Health & Wellbeing

3 Australian women champions who defied the odds

March 8th, 2018 marks a special day for women around the world. On International Women’s Day (IWD), we celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women everywhere.

And this year, from the boardroom to the film set and across every field of endeavour, women are making ever greater achievements.

But there’s one group of women who fight particularly tough battles - in the most public of arenas. And their victories inspire women everywhere. These women are our sports champions.

As Australians, we’re proud to have some of the world’s greatest female athletes, and there’s one thing every one of them knows, it’s that the medal, the victory, the respect - these aren’t won on the day of competition. The race or event is merely the moment of truth.

The victory is won in the preparation. The early hours and late nights, over months and years of gruelling training. Chasing the dream. Pushing the boundaries to be the best you can be, regardless of what anyone says, or the obstacles along the way.

This International Women’s Day, we reflect upon the achievements of all women. We remember those who defied the ‘norm’ and made a stand for women’s rights. From the Suffragettes fighting for the vote to modern day women pushing for workplace rights and pay parity with men.

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Many of us may not know the struggles that these champions had gone through, so today, in honour of all women, we recall three champion women athletes that beat the odds. These three great women who gave their all, defied injuries or setbacks, and snatched victory from the jaws of defeat - for all the world to see.

Sally Pearson, OAM

In 2011, Sally won her first 100m hurdle world title - with an Australian record run of 12.28 seconds. When she went on to win Olympic gold in London’s 2012 Olympics, Sally looked unstoppable. So it was tragic when a wrist injury saw her miss the 2015 World Titles. Then the following year, a damaged hamstring forced her out of the Rio Olympics. It looked like Sally’s career could be finished.

But Sally wouldn’t give up. She coached herself back to competitive form and returned to the World Championships in 2017. By this time, she’d been off the world stage for 2 years. Many thought it unlikely she’d place, let alone win. It was a fierce line up - including favourite Kendra Harrison, fresh from a string of wins. But Sally defied the odds to make a rousing comeback and take her second world title.

Emily Seebohm, OAM

Emily arrived at the 2016 Rio Olympics determined to make her mark in the pool. Many had high hopes for the young Aussie backstroke champ. Few knew at the time that she was battling crippling pain. Emily suffered from endometriosis, which means the tissue that’s supposed to grow inside the uterus was instead growing outside it. She competed bravely in the water, but failed to qualify for the 200m final. She then came in second last in the 100m backstroke, her favourite event.

Emily left Rio heartbroken. She considered retirement. Ultimately, she was determined not to let the loss defeat her. After surgery for her condition, Emily trained her way back to the pool. She went on to reclaim her place on the podium, defending her world crown at the 2017 World Championships in Budapest. She even set a new 200m national record for women’s backstroke.

Michelle Payne, Jockey

Victorian jockey Michelle Payne didn’t overcome personal injury or illness, but she overcame something perhaps just as crippling. In 2015 she overcame almost 150 years of tradition and history that said Australia’s most famous horse race, the Melbourne Cup, was a man’s race.

Overcoming the naysayers just to get her place in the saddle, Michelle was determined to be the best on the day, regardless of gender. Riding ‘Prince of Penzance’, Michelle went on to outperform the entire field, becoming the first woman to win the coveted Melbourne Cup. Doing so, Michelle smashed through another glass ceiling and galloped straight into the history books.

Go for your gold

Whatever your personal goals, whether it’s on the field or in the office, winning begins with pushing yourself just a little further every day. Stretching beyond your limits to discover that ‘more’ within.

So when you’re out there pursuing your personal best, whether it’s a little light sport with friends or a punishing regimen, competing with the woman in the mirror, remember one thing: personal improvement is a victory won not by leaps and bounds, but by inches, even millimetres at a time.

The key is to keep those millimetres consistent. When it’s constant and never-ending improvement, those small steps add up fast.

Of course there’ll be unexpected setbacks. The injury on the field or the sickness off the pitch. Like anything, it’s just another obstacle to overcome on your journey. And like any setback, it always helps to be as prepared as you can be.

That’s where Income Protection Insurance from Insuranceline comes in handy. If you’re out of action for weeks or even months due to sickness or an injury, it can make all the difference to know that you can be covered to receive up to 85% of your usual income if you’re unable to work.

Give yourself that peace of mind. Get a quick quote for your Income Protection today, or give Insuranceline a call on 13 77 87 to talk to our friendly team about your Income Protection options.

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