Learn from Smart Women

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This summer, athletes from all over the world traveled to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to compete in the 2016 summer Olympics.  Many American women represented their country in their respective sports sharing a unifying commonality of intense drive to bring honor and pride to their country.


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One sport particularly popular during the summer Olympics is gymnastics.  With the great grace, power, and poise required, gymnasts execute everything from intense floor routines to precarious balance beam routines.  The sport keeps Americans on their toes.  This year, five women traveled to Brazil to compete in gymnastics during the Olympics: Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas, Aly Raisman, Laurie Hernandez, and Madison Kocian.  These women were ready to win their events: Raisman a three-time Olympic medalist, Biles hadn't not a single-all around competition over the past three years, and Hernandez had wrapped up an undefeated 2015 season.  Although these five Olympic gymnasts competed for the same country and same sport, their backgrounds and sports stories are quite different.  According to the USA Gymnastics Official website, Simone Biles began gymnastics after a coach saw her imitating other gymnasts and 'sent home a letter requesting that [she] join tumbling or gymnastics.’  Ally Raisman, on the other hand, began the sport at two years old when her mother enrolled her in a mommy and me class.  Regardless of their background, all of these gymnasts made America proud.

The female swimmers on this summer’s Olympic team, Katie Ledecky, Missy Franklin, Madeline Dirado, Simone Manuel, and Leah Smith, were also forces to be reckoned with.  Katie Ledecky, a Stanford University student specializing in long-distance swimming, won the gold medal in the 800-meter freestyle event at the 2012 Olympics, and was only 15 at the time!  Missy Franklin, a student at the University of California Berkeley, took home gold medals in five events, and bronze medals in three.  Leah Smith is a first-time Olympic competitor, but proved her incredible swimming ability through a first place finish at the 2015 World Championship in the 800-meter freestyle relay.  These swimmers were able to defend their titles, and bring home the gold for their country.


American women represented their country sharing a unifying commonality of intense drive to bring honor and pride to their country.


Some other stand-out athletes in this summer’s Olympics include sibling tennis stars Serena and Venus Williams.  Serena recently tied Steffi Graff for the all-time Open Era record. They each had 22 Grand Slam titles.  According to the USA’s Official Tennis Website, in 2015, she completed her ‘second career ‘Serena Slam’... by winning the US Open (2014), Australian Open (2015), French Open (2015) and Wimbledon (2015) consecutively.’  Serena is also a three-time Olympic competitor who has won four gold medals.  Her sister, Venus, has gone to the Olympics four times and is a four-time gold medalist in the summer Olympics.  Together, Serena and Venus are ‘the winningest doubles tennis team in Olympic history.’   

Needless to say, this summer’s Olympics was an an exciting time filled with talented female athletes.


Caroline Taheri is an incoming sophomore at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She hopes to study medicine and is particularly interested in psychology, biology, and policy. In her free time she enjoys spending time with friends, watching Netflix, and scrolling through Pinterest.


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