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The Wednesday Five: Champion Women

This week, as we continue to celebrate the global trailblazing women making and breaking records at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, we’ve curated five groundbreaking TED Talks by women in sports, or as we like to call them, Champion Women. Their shared grit and determination as long-distance swimmers, tennis icons, paralympic record breakers, marathon builders for peace, and pro snowboarders, are sure to motivate and inspire.



Diana Nyad: Long-Distance Swimmer

For ten years (1969-1979), Diana Nyad was known as the greatest long-distance swimmer in the world.  At age 60, having not swum a stroke in decades, she began planning for her white whale of distance swims: the 110-mile ocean crossing between Cuba and Florida. She’d tried it once, in her 20s, and severe jellyfish attacks had defeated her then. But now, with a strong team and a new commitment to her vision, she stepped back into the salt. At TEDWomen 2013, she talked about how it felt to have finally done it.

RELATED: Diana Nyad: A Force of Nature



Billie Jean King: Tennis Icon

Tennis legend Billie Jean King isn’t just a pioneer of women’s tennis — she’s a pioneer for women getting paid. In this freewheeling conversation, she talks about identity, the role of sports in social justice and the famous Battle of the Sexes match against Bobby Riggs.



Aimee Mullins: Paralympic Games Record-Breaker

A record-breaker at the Paralympic Games in 1996, Aimee Mullins has built a career as an advocate for women, sports and the next generation of prosthetics. Mullins talks about her prosthetic legs — she’s got a dozen amazing pairs — and the superpowers they grant her: speed, beauty, an extra 6 inches of height. Quite simply, she redefines what the body can be.

RELATED: At 52, Equestrian Beezie Madden Is Competing in Her 4th Olympics (In the News).

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  • andrea August 11, 2016 at 10:04 am

    Any one of these women are worthy of our WVFC award. Truly inspiring!

  • Sherry Donovan August 10, 2016 at 11:53 am

    Thank you. All powerfully inspirational stories.