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Talk with the Doc

US has many remarkable female athletes

Dr. Jim Surrell

There are many remarkable female athletes, many of whom have made it all the way to the Olympics. One of the most famous of these very talented remarkable athletes is Kathleen Ledecky. I recently learned of her amazing athletic accomplishments in her sport of swimming. Following is a brief review of just three amazing U.S. female athletes and what they have accomplished over the years.

Kathleen Ledecky was born on March 17, 1997, and is an American competitive swimmer. Her absolutely amazing swimming record consists of the following. She has won five Olympic gold medals and 15 world championship gold medals, and this is the most first place wins in history for a female swimmer.

Further, she is the current world record holder in the women’s 400 meter, 800 meter, and 1,500 meter freestyle swimming events. She also holds the fastest-ever times in the women’s 500 yard, 1,000 yard, and 1,650 yard freestyle swimming events.

Ledecky made her very first international Olympic appearance at the 2012 London Olympic Games. At that time she was only 15 years old. She was known to be a very talented athletic swimmer who made the U.S. Olympic team and she went on to win the gold medal in the women’s 800 meter freestyle event in these 2012 Olympic Games in London.

Four years later, she became the most decorated female athlete of the 2016 Olympic Games Rio de Janeiro, when she won four gold medals, one silver medal and set two new world records. She has won a total of 34 medals, including 28 gold medals, 5 silver medals, and 1 bronze medal in major international competitions. These international competitions include the Summer Olympics, Pan Pacific Swimming Championships” Pan Pacific Championships. Amazingly, during her career, she has broken fourteen world records.

Another very remarkable female athlete is Wilma Rudolph, an African American sprinter who became the first American woman to win three gold medals in a single Olympics. Amazingly, she overcame the loss of strength in her left leg and foot, caused by polio at five years old, to become the fastest woman in the world at the 1960 Olympics. She still holds the Olympic record for the 100 meter run at 11.2 seconds, and the 200 meter run at 22.9 seconds.

Wilma Rudolph gained international recognition during these 1960 Olympics because of worldwide television coverage and she became an iconic figure for black and female athletes. During the peak of the civil rights movement, she was a true trailblazer for the rights of African Americans and for women. She broke the gender barrier of all-male events in track and field, and her legacy lives on today. For her amazing talent, she was inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame. She passed away in 1994.

Bonnie Kathleen Blair is another remarkable female athlete who is a retired speed skater. She was born on March 18, 1964. She has competed for the U.S. in four Olympic Games and has won five Olympic gold medals and one Olympic bronze medal. Blair made her Olympic debut in Sarajevo in 1984 where she finished eighth in the 500 meters. Following this initial Olympic appearance, she continued to train diligently in both short-track and long-track speed skating. She then won the 1986 short-track world championship. Bonnie Blair then competed in long-track speed skating at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary. There she won her first Olympic gold medal in the 500 meter event and a bronze medal in the 1,000 meter event. She then went on to win two gold medals in the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville and her final two Olympic gold medals at the 1994 Lillehammer games.

After retiring from speed skating in 1995, Bonnie Blair became a noted motivational speaker. She has been inducted into the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame, the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame and the United States Olympic Hall of Fame.

Of course, there are many truly remarkable female athletes in the U.S. and world-wide and it is so appropriate to recognize them in the Olympics and elsewhere for their truly amazing athletic abilities.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Dr. Jim Surrell is the author of “The ABC’s For Success In All We Do” and the “SOS (Stop Only Sugar) Diet” books. Requests for health topics for this column are encouraged. Contact Dr. Surrell by email at sosdietdoc@gmail.com.