There are so many brilliant women in sports and competition that it can be hard to shine a spotlight on all of them. However, there are some women that not only excel in this sort of competition, but are also seriously brainy. We’ve selected three women who kick ass in their competitive career, but also excel in brainier pursuits as well. Whether they’re tearing it up on the football field, battling it out at the poker table, or inspiring the next generation through their writing, these women are truly incredible and deserve recognition.
Victoria-Coren-Mitchell, Poker Pro and Television Personality
Victoria Coren-Mitchell is something of a renaissance woman. She’s hosted no less than 7 different television shows, been a panellist on countless others, written a slew of books and even single-handedly stopped a wake-ruining gang. You certainly couldn’t accuse her of being one to rest on her laurels. Many people will know her for her quick wit, which she puts to good use on lots of comedy panel shows. Victoria Coren-Mitchell has her hand in many entertainment-based pies, but she’s perhaps at her most impressive at the poker table.
She was the first woman ever to win an event on the European Poker Tour, which she did in 2006. This achievement also made her the first person ever to win a televised professional and a televised celebrity tournament, having already won Celebrity Poker Club back in 2005. She went on to win yet another EPT event in 2014 and it looks like she’s not planning on stopping. If you’re feeling inspired by Victoria’s poker prowess then a good way to get started is to look into competing in free tournaments, that is, tournaments with no buy-in. This guide to poker freerolls could be helpful for beginners.
Gabrielle Douglas, Olympic Gymnast and Inspirational Author
The vast majority of us will know Gabrielle Douglas for her gymnastic abilities, which should be no surprise. She’s won so many gold medals that it’s getting difficult to keep count! She helped her team (USA) to a Team Gold in both the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, as well as achieving an All Round gold in 2012 too. That year she was awarded the Female Athlete of the Year Award by the Associated Press, being only the fourth gymnast ever to have received the award.
Impressive as all of that is, Douglas managed to pack a lot more still into 2012. That was the year that her autobiography entitled, Grace, Gold and Glory: My Leap of Faith, was released. It debuted at an impressive number 4 on the New York Times Bestseller List for Young Adults. The book is written straight from the soul but with great eloquence. In it she speaks candidly about her experiences as a young black woman rising through the ranks, which should be a great inspiration to any girls hoping to follow in her footsteps.
Melody Decena Wyatt, LFL Star and Mumpreneur
Of course, this list wouldn’t be complete without a mention of one of the most beloved LFL players of all time, Melody Decena Wyatt. Melody is a terrifying prospect on the field, thanks to her incredible strength. She trained previously with the US army, which might be where she got her fierce determination from. Outside of the LFL, Wyatt is a mother and a one-woman fitness inspiration team. She snapped right back into shape after her baby and has created a business helping others to do the same.
Maria Sharapova, Tennis Titan and Corporate Queen
Maria Sharapova is one of the most recognisable faces in tennis. She’s one of the top women in the sport and has won numerous tournaments in her career, culminating in her overall Grand Slam, that is winning all of the Australian, French and US Opens, as well as Wimbledon, a feat achieved by very few. Oh and did we mention she did this not once, not twice, but five separate times! She is currently ranked within the top ten tennis players in the whole world by the Women’s Tennis Association and that’s not all. Her talent is undeniable, but her poise and charisma have won her plenty of corporate contracts.
She retired from her career having made a staggering $325 million, just $25 million behind her long-time rival Serena Williams. This was prize money in part, but also earned through various collaborations with brands such as Nike, Prince, Tag Heuer, Canon, Motorola, Colgate and Palmolive. Sharapova was the perfect figure for all of these brands because of her natural charisma and quick wit. It was because of this that her earnings from her brand collaborations were so very high. Her deal with Nike was without a doubt the most valuable, netting her an impressive $15 million per year. This leap in earnings made her the top-earning female athlete in the world at the time. More than just a tennis superstar, Maria Sharapova was a business mogul.
Recently named as The Guardian’s most influential woman in British Sport, Debbie Jevans’ sporting credentials are certainly not up for debate. She began her career, like Sharapova, as a professional tennis player, though realised after a while that her real gift lay in the organisation of sport, rather than the playing of it. Since that discovery, Jevans has achieved incredible things. She was the director for the London Organising Committee in the 2012 London Olympics and then went on to become the chief executive for the England Rugby team, just three years later. She took on the task of organizing a Rugby World Cup and succeeded, making her the first woman ever to do so.
Her capabilities have never been in doubt, but Jevans campaigns tirelessly for other women to be given a chance. She is incredibly outspoken in her belief that the sporting world needs to do more to support women who have the ability to rise through the ranks. It’s one thing to be such a tour de force in your own field, but to help others up is the mark of a truly brilliant human being.