Doll News Summer 2020 - 53

Highlights of the First Women
in the Olympic Games

T

A Russian nested or matryoshka doll sold as a souvenir at the 2014 Olympics
held in Sochi, Russia. This 9-inch tall set includes 7 dolls representing Team USA
downhill skiers. Made of linden wood, the images of the skiers are glued on thin
paper instead of the painted designs commonly seen on most dolls.

he modern Olympic Games are considered the world's foremost sports competition bringing more than
200 nations together to participate and share a common bond. The Olympic Games are held every four
years, alternating between the Summer and Winter Games every two years in the four-year period.
Their creation was inspired by the ancient Olympic Games, which were held in Olympia, Greece,
from the 8th century BC to the 4th century AD. The first modern Games were held in Athens in 1896. The
evolution of the Olympic Movement during the 20th and 21st centuries led to adjustments including the
creation of the Winter Olympic Games for snow and ice sports, the Paralympic Games for athletes with a
disability, the Youth Olympic Games for athletes aged 14 to 18, the five Continental Games (Pan American,
African, Asian, European, and Pacific), and the World Games for sports that are not contested in the
Olympic Games.
The first Olympic Games to feature female athletes was the 1900 Games held in Paris. Hélène de
Pourtalès of Switzerland became the first woman to compete at the Olympic Games and the first female
champion as a member of the first 1 to 2 ton sailing event. Briton Charlotte Cooper became the first female
individual champion in the women's singles tennis competition. Tennis and golf were the only sports
where women could compete individually. Twenty-two women competed at the 1900 Games, which was
2.2% of all the competitors. Alongside sailing, golf and tennis, women also competed in croquet.
At the 1908 Games in London there were 37 female athletes competing in archery, tennis and figure
skating. The number increased to 47 in Stockholm in 1912. The 1916 Summer Olympics were due to be
held in Berlin but were cancelled due to the outbreak of World War I.
Sixty-five women competed in the 1920 Games. That number jumped to 135 female athletes in Paris in 1924. At
the Winter Olympics in the same year, women competed but only in figure skating. Herme Szabo became the first
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Doll News Summer 2020

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