impossible in the world of downhill MTB and is known as a perfect season. Earlier this year, Atherton won the BT Sport Action Woman of the year and is currently preparing to break the record for UCI Downhill World Cup Wins.
Roberta “Bobbi” Gibb
While a number of people have heard of Kathrine Switzer, who battled irritated men as she became the first woman to run in the Boston Marathon, fewer people have heard of Roberta “Bobbi” Gibb. You see, Gibb was actually the first woman to run the Boston Marathon, and did so despite being rejected by the 1966 Boston Athletic Association.
The BAA had denied Gibb access to the Marathon as women were “not physiologically able” enough to run such long distances. Of course, Gibb wasn’t having any of that and competed alongside male racers finishing in 3 hours and 21 minutes. After running faster than most of the male competition, Gibb was renowned by fellow women and went on to celebrate her race’s 50th anniversary in 2016.
Finally, we have Ibtihaj Muhammad: the first American Olympian to compete while wearing a hijab. At least, that is what she is known for amongst Olympics fans though she is also an incredible sabre fencer. Born in Maplewood, New Jersey in December 1985, Muhammad won her first qualifying rounds during the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics before scoring a bronze medal in Team USA for Team Sabre. This made her the first female Muslim-American to win any medals at the Olympics.
Muhammad joined her first fencing team at the age of 2013 while studying at Columbia High School, which is where she was also switched from an epee to a sabre. Later in 2002, she joined the Peter Westbrook Foundation, which helped her develop her skills both as a fencer and young person, and eventually helped her gain a spot at the Elite Athlete Program in New York City. She joined the United States National Fencing Team in 2010 and is currently ranked second in the US, and eighth in the world.
From chess to running and fencing, these women took to their talents with passion and resolve. Looking at what they achieved, especially women like Bobbi Gibb, who set out to do what no woman had done before, gives us inspiration and sets the tone for our future achievements. Well done, ladies!
Source Description: GIRL TALK HQ (Global Headquarters of Female Empowerment News Media)