MADRID, 8 Mar. (EUROPA PRESS) -
They were the first and they are referents. They paved the way for many other Spanish women and showed them that dreams can come true with tenacity and effort. Today, March 8, International Women's Day, we want to highlight eight athletes who have contributed to the success of Spanish women's sport.
LILÍ ÁLVAREZ, THE GREAT PIONEER
Without a doubt, Elia María González-Álvarez y López-Chicheri, better known as Lilí Álvarez (Rome, 1905 - Madrid, 1998), is the great pioneer of women's sports in Spain, a band that was won after becoming the Winter Games from Chamonix (France) in 1924 in the first Spanish to participate in an Olympic event.
Although he practiced from skiing to motor racing, passing through billiards, mountaineering or horse riding, it was tennis that allowed him to go down to posterity. In 1929 she was proclaimed doubles champion at Roland Garros, just two years after losing the mixed doubles final, and she reached the Wimbledon final three times (1926, 1927 and 1928).
Lilí, who in 1931 scandalized the British 'big team' by playing for the first time in a skirt-pants, was also a writer and journalist, one of the first to write sports reports, a work that is now honored by the Lilí Álvarez Awards, organized by the Women's Institute in collaboration with the CSD.
MARI PAZ COROMINAS, FIRST OLYMPIC FINALIST
At the Francisco Márquez Olympic Pool in Mexico City, Mari Paz Corominas (Barcelona, 1952) became the first Spanish athlete (man or woman) to reach an Olympic final by doing so in the 200-meter backstroke event at the Mexico Games 1968.
He finished in seventh position, but had already gone down in history. After the Olympic appointment, he trained with Mark Spitz at the University of Indiana. However, at only 18 years old, she left high competition when everyone pointed to her as the future of Spanish swimming.
MARÍA TERESA HERRERAS, THE FIRST PARALYMPIC CHAMPION
In Toronto 1976, in the 75-meter class 3 medley, María Teresa Herreras (Valladolid, 1962) broke a ceiling for Spanish women's sport by becoming our country's first Paralympic champion.
The 'Mermaid of Pisuerga', with a physical disability, rounded off her performance at that event with two silvers and a bronze, which she continued in subsequent Games. In all, she won 13 Paralympic medals, including the individual golds in the 50-meter breaststroke and 50-meter freestyle L3 at the 1984 New York Games.
ARANTXA SÁNCHEZ VICARIO, THE FIRST 'GREAT'
At just 17 years old and more than six decades after the last 'Grand Slam' final played by a Spanish woman, Lilí Álvarez, Arantxa Sánchez Vicario (Barcelona, 1971) compensated the women's 'Armada' with an impressive victory at Roland Garros 1989. In the final, against the then world number one Steffi Graf, the Catalan raised her first 'great' and also the first for a Spanish tennis player in individual mode.
Twice more (1994 and 1998) he won the 'Musketeers trophy', to which he added a US Open title, an Olympic silver and bronze, a record increased by his successes in the women's and mixed doubles -ten 'Grand Slam' and two other medals in Games- and by teams, with the conquest of up to five times in the Federation Cup. In addition, in 1995, she rose to number one in the WTA singles ranking, which coincided with her first position in the doubles.
MIRIAM BLASCO WINS THE FIRST WOMEN'S OLYMPIC MEDAL
On July 31, 1992, in Barcelona, the judoka Miriam Blasco (Valladolid, 1963) finally broke the Olympic ceiling and conquered, in the -56 kilos final, the first women's medal for Spain in a Games, and, furthermore, of gold. The Valladolid, who came as world and European champion, prevailed over the British Nicola Fairbrother, who would later become his wife with the approval in Spain of same-sex marriage.
Her Olympic title, dedicated to her coach Sergio Cardell, who died 20 days before the Games in a motorcycle accident, opened the faucet for other female successes, such as the gold medal for Almudena Muñoz, also a judoka, the field hockey team or the sailors Theresa Zabell and Patricia Guerra. In Sydney 2000, her pupil Isabel Fernández repeated her feat.
BLANCA FERNÁNDEZ OCHOA, A REFERENCE ON THE SNOW
Until Queralt Castellet won the silver medal in Beijing 2022, Blanca Fernández Ochoa (Madrid, 1963 - Cercedilla, 2019) had been the only Spanish woman capable of getting on the podium in a Winter Olympic Games. Albertville 1992 achieved it, after the frustrated attempts at the Lake Placid 1980, Sarajevo 1984 and Calgary 1988 Games, with a bronze in the slalom that served to emulate his brother Paco, until now the only Spanish athlete with a gold in an appointment winter olympic.
Before that, in the giant slalom in Vail in 1985, she also became the first skier from our country to win an event in the Alpine Ski World Cup.
EDURNE PASABAN, THE FIRST WOMAN ON ALL THE ROOFS OF THE WORLD
When she trampled the top of Shisha Pangma on May 17, 2010, Edurne Pasaban (Tolosa, 1973) entered the history of mountaineering by becoming the first woman in history to ascend the 14 eight-thousanders of the planet. She had been on the roof of the world, but she suddenly went down to hell.
Depression clouded his life, plagued by dramas such as the death of his friend Pepe Garcés in the descent of Dhaulagiri or the freezing and amputation of the phalanges of two toes in his assault on K2, but he went ahead to be the inspiration for many other mountaineers.
SANDRA SÁNCHEZ, THE BEST ON THE TATAMI
Six years in a row at the head of the world ranking endorse Sandra Sánchez (Talavera de la Reina, 1981) as the best karate fighter of all time after a career that ended at the top, with a gold in the kata modality at the World Games from Birmingham (United States).
It was the only title that was missing from his laureate career. Despite joining the Spanish team at a late age, at 34, the man from La Mancha did not waste her time; She was crowned world champion twice (2018 and 2021) and on seven consecutive occasions she was European champion (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2021 and 2022), but ecstasy came at the Budokan, the cradle of karate, when certified the 'Triple Crown' by winning the gold medal in the kata final at the Tokyo Olympics.
CAROLINA MARÍN, A CHAMPION AGAINST THE ASIAN GIANT
In a sport without tradition in Spain, badminton, Carolina Marín (Huelva, 1993) managed to rub shoulders with the best and face up to then the great dominators, the Asian players. "I can because I think I can", her great life motto.
Three times world champion (2014, 2015 and 2018) and six times in Europe (2014, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2021 and 2022), its culmination came in Rio, where the gold medal was hung, the first for Spain in this sport. Only her injuries, like the one that deprived her of defending her Olympic title in Tokyo, have slowed down the Huelva's ambition.
THE 'QUEEN' ALEXIA PUTELLAS
If in 2021 she achieved a milestone by being the first Spanish female footballer to win the Ballon d'Or, in 2022 she raised the bar even higher by winning her second trophy, which made her the only woman capable of repeating the award and the Spanish man. or woman, with more gimped from the magazine France Football, ahead of the Galician Luis Suárez.
The Barça footballer also made history in The Best by managing to be named the best player in the world for the second year in a row a few weeks ago, an achievement that helps to partially compensate for the months off due to an injury that prevented her from being in last Eurocup.