March Madness: 15 Women Who Play Bigger

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Welcome to week two of March Madness! Our second #WannabeWomen list is a follower-inspired one coming off the heels of our last blog, we asked for our followers on Instagram and Facebook to give us some ideas of who they look to for inspiration and girl, did they ever deliver!!

In addition to one foxy list, WANNABE celebrates International Women’s Day, a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. At Wannabe, we serve as a  high-five to badass women who hustle everyday to play bigger, be healthier and live louder. We are owning our futures, chasing down the best versions of ourselves, and changing our mindsets through how we move, power, think and talk about our bodies.

Look for more lists on Thursdays this March as we high-five these awesome athletes and you find fab females to follow.

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Quanera Hayes, Georganne Moline, Courtney Okolo, Shakima Wimbley: a quadruple threat. American sprinting team and 4 x 400M IAAF World Indoor Champions. The US quartet dominated the women’s 4x400m as expected, flying to a championship record of 3:23.85 to secure their third straight victory. USA saved the individual 400m gold and silver medallists, Courtney Okolo and Shakima Wimbley, for the final two legs. 2016 world indoor 400m bronze medallist Quanera Hayes ran the opening two laps in 51.56 to pass over to 2012 Olympic 400m hurdles finalist Georganne Moline, whose 50.87 split helped open up the gap over Jamaica and Poland. Wimbley, the 400m silver medallist, then produced a 51.27 split to hand over to 400m champion Okolo with a clear advantage.The quartet of Moline, Quanera Hayes, world indoor champion Courtney Okolo and world silver medalist Shakima Wimbley combined to run 3:23.85, a championship record and just off the world record of 3:23.37 (IAAF).

Dara Torres: arguably the fastest female swimmer in America. She entered her first international swimming competition at age 14 and competed in her first Olympic Games a few years later in 1984. In total, Dara has competed in five Olympic Games and has won 12 medals in her entire Olympic career. At the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008, Dara became the oldest swimmer to compete in the Olympic Games. When she took three silver medals home – including the infamous heartbreaking 50-meter freestyle race where she missed the gold by 1/100th of a second. Her impressive performance in Beijing and her attempt at the 2012 London Olympic Games has inspired many older athletes to consider re-entering competition, including cyclist Lance Armstrong. She is now a top-selling author and contributor to news shows as a guest host and commentator (personal website).

Aly Raisman: most recently known as a primary force in the #MeToo movement by suing the US Olympic Committee over the handling of former sports doctor Larry Nassar, two-time Olympian Aly Raisman was an athletic success before she was a social change leader. She was a member and captain of both the 2012 "Fierce Five" and 2016 "Final Five" U.S. women's Olympic gymnastics which won their respective team competitions. Raisman is the 2016 Olympic individual all-around silver medalist and floor silver medalist. At the 2012 Olympics in London, she won gold medals in the team and floor competitions, as well as the bronze medal on the balance beam, making her the most decorated American gymnast at the Games. At the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, she won a gold medal in the team event, making her and teammate Gabby Douglas the only Americans with back-to-back team gold medals. Raisman also won silver medals in the individual all-around and for floor exercise. Raisman was also a member of the gold-winning American teams at the 2011 and 2015 World Championships.

Surya Bonaly: is a French former competitive figure skater. She is a three-time World silver medalist (1993–1995), a five-time European champion (1991–1995), the 1991 World Junior Champion, and a nine-time French national champion (1989–1997). Bonaly is the only Olympic figure skater to land a backflip on only one blade; she performed it at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan to famously “flip off” the judges and take her place in skating history, NOT for her score or place in Olympic medals but as she is the only person to land the backflip on one blade (Huffington Post).

Video credit: Popsugar.com

Rhonda Rousey: American professional wrestler, actress and former mixed martial artist. Rousey was the first American woman to earn an Olympic medal in judo (bronze), which she won at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. She is the former UFC Women's Bantamweight Champion, as well as the last Strikeforce Women's Bantamweight Champion. She won 12 consecutive MMA fights, six in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), before suffering her first loss, to Holly Holm in November 2015. She won 11 of those fights in the first round, nine of them by armbar submission. As of January 2017, Rousey is ranked the #4 female bantamweight fighter in the world according to the UFC, and #9 by Sherdog (WWE). 

Michelle Wie:  is an American professional golfer who plays on the LPGA Tour. At age 10, she became the youngest player to qualify for a USGA amateur championship. Wie also became the youngest winner of the U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links and the youngest to qualify for an LPGA Tour event. She turned professional shortly before her 16th birthday in 2005, accompanied by an enormous amount of publicity and endorsements and won her first major at the 2014 U.S. Women's Open. When Wie was fourteen in 2004, professional golfer Ernie Els remarked, "Give her another couple years to get stronger, she can play on the PGA Tour." We can't wait to see that! 

Misty May-Treanor: Director of Volleyball for Long Beach City College, coach and beach volleyball club owner. Misty is a retired American pro beach volleyball player. She is a three-time olympic gold medalist. Inducted into the Volleyball Hall of Fame in 2016. Misty May-Treanor and teammate Kerri Walsh Jennings were gold medalists in beach volleyball at the 2004, 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympics. They also won the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships in 2003, 2005 and 2007. They have been called "the greatest beach volleyball team of all time. 

Erin Jackson: This year, Erin Jackson made history as the first Black woman to qualify for the long track competition in speed skating. Jackson was originally an inline skater, but took up ice skating just four months ago to maybe try for the 2022 Olympics. She said she went into the trials for this year's Olympics thinking they would be a "checkpoint in my training," and instead she made the team — NBD (Refinery 29). 

Oksana Masters: This year will be Oksana Masters's fourth Paralympics. A survivor of the Chernobyl disaster, Masters had both legs amputated by the time she was seven years old. When she was just 13, she picked up rowing and started her athletic journey. Masters has competed in multiple Winter and Summer Paralympics, including rowing, cycling, and cross-country skiing (personal website). 

Lauren Gibbs: Lauren Gibbs had her MBA and was working a corporate job in sales, when a CrossFit friend asked her if she would consider bobsledding. Gibbs took a chance and decided to learn more about the sport. She was teamed up with none other than Elana Meyers Taylor, a two-time Olympian, and the rest is history. 

Brenna Huckaby: paralympian champion who grew up loving gymnastics, but had her dream deferred when she was diagnosed with osteosarcoma. She had her right leg amputated in 2010, and a month later decided to pursue snowboarding. Huckaby gave birth to her daughter in 2016, and returned to training three months after in order to continue competing. Did we mention she is also the first paralympian to appear in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue? Her #BoPo inspires the shit out of us.

Supercar Blondie:  Alex Hirschi, supercar driver, aka Supercar Blondie, is an Australian social media personality living in Dubai. Until April 2017, she co-hosted her own talk radio show in Dubai from 4-7pm. Alex has interviewed CEOs, politicians and celebrities. On social media, she takes a different approach to traditional car reviews, by creating light-hearted entertainment. She posts regular content on Instagram, Facebook and Youtube to over +2 million followers. She has also collaborated with BBC’s Top Gear and been featured in publications such as Forbes.com, Dailymail.co.uk, Sky News and Unilad. She's also a contributor to Esquire Magazine ME on cars. She is killing a male dominated industry with her content (personal website).

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