17 Great Moments In The Evolution Of Female Fitness

By Anan Rahman

6th Century BC
The first official all-women’s athletic competition is created in Greece as a reaction to the all-male Olympics.

1856
Catherine Beecher publishes the first fitness manual for women, Physiology and Calisthenics for Schools and Families.

1891
The first recorded hockey game between two women’s teams is played in Ottawa, Ontario.

1900
Female athletes are included in the Olympics for the first time at the Paris Games.

1926
American competition swimmer Gertrude Caroline Ederle becomes the first woman to swim across the English Channel.

1948
Alice Coachman is the first African-American woman to nab an Olympic gold medal with her win in the high jump.

1954
Toronto’s Marilyn Bell enters the history books as the first person to swim across Lake Ontario.

1972
Sue Sally Hale becomes the first female member of the United States Polo Association after playing matches disguised as a man for two decades.

1973
Tennis star Billie Jean King becomes an international symbol of the women’s empowerment as she defeats Bobby Riggs in the Battle of the Sexes.

1975
Japan’s Junko Tabei sets the record as the first woman in the world to reach the top of Mount Everest.

1976
Poland’s Krystyna Choynowski-Liskiewicz sails around the world solo, the first woman to do so.

1980
Women’s bodybuilding hits the mainstream with the creation of the Ms. Olympia title.

1996
The NBA Board of Governors green-lights the creation of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA).

1998
1991 Women’s World Cup alumni April Heinrichs becomes the first woman named to the National Soccer Hall of Fame.

2010
At the age of 22, Katie Spotz becomes the youngest person to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean, to raise money for access to safe water in developing countries.

2012
Women’s boxing is introduced in the London Olympics, meaning women now compete in every Olympic sport.

2013
Inside Fitness introduces its first women’s special, forever changing the way Canadian women get their exercise information.

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