Follow these five superwomen as they compete in the 2016 Olympics.
The 2016 Rio de Janeiro Summer Olympics are underway, signaling the advent of countless conversations (with friends and strangers alike) that turn to the biggest sports competition to ever exist. The first Olympics — dedicated to Olympian gods — dates back to 776 BC in Olympia in Southern Greece, and it wasn’t until the 1900 Olympics in Paris that women were allowed to participate! Out of the nearly 1,000 participating athletes, only 22 of them were women (a whopping 3%!). Now, women make up over 45% of the athletes and can compete in nearly all of the sports categories. (Since 1991, any new sport added to the Olympics must be open to both men and women.)
On another uplifting note: 207 teams are competing this year: 206 nations and 1 refugee team, called the Refugee Olympic Team, competing under the Olympic flag. There are ten total members on the ROT, hailing from South Sudan, Syria, DR Congo and Ethiopia. “These refugee athletes have no home, no team, no flag, no national anthem,” said International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach. “It can send a symbol of hope for all refugees in the world and can send a signal to the international community that refugees are our fellow human beings and are an enrichment to society.”
So why not get into the Olympic spirit, right?! Watch the competitions, feel the camaraderie and experience the unified hope we all share through the Games. And if you are looking for more access, check out our favorite Olympic athlete Instagram accounts below!
Simone Biles @simonebiles – Gymnastics. This 19-year-old, 3-time defending world champion and top ranked gymnast in the world is expected to clean up at the games this year. She already owns 10 world championship gold medals, the most of any Olympian, and a killer mega-watt smile to boot. (Tune in August 11 for the women’s gymnastic finals — a guaranteed Simone show.)
Kerri Walsh Jennings @kerrileewalsh – Beach Volleyball. Kerri is on a mission to bring home her fourth (!) straight gold medal. You would never know she is the world’s most famous volleyball player, as her Instagram is flowing with family photos, words of encouragement, and an undeniably grateful and positive attitude.
Katie Ledecky @kledecky – Swimming. Ledecky is the reigning world champ in 4 races and the 2012 London Olympics’ gold medal winner of the 800m, of which she is the world record holder. (Danggg Katie!) Expect to see Ledecky take home more medals this year!
Serena Williams @serenawilliams – Tennis. Of course we need to put our girl Serena on this list! A true bada** lady, Serena is participating in her 4th Olympics and looking to win her 4th and 5th gold medal in the singles and doubles competitions. Need some workout motivation? Peruse Miss Williams’ Instagram. Instant inspiration.
Lilly King @_king_lil – Swimming. This newly crowned gold medal swimmer (since yesterday!) is making a name for herself, not only in the pool but as a strong opponent of steroid use in the Olympic games.
+Are you watching the Olympics? What do you love most about them?
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