Table of contents:
- Marathon: Stamata Reviti
- Figure skating: Medge Sayers
- Athletics: Valentina Zhuravleva
- Tennis: Charlotte Cooper
Nowadays, the names of athletes are called training centers, their images can be found on stamps, postcards, wall panels, some of them, thanks to their fame in sports, managed to make a political career, and some, like Maria Sharapova, are generally called the real era in sports. But it was not always so. Record-breaking sports have long been considered unacceptable for women, and the very first of those who managed to break prejudices are forever inscribed in history.
Marathon: Stamata RevitiWhen, in the summer of 1896, the first Olympic Games were held, a thirty-year-old Greek woman, Stamata Reviti, came to the committee with a request to be admitted to the marathon. She was not allowed into the official race, where only men participated, but she ran the same distance in splendid isolation the next day, spending about five and a half hours on it. Despite the fact that, contrary to the assurances of the members of the committee, she safely reached the finish line, and there were witnesses, she was not allowed into the stadium - along with the male marathon runners, to receive a standing ovation from the audience.
The committee did not believe that Reviti would be able to withstand the entire distance, not only because she was a woman: the runner looked very haggard. It was at that time that she, being a widow, raised her one and a half year old son and lived in extreme poverty. Perhaps the desire to become famous and to make a little money on this was among her motives. But the gender was the reason why she was never officially registered as a participant in the games - the ban on admitting women at that time was spelled out in the rules, in imitation of the ancient Greeks. Perhaps thanks to Reviti, this ban was lifted by the second Olympic Games.
Figure skating: Medge SayersBut the International Skating Union forgot to indicate the restrictions on the sex of participants in figure skating competitions, and in 1902 the Madge Sayers took advantage of this loophole. She registered for the World Championships and ended up finishing second. She had to compete in not the most comfortable clothes - ankle-length skirt.
The skating union did not raise a scandal about a woman among the winners of the championship, but introduced gender restrictions in the specified rules. Citing the reason that the judges do not see the movement of the legs behind the skirt. Then Sayers - in the zero years of the twentieth century! - began to go out on the ice in a skirt just below the knee.
Since the world championship was now closed for Madge, she took part in two British championships - in 1903 and 1904. The rules of the championship did not consider the question of the gender of the athletes. Both times, Madge became a champion. By the way, her husband and coach Edgar Sayers also performed there.
Probably, Marge's victories and a huge number of her imitators influenced the fact that in 1906 the International Skating Union nevertheless established the women's singles at the World Championships. And in 1908, figure skating was included in the Olympic sports, and Medge became an Olympic champion.
Athletics: Valentina ZhuravlevaFor the first time, women were allowed to compete in sprinting at the Athletics Championships in Moscow, in 1922.The USSR declared the fundamental equality of women and men in the opportunities provided by the state, including the opportunity to go in for sports. This was already the second championship, and the first, in 1920, turned into an embarrassment precisely on the basis of the sexual principle: what is it, the progressive community asked, we now have women commissars and policemen, but how to get medals - so only men?
At the new competitions, where there were both men's and women's categories, the young athlete Valentina Zhuravleva got four first places at once: at the shortest distances in running, in long jump and in shot put. She came to the competition from Yekaterinburg on behalf of the Komsomol.
And six years later, women were admitted to the track and field competitions and the Olympic Games in Amsterdam. True, not in all types: there were a hundred meters running (champion - American Betty Robinson), eight hundred meters (German Caroline Radke), relay (Canadian team won), high jumping (Canadian Ethel Catherwood) and discus throw (polka Halina Konopatska).
Tennis: Charlotte CooperAt the second Olympic Games, in 1900, in Paris, women were already admitted, but they were represented in very few disciplines. One of them was tennis. Moreover, unlike in subsequent years, not only women with women and men with men competed at these games, but also mixed teams with each other. Charlotte Cooper from Britain became the Olympic tennis champion (and generally the first Olympic champion in the world). She, along with Reginald Docherty, won the mixed category.
Even before the Olympic Games, Charlotte Cooper won the Wimbledon tournament five times and reached the final six times in it. Despite the fact that the general public immediately enrolled her in the aristocracy, Cooper was the daughter of a miller and a housewife - just very good at publicity. I must also add that at that time, tennis players had to compete in corsets, and even sports corsets seriously limited movement and the ability to breathe.
Lovers of power sports also had to wear corsets. What the first ladies bodybuilders looked like: Photos of Wonder Women of the Last Century.
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