FANNY BLANKERS-KOEN / by Molly Schiot

Dutch housewife and mother of two Blankers-Koen stunned the sporting world when she won four gold medals at the 1948 London Olympics.  Taking a defiant stance against sexism and ageism, the 30 year old ignored critics who felt she had no business competing in sport: "One newspaperman wrote that I was too old to run, that I should stay at home and take care of my children. When I got to London, I pointed my finger at him and I said: 'I show you'." Blankers-Koen's medal haul earned her the nickname "the Flying Housewife" and remains the largest of any female track and field athlete at a single Olympics. In 1999, she was voted the Top Female Athlete of the 20th Century by the International Amateur Athletic Federation. 

Dutch housewife and mother of two Blankers-Koen stunned the sporting world when she won four gold medals at the 1948 London Olympics.  Taking a defiant stance against sexism and ageism, the 30 year old ignored critics who felt she had no business competing in sport: "One newspaperman wrote that I was too old to run, that I should stay at home and take care of my children. When I got to London, I pointed my finger at him and I said: 'I show you'." Blankers-Koen's medal haul earned her the nickname "the Flying Housewife" and remains the largest of any female track and field athlete at a single Olympics. In 1999, she was voted the Top Female Athlete of the 20th Century by the International Amateur Athletic Federation.