The world celebrates International Women’s Day on Monday as we honor the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women around the world.
And, at talkSPORT, we take a look at these brilliant and pioneering women who have marked the world of sport – and inspired some of our own presenters.
From two lionesses to a tennis icon to a 2012 Olympic hero, we asked some of our best to name the sportswomen who have inspired their own lives.
Ade Oladipo – Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce
Sunday Session host Ade Oladipo named two-time Olympic gold medalist Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce as inspiration.
The 34-year-old Jamaican sprinter, who won gold in the 100m in 2008 and 2012, also won gold at the world championships in the 100m, 4x100m relay and 200m.
And although she became a mother in 2017, Fraser-Pryce has returned to the track to win more gold medals – and she has the Tokyo Olympics on her mind as well.
“The woman who inspired me the most growing up was the ‘pocket rocket’ Jamaican sprinter Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce,” said Oladipo.
“Everyone thinks of Usain Bolt when they think of Jamaican athletics, but she was one of the greatest, otherwise the the greatest sprinters we’ve ever seen. Nine gold medals at the World Championships, two Olympic gold medals in Beijing and London…
“She had a baby in 2017 and came back and won medals in 2018 and 2019! And no one will stop him from winning another medal at the Tokyo Olympics.
“She is arguably the greatest female sprinter of all time.”
Jim White – Serena Williams
Jim White, host of the mid-morning show White and Jordan, has chosen tennis icon Serena Williams as the sportswoman who inspires her.
Jim praised the 23-time Grand Slam winner as an ‘outstanding competitor of all time’ with the 39-year-old still one of the best tennis players around.
“Serena Williams is a world star, an icon,” Jim began. “She’s the all-time star competitor.
“She has been a phenomenal competitor for such a long time, but also a wonderful ambassador for her sport.
“Every time I see her on the pitch, I am amazed.
“To this day, she makes me sit down and think how she can still play at this level?” But she does and she is now just a distance away from matching Margaret Court’s all-time record for Grand Slam wins.
Adrian Durham – Fran Kirby and Eniola Aluko
Drivetime and GameDay Live host Durham chose two Lionesses – one current and one former – as inspiration.
Eni Aluko retired last January and currently works for Aston Villa, having made over 100 appearances for England, while Chelsea star Fran Kirby has won 45 international caps and also numerous club honors with the Blues.
But, for Kirby in particular, it’s his off-court successes that inspires Durham as much as his on-court genius.
“Two footballers in particular – both Lionesses – really inspired me,” said Durham.
“From an early age, Fran Kirby knew she was going to be a footballer. His mother, Denise, spotted him very young. A doctor threw a ball at her and instead of catching it, she started kicking the ball. Her mother even predicted she would play at a World Cup and she got it right.
“Fran’s mother died suddenly from a brain hemorrhage at the age of 14 and it severely affected Fran. She had been in reading academy for a long time by then, but fell in love with football. She fell into a deep depression and couldn’t get out of bed.
“It was only thanks to the locals who brought her back to football. She fell in love with the game and her career just got better and better. What she’s doing with Chelsea and the Lionesses is absolutely stunning.
“She’s comfortable talking about her mental health and well-being, and it’s an inspiration to so many people. But she is also a very good football player. She’s great to watch.
“I love that she’s a fantastic player, a number ten, with a big touch and a big vision. She can execute the pass as well as see it and scores her fair share of goals as well.
“I had the chance to work with Eni Aluko – what a pleasure to be with. What a woman, what an inspiration.
“His football credentials are never in doubt. She has represented England with dignity and class so many times, but she has done so in different countries as well.
“You can’t quantify how much she has come through in her career and life and the way she handled it all, with class and dignity, is impressive.
Laura Woods – Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill
2012 Olympic heroine Jessica Ennis-Hill is the inspiration for talkSPORT breakfast host Laura Woods, who remembers “Super Saturday” like it was yesterday.
Dame Jessica, Greg Rutherford and Mo Farah all won Olympic gold on August 4, and the Sheffield native has also won gold at the World Championships, European Championships and World Indoor Championships.
“Growing up, the 2012 Olympics was one of the highlights of sport in general,” said Woods.
“I remember ‘Super Saturday’ so well. Jessica Ennis-Hill was the face of the Olympics. She had been building this moment her whole life and seeing her go through every test of heptathlon, do what she needed to do and take it all in her stride, and just seemed to do it so easily … it was just the class and calm with which she did everything.
“I remember seeing her step onto the podium and it was one of the most iconic moments that will always stay in my memory. The way she accepted her award, looked around the crowd and there was a slight moment where she broke a bit.
“She’s just this incredibly talented athlete and what she’s continued to do ever since – not just in athletics for women in sport – and what she stands for and the fact that she’s also a mom, too,” I just think she does. with a class element.
“She is naughty. She inspires me and I think she is amazing.
Faye Carruthers – Dame Kelly Holmes
Women’s Football Weekly host Faye Carruthers also chose an Olympic heroine as inspiration, recalling the days when she won two gold medals at the 2004 Olympics.
Two-time Commonwealth Games champion in the 1500m, Dame Kelly put in a remarkable performance in Athens to win first gold in the 800m and then gold in the 1500m – becoming the first British double gold medalist at the same games since. 1920.
“I have this vivid memory of standing in my living room with all my family watching the Olympics,” Carruthers began. “We watched the now Dame Kelly Holmes win her second gold medal in Athens in 2004.
“It was just the most amazing moment; we were all screaming loudly, all the commentators were too back then.
“She was just phenomenal!
“I remember my mom telling me that she was also in the military, and I found it so inspiring. A woman in the military and she gets double gold at the Olympics. It is simply amazing.
“I had the chance to meet her. I know they say ‘never meet your heroes’ but when I met her she was just amazing, humble and lovable.
“She was a delight. A real model. “