18 October 2019

Simone Biles and nine other women who have dominated their sport

Gymnast Simone Biles has an amazing haul of 25 World Championship medals and currently dominates her sport.

The American has 19 world gold medals in her trophy cabinet and continues to wow spectators with extraordinary moves that are now named after her. 

So, which other women have similarly dominated their sport over the years. Here's NewsChain's guide....

Billie Jean King

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Billie Jean King is an iconic figure in the world of tennis. She is a former world number one with 39 Grand Slam titles to her name. King won 129 singles titles in her career, 97 of them in the period between 1966 and the end of her career in 1975.

She also drove social change within the sport. King was among the trailblazers for women to turn professional, accepting $1 contracts to begin the path for equal pay. It is in no small way down to her early campaigning that at the most recent US Open the male and female winners received the same amount of prize money.

Anna Mears

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Australian cycling legend Anna Mears' career was inspirational. She won two Olympic golds, 11 World Championship and five Commonwealth medals. 

A shocking crash at the World Cup in 2008 saw her break her neck. Amazingly, she was back on the bike 10 days later to qualify for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Although Mears was beaten by Victoria Pendleton in the sprinting final at the games, Mears won a silver medal just months after intensive rehabilitation. 

As well as her sporting achievements, Mears is also a vocal speaker about body positivity.

Dame Kelly Holmes

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Dame Kelly Holmes was the golden GB girl of the 2004 Athens Olympics where she won gold medals in the 800m and 1500m.

As well as Olympic success, she has two Commonwealth gold medals and silver and bronze World Championship medals.

In 2010, Holmes was added to the England Athletics Hall of Fame.

Nadia Comăneci

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Comăneci was the first gymnast ever to score a perfect 10 at an Olympic Games when she was just 14. She achieved the accolade at the 1976 Montreal Games where she then went on to score a further five perfect scores. The gymnast won three gold medals at that tournament.

Comăneci also won two more gold medals at the 1980 games taking her tally to five Olympic titles. She also won nine European golds, two World Cup golds and five Summer Universiade golds 

In 2004, Comăneci was awarded with The Olympic Order - the highest accolade given to athletes who have made a significant contribution to the games.

Serena Williams

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Serena Williams is rightly labelled tennis royalty. Alongside her 23 Grand Slam singles, 14 Grand Slam doubles and four Grand Slam mixed double titles - Williams has also equalled Steffi Graf's record of 186 consecutive weeks as world number one.

The tennis star also has four Olympic gold medals. Her prize money made Williams the highest paid female athlete in 2016 and she won the Australian Open in 2017 while eight weeks' pregnant. 

Williams is also an icon off of the court. Her Instagram account has 11.7 million followers, she speaks out on social issues and her famous and royal - famously Meghan - friends have her popping up at every major event across the Hollywood calendar.

Elysse Perry

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Perry is not only the youngest person to represent Australia in cricket but also in football where she made her debut for both sports at just 16. While Perry has pursued her cricket career, in her teenage years she scored three international goals for Australia.

Perry became the first Australian cricketer, male or female, to take 100 wickets in international Twenty20 matches. 

She continues to impress on the cricket field being a persistent nuisance for England in the recent Ashes series.

Megan Rapinoe

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Megan Rapinoe made a worldwide household name for herself at this summer's World Cup. The winger picked up the golden boot on the way to lifting the trophy.

The 34-year-old has scored 50 goals for the USA in 160 appearances. She has also bagged 37 in 75 matches for her club Reign FC. Rapinoe was also named FIFA's Women's Player of the Year in September.

Outside of football, Rapinoe is a key voice in speaking about LGBTQ+ rights and equal pay.

Paula Radcliffe 

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Radcliffe is arguably Britain's greatest long-distance runner. She is a three-time winner of the London, New York and Chicago marathons. She held the record for the fastest marathon for 16 years before Brigid Kosgei broke her record in Chicago last weekend.

In 2010, she was inducted into the England Athletics Hall of Fame. 

Radcliffe has also won a World Championship gold, three World Cross Country Championship golds, three World Half Marathon golds, a European gold, three European Cross Country golds, three European Cup golds and a Commonwealth gold.

Reanne Evans

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Evans has won the World Snooker Championship a record 12 times. She won 10 of her titles back-to-back between 2005 and 2014. Unsurprisingly, Evans is ranked world number one.

The snooker star won 61 consecutive matches and then took on John Higgins in 2009 when he was the reigning male world champion. She beat Higgins 4-3 and was awarded a wild card which allowed her to enter all ranking events at the qualifying stage. 

Evans became the first woman playing on the main snooker tour since Allison Fisher in the 90's.

Michelle Wie

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Wie was just 10 when she became the youngest person to qualify for the United States Gold Amateur championship. She also became the youngest golfer to win the Women's Amateur Public Links and the youngest person to qualify for a LGPA Tour event.

Wie turned professional when she was 16 and was snapped up by sponsors. By the time she was 18 she was fourth on Forbes Top 20 under 25 list with an estimated $15.4 million fortune.

Wie won her first professional tour in 2014, since then she has won four more titles.

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