Female athletes who will change society

LISTICLE | 03/02/2023
Uschi Horner

These 45 female athletes inspire us: they fight for the climate, for the rights of female athletes, for gender equality and show with their daring adventures that they are in no way inferior to men. From B for gymnast Simones Biles to Y for swimmer Fu Yuanhui.

Here comes Part 2 of 3 on female athletes who are changing the world.


Anne Haug, triathlete, 40 years old

Even at 40, Germany's best triathlete isn't thinking about quitting - "I don't think age is a limit," she told Stern. In 2019, she won the Ironman in Hawaii, and in 2022 she finished third. However, she is not only a role model for women of all ages in terms of sports, but after a Corona infection she got diabetes, after a change in diet she is fit again and thus gives courage to other sufferers.


Margo Hayes, sport climber, 25 years old

At just 20 years old, Margo Hayes set out to close the gender gap in climbing. In 2017, she became the first woman to climb a 9a+ route that only about 60 men in the world have climbed. And after this female first ascent of Spain's La Rambla, she followed right up with the French biography. As a high fashion model, she also brings together sports and fashion.


Sarah Hunter, rugby player, 37 years old

The Englishwoman has had a long history of suffering: for five months, doctors found no reason for the nerve pain in her neck. It took 13 months before she was able to return to the professional league. Giving up was not an option for her, and at the 2021 Women's Rugby World Cup Hunter triumphed: in her 138th international match, she overtook Rochelle Clark as England's rugby player with the most appearances of all time.


Ana Ivanovic, tennis player, 35 years old

In 2007, during her active career, UNICEF appointed the Serbian-born ambassador. Today, Bastian Schweinsteiger's wife is still working in this capacity for the interests of children. The former world number one is also an ambassador for the British Quercus Foundation, which works to improve the living conditions of children and young people.


Billie Jean King, tennis player, 79 years old

In the 1960s, the US-American fought for financial equality for women in professional sports, and in 1981 she came out as homosexual. Together with other tennis players, she founded the WTA (Women's Tennis Association) in 1973, which still exists today. And recently she promoted women's flag football at the Super Bowl.


Pasang Lhamu Sherpa Akita, climber

No mountain is too high for her. Pasang has already climbed K2 and Mount Everest, following in the footsteps of her namesake Pasang Ljamu Sherpa, the first Nepalese woman to climb Everest. Both women shone with their social commitment and their love for mountain sports in. For her efforts for Nepal, Pasang Lhamu Sherpa Aktik was named Adventurer of the Year by National Geographic in 2016.


Amazin LeThi, bodybuilder

The Vietnamese experienced sexual discrimination early on and wants to inspire others with her story. She is currently the first and only Asian LGBTQ athlete to simultaneously hold multiple roles as a sports ambassador in the world. She advises governments, Fortune 500 companies, sports and international organizations around the world (including the United Nations).


Tegla Loroupe, marathon runner, 43 years old

The daily run to school laid the foundation for this extraordinary talent from Kenya. Tegla Loroupe is a member of the "Champions for Peace" club, a group of famous top athletes who use sport to promote peace in the world. In addition to running a school, she is an ambassador for the Special Oympics and Unicef, has her own foundation, and is involved in many other social projects, including refugee aid. In 2020, she was awarded the ISPO Cup for her commitment.


Manuela Mandl, snowboarder, 34 years old

The city kid from Vienna is Austria's first snowboard freeride world champion - and loves nature. That's why she is not only a POW ambassador (Protect Our Winters) and is currently promoting a climate protection law in Austria, but is also making her own contribution to climate protection: The snowboarder traveled to every competition of the Freeride World Tour by public transport.


Yusra Mardini, swimmer, 24 years old

On her flight to Germany in 2015, she saved the lives of almost 20 people. As part of the Refugee Team, the Syrian then took part in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo. A film about her life appeared on Netflix in late 2022. But Yusra Mardini is not just a professional swimmer; as a UN Special Ambassador, she is an encourager for millions of refugees around the world.


Sarah McNair-Landry, adventurer, 33 years old

Sarah McNair-Landry is the youngest person to reach both poles under her own power, and she is the first woman in the world to call herself a Master Polar Guide. Born on Baffin Island, an island in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, she grew up with many sled dogs as the daughter of two Polar Guides. In 2018, the Canadian repeated with her life partner Erik Boomer an epic journey that her parents had undertaken decades earlier - circumnavigating Baffin Island by dog sled.


Martina Navratilova, tennis player, age 66

She is one of the best players of all time. She was a fighter on the tennis court, and in real life as well. Her outing more than 40 years ago (in 1981 - just like Billie Jean King) caused a furor, and she continues to fight for LGBTQ rights with determination and commitment. Recently, her renewed cancer became known.


Nouria Newman, kayaker, 31 years old

The Frenchwoman is a unique athlete: dedicated, very modest and always ready to take on the craziest challenges. For example, she is the first female kayaker to plunge down a 30-meter waterfall - that was in early 2021, when she crossed the Don Wilo waterfall, breaking the world record for women. Her social commitment is, of course, related to her passion: she teaches children in Morocco, Argentina and Iran how to kayak.


Bonita Norris, mountaineer, 35 years old

"How I found my way back to myself on the highest mountain in the world" is the title of Miss Everest's book. In it, she writes not only about her way out of the comfort zone, but also about her time as a teenager, when she suffered from bulimia. And she's similarly open about sharing her daughter's home birth with her followers: "Breath is the magic ingredient when it comes to struggling through the unknown." She was the youngest British woman to stand on the world's highest peak at the age of 22 and still holds that record.


Naomi Osaka, tennis player, 25 years old

Naomi Osaka is the rising star in tennis heaven: The Japanese player is regarded as an exceptional talent (the first Asian woman to reach No. 1 in the world rankings) and is a style icon with millions in advertising revenue per year. At the same time, she takes a political stand against racism and police violence, and openly admits to depression. All this makes her a role model and figurehead for her generation.

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Uschi Horner
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