10 of the most iconic British Sportswomen since 2000
Nick Murphy | 8 May 2018
The pantheon of British sporting icons is decorated with a host of female stars who have broken down barriers to become leaders in their respective fields.
Coaches, jockeys, Olympians and footballers have all excelled in the modern era.
As a result, the Coral News Team thought it high-time we celebrate 10 British women in sport whose stars have shone brightly since the turn of the millennium.
Tracey Neville (Netball)
The Neville family are synonymous with the sport. Brothers Gary and Phil famously played for Manchester United. Mother, Gill, used to play in local league netball, while father Neville was a professional cricketer.
Yet it’s Tracey who has picked up the major headlines in recent years. The 41-year-old has been associated with netball since playing at county level at 14-years-old.
She was awarded an MBE in 2016 for services to the sport. And earlier this year she coached the England Team to their first ever Commonwealth Gold Medal. Helen Housby scored in the final second as England stunned Australia with a 52-51 success.
Johanna Konta (Tennis)
Tennis star Johanna Konta switched allegiance from Australia to Great Britain in 2012. And she hasn’t looked back since.
The Sydney-born right-hander rose from 150 in the WTA Rankings to a career-high fourth in July 2017. That made her the highest-ranked British female since Jo Durie over 30 years ago.
Her good form has brought three WTA titles and two semi-final appearances in Grand Slams – including the 2017 edition of Wimbledon. She’s back down to 23rd in the rankings now after suffering trouble with injury. She’ll be hoping for an extended run at SW4 this year.
Alexandra Danson and Helen Richardson-Walsh (Team GB Hockey)
Great Britain’s female hockey team have enjoyed unparalleled success in recent years. After claiming bronze at London 2012, the ladies went one better four years later in Rio by taking home gold.
Team GB dominated throughout the tournament. But it was the joint-performances of Alex Danson and Helen Richardson-Walsh that really caught the eye.
The former finished as the games’ joint-top scorer, while the latter scored vital goals against Argentina and Spain to ensure qualification for the final.
A tense Gold medal match saw the match finish 3-3 before the GB ladies triumphed 2-0 over the Netherlands via a penalty shoot-out.
Lizzie Kelly (Horse Racing)
Prior to 2015, no female jockey had ever won a Grade 1 National Hunt race in Britain. Lizzie Kelly changed that.
Then 22-years-old, Kelly rode Tea For Two to victory in the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase at Kempton.
Three months later she won Europe’s richest handicap hurdle aboard Agrapart, and the following year she became the first female jockey to ride a horse in the Cheltenham Gold Cup for 33 years.
She has since clocked up a Cheltenham win in the Ultima Handicap Chase and another Grade 1 success in the Aintree Bowl.
Her riding has paved the way for other female jockeys including Bridget Andrews and Bryony Frost, the latter of whom also won the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase aboard Black Corton in 2017.
Will any of the trio land top honours in the 2019 Gold Cup?
Susie Wolff (F1)
In 2014, Susie Wolff became the first woman to take part in an F1 weekend since Giovanna Amati in 1992. Driving for Williams, Wolff could only manage one timed lap before her stint on track was cut short by an engine problem.
She later drove in several Free Practice sessions, regularly clocking times not too dissimilar to the team’s number one driver, Felipe Massa. Wolff retired from F1 in November 2015 and was awarded an MBE in 2017 for services to Women in Sport.
Nicola Adams (Boxing)
Nicola Adams already has a tremendous haul of medals in her boxing career. The Smiling Assassin was the first female boxer to win an Olympic gold medal at London 2012.
She then retained her title in Rio four years later to become the first British boxer to defend an Olympic gold in 92 years.
Adams has since turned professional, where she’s won her first three bouts under the promotion of Frank Warren. The Yorkshire-born fighter is the golden girl of British boxing. And she could soon be set for a world title tilt.
Charlotte Edwards (Cricket)
No English cricketer in the modern era can boast more Ashes wins than Charlotte Edwards.
The current Hampshire batter masterminded England to three Ashes successes in a career which brought more than 220 appearances for the national side.
She was also the first player to score 2500 runs in Twenty20 internationals and can boast more one-day runs than any other England cricketer, male or female.
Edwards has enjoyed a truly remarkable career for both club and country, which has led being named among the 2014 Wisden Cricketers of the Year and receiving an MBE in 2009 and CBE in 2014.
Kelly Smith (Football)
Kelly Smith is one of the most decorated female footballers in England’s history.
The striker enjoyed significant success with Arsenal as a four-time Women’s Premier League champion, three-time FA Cup winner and one-time UEFA Women’s Cup victor.
She also played professionally in the United States with Philadelphia Charge, New Jersey Wildcats and the Boston Breakers before returning home with Arsenal in 2017.
Smith is also England’s record goalscorer with 46 goals in 117 appearances for the Lionesses across a 19-year-spell stretching from 1995-2014. She never won major honours with England, something the current generation will look to rectify in next year’s Women’s World Cup.
Arsenal, too, will be in Women’s Premier League action this summer.
Kelly Holmes (Olympics)
The 2020 Olympics are just around the corner. But it’s unlikely any female track athlete will be able to compete with Kelly Holmes’ achievements in 2004.
The Kent-born star completed a rare double in Athens by taking home gold medals in both the 800m and 1500m disciplines.
It was only the third-time in history a female athlete had managed the 800m and 1500m double in the same games. Even more impressively she became Britain’s first double gold medallist at the same Olympics since Albert Hill in 1920.
Holmes had a long and distinguished career on the track. But it is her 2004 performance, and subsequent damehood, for which she is best remembered.
Laura Kenny (Olympics/Cycling)
Already dubbed the golden girl of British cycling, Laura Kenny will be gunning for even more success in Tokyo 2020.
She’s already Britain’s most successful female Olympian of all-time, after clocking up four gold medals in London and Rio.
And after taking time out to have her first child with partner and fellow cyclist Jason Kenny, she returned to the track with a 1st place finish in the Omnium at the 2018 National Track Championships.
Another gold medal in two years’ time will put her out in front ahead of Leontien van Moorsel as the most successful female track cyclist in Olympic history.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing