Meet The Women Rocking Rio

Photo: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images.
Cue Kanye’s "Stronger" — the 2016 Summer Olympics are just around the corner.

Athletes from all over the world will convene in Rio de Janeiro in early August in their quest for the ultimate prize: an Olympic gold medal. Despite pressing concerns over Zika and water pollution, the games promise to be historic.

This year will feature the most female Olympians ever: approximately 45% of participants. From taekwondo to track, the female competitors are ready to break records. The U.S. women’s basketball team is looking to go for its sixth straight gold as part of its 41-game Olympic winning streak while India will be sending its first-ever female gymnast. You may be familiar with stars such as Gabby Douglas or Missy Franklin, but there are many more female athletes poised to make headlines next month.

Ahead, we round up some of those amazing athletes, including marathon triplets, members of the first-ever refugee team, and a six-time Olympic qualifier.

Check back as we add more badass athletes you should know before the games begin on August 5. May the best woman win.
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Photo: Al Bello/Getty Images.
Name/Age: Gaurika Singh, 13
Sport: Swimming
Country: Nepal

Why She Rocks: At age 13, Singh is the youngest competitor in the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics and will be one of five delegates from Nepal. She's already won one silver and three bronze medals at the 2016 South Asian Games. While in Nepal for the National Championships, Singh survived a massive earthquake that killed thousands.

In Her Words: “My friends are really happy for me but they are also good at stuff,” she said, according to The Daily Beast. “One of my best friends plays Matilda on West End and another one went to junior Wimbledon. So, we’re all good at different things.”
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Photo: Eugenio Savio/AP Images.
Name/Age: Hope Solo, 35
Sport: Soccer
Country: U.S.A.

Why She Rocks: Hope Solo has been the U.S. women's team goalkeeper since 2000. Since then, she's become a two-time Olympic gold medalist and a World Cup gold medalist. She's also an outspoken advocate for equal pay for women's soccer players.

In Her Words: "I do believe, and I won’t say our current team, but our 2015 World Cup-winning team is the best team in the history of the game. And I say that because the game has evolved. Are we going to be the best that ever played? Absolutely not. I think four years from now, the best team will be the best [ever]. So, it’s not some arrogance thing. I just think as the game evolves, we Americans as well as around the world continue to improve our game," she told Sports Illustrated.
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Photo: Lars Baron/Getty Images.
Name/Age: Katinka Hosszú, 27
Sport: Swimming
Country: Hungary

Why She Rocks: Hosszú won her first world medal in the 400-meter individual medley — and she obliterated the standing world record in the process. Despite rumors of doping and the awkward moment when an announcer credited her husband/coach for her world record — Hosszu is ranked as one of the best swimmers in the world.

In Her Words: “Shane is always reminding me, ‘You lost the one that you thought you could not survive without, and you’re thriving,’” Hosszu told the New York Times, referring to the 400 individual medley in London. “Why would you ever worry about anything?”
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Photo: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images.
Name/Age: Kerri Walsh Jennings, 37; April Ross, 34
Sport: Volleyball
Country: U.S.A.

Why They Rock: Kerri Walsh and her former teammate, Misty May-Treanor, were the gold medalists in beach volleyball at the 2004, 2008, and 2012 Summer Olympics. But this year, she's paired with April Ross, who won the silver in 2012. The duo easily won their opening beach volleyball match against Australia in just 35 minutes.

In Their Words: "The greatest thing about playing with [Walsh Jennings] is she's so intense and so committed to getting better, and her standard of excellence is so high," Ross told Vice. "I feel like we're free to push and go hard, and it's fully acceptable. I've been told I'm too intense, but to be out there with Kerry and see how intense she is, has allowed me to be myself and embrace that intensity and that drive."
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Photo: Tom Pennington/Getty Images.
Name/Age: Katie Ledecky, 19
Sport: Swimming
Country: U.S.A.

Why She Rocks: Katie Ledecky is arguably the best female swimmer on the planet. She's a nine-time world champion and the current world record-holder in the 400, 800, and 1,500-meter freestyle. And she hasn't even started college yet. Ledecky already won silver on Saturday night in the 4 x 100m freestyle relay and is expected to add at least three golds in the coming days.

In Her Words: "I would encourage you to set really high goals," Ledecky told the Today show. "Set goals that, when you set them, you think they're impossible. But then every day you can work towards them, and anything is possible so keep working hard and follow your dreams."
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Photo: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images.
Name/Age: Ginny Thrasher, 19
Sport: Shooting
Country: U.S.A.

Why She Rocks: On Saturday, Thrasher became the first U.S. Olympic athlete to win a medal in Rio — and she won the gold, no less. She beat China's Du Li and Yi Siling in the women's 10-meter air rifle event with a record-setting score of 208, according to USA Today. And the West Virginia University student has only been shooting since her freshman year of high school.

In Her Words: “I definitely feel like my confidence grew, but also, not only my confidence in my shooting ability, but my confidence in being able to handle any scenario thrown at me,” she told WVAlways.com of competing to be in the Olympics. “It’s a very mental sport, but that’s why I love rifle so much. Working on my mental game this year has really helped make the difference.”
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Photo: Ivo Gonzalez/Getty Images.
Name/Age: Ana Marcela Cunha, 24
Sport: Swimming
Country: Brazil

Why She Rocks: Cunha has won more world championships than any other South American swimmer and than any other Brazilian athlete. She was one of the first athletes to qualify for Rio 2016 when she won Brazil’s first-ever gold in the 25-kilometer race at the FINA World Championships in Kazan, Russia. In 2015, she was named the athlete of the year by Brazil's Olympic Committee.

In Her Words: "Cada degrau antingido é uma pequena vitória. 'Chegar lá' depende do caminho percorrido," she wrote on Instagram,
which translates to, “Each step achieved is a small victory. 'Getting there' depends on the path taken."
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Photo: Gregory Bull/AP Images.
Name/Age: Laurie Hernandez, 16
Sport: Gymnastics
Country: U.S.A.

Why She Rocks: Hernandez is the first U.S.-born Latina since 1984 to go to the Olympics with the U.S. gymnastics team; and at 16, she is also one of the youngest U.S. athletes to go to Rio. The New Jersey native turned pro just days before the start of Rio 2016, committing to continuing in elite gymnastics for the next four years.

In Her Words: "I think it's amazing that I can go out there and be myself, and the fact that I'm carrying Puerto Rico on my back a little bit is such an honor," she said after the Olympic trials, according to People.

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Photo courtesy of Hershey's.
Name/Age: Mallory Weggemann, 27
Sport: Swimming
Country: U.S.A.

Why She Rocks: After a medical procedure went wrong when Weggemann was 18, she was left paraplegic. But that didn’t stop this swimmer. She went back to the water just two-and-a-half months after her paralysis, and four years later, she won a gold medal at the 2012 London Paralympic Games. This summer, she is going for her second gold at Rio 2016.

In Her Words: "After my injury, since I had established this love for the sport my entire life, that fire still burned inside of me. I wasn’t burned out; I wasn’t ready to be done,” she told Refinery29. "Returning to the water, I looked at swimming as a way to redefine what was possible, and a way to redefine limitations of what I, as an individual with physical disabilities, could be capable of."
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Photo: Michel Euler/AP Images.
Name/Age: Beezie Madden, 52
Sport: Show Jumping
Country: U.S.A.

Why She Rocks: Madden is a three-time Olympic medalist, and Rio 2016 will mark her fourth consecutive time competing in the Olympic Games. She is also the first female equestrian in jump riding to earn over a million dollars and the oldest athlete on Team U.S.A.

In Her Words: "Find something that you really have a passion in, and that’s what you’ll probably have the most success at. I’m so lucky that I have a passion for riding horses, I have a passion for competition, and I’m able to do — probably what I would want to do as a hobby — as a profession,” she told Refinery29.

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Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Name/Age: Gabby Douglas, 20
Sport: Gymnastics
Country: U.S.A.

Why She Rocks: Gabby Douglas left the 2012 London Olympics as the first African-American woman in Olympic history to be an individual all-around gymnastics champion, as well as the first American gymnast to take home gold in both the team all-around and individual all-around in the same games. Her face was also featured on Kellogg's Corn Flakes cereal boxes around the country (as opposed to the traditional Wheaties), and she penned a New York Times best-selling memoir.

In Her Words: “I love the challenge. I love to push limits. I feel like I haven’t reached my full potential yet,” she told Teen Vogue.
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Name/Age: Yusra Mardini, 18
Sport: Swimming
Country: Syria (refugee in Germany)

Why She Rocks: Mardini and her little sister jumped out of a sinking boat and pulled it to shore in Lesbos, Greece, as Syrian refugees. With their mother, they fled to Lebanon and then Turkey before settling in Germany. Having swum competitively for Syria in 2012, she will be a member of this year’s inaugural team of Refugee Olympic Athletes.

In Her Words: “I want to make all the refugees proud of me. It would show that even if we had a tough journey, we can achieve something,” she told The Guardian.
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Name/Age: Ibtihaj Muhammad, 30
Sport: Fencing
Country: U.S.A.

Why She Rocks: After obtaining a dual international relations and African-American studies degree from Duke University, Ibtihaj Muhammad will be the first U.S. woman to compete in a hijab at the Olympics.

In Her Words: “I want to compete in the Olympics for the United States to prove that nothing should hinder anyone from reaching their goals — not race, religion, or gender” she wrote in her U.S.A. Team bio.
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Name/Age: Nicola Adams, 33
Sport: Boxing
Country: U.K.

Why She Rocks: The first woman to win an Olympic boxing title in 2012, Adams will enter the 2016 Games as the reigning European Games, Commonwealth, World, and Olympic champion. Openly bisexual, she was named the most influential LGBT individual in Britain by The Independent in 2012.

In Her Words: “We didn't make it far in the football but not to worry us Olympians will bring back some medals from the Rio Olympic #38daystogo,” she posted on Twitter.
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Name/Age: Jacqueline, “Jackie” Galloway, 20
Sport: Taekwondo
Country: U.S.A.

Why She Rocks: A dual citizen, Galloway was named to the Mexican national taekwondo team at just 14, and was an alternate for the London 2012 Games. In Rio, she will be the first heavyweight taekwondo athlete to represent the U.S. at the Olympics.

In Her Words: “Really, my goal is to win gold at the Olympics. And that’s not just my goal, that’s my plan,” Galloway told Team U.S.A.
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Vitnija Saldava/AP Photo
Name/Age: Leila, Liina, and Lily Luik, 30
Sport: Marathon
Country: Estonia

Why They Rock: The “Trio to Rio” from this tiny Baltic country will be the first set of triplets to ever compete in the same sport, one that they only took up seriously at the age of 24.

In Their Words: "It would be great... It's like our dream, and we know that we have to live in reality. It is very hard to compete against the Kenyan runners. We are not at the same kind of level as they are now, but in two or three years we can do that," they told Reuters.
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Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Name/Age: Simone Biles, 19
Sport: Gymnastics
Country: U.S.A.

Why She Rocks: Biles is the most decorated female gymnast in World Championships history, holding the World Championships record for most gold medals (10) won by a female gymnast, and she a has a signature move, “the Biles” named after her. She's nearly a shoo-in for the gold again, this time in her first Olympics.

In Her Words: “I’m really excited for the possibility of my first Olympic run. I have an amazing team behind me. It’s just so exciting, and I know everyone’s just so anxious, so when you have the best of teams supporting you, there’s just no other… It makes me feel so happy,” Biles told Refinery29.
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Name/Age: Allyson Felix, 30
Sport: Track & Field, 400-Meter Sprint
Country: U.S.A.

Why She Rocks: Nicknamed “Chicken Legs” in high school, Felix has gone on to become a six-time U.S. National 200-meter champion, and has clocked the fastest time in the world for the 400-meter sprint at this year’s U.S. Olympic trials despite a sprained ankle.

In Her Words: "I just gave it everything I had…Things were hitting me right and left, but giving up wasn't an option," she told Reuters.
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Name/Age: Oksana Chusovitina, 41
Sport: Gymnastics
Country: Uzbekistan

Why She Rocks: Chusovitina has been competing longer than most of her rivals have been alive. The only female gymnast to compete in six Olympic Games (beginning in 1992 when she helped the former-USSR team win gold), she will also be the oldest in Olympic history, after a 25-year career competing internationally for the former Soviet Union, the Unified Team, Germany, and finally, Uzbekistan.

In Her Words: "Am I old? I don’t feel old," she told The New York Times in 2012, adding, "Gymnastics keeps me young.
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