“The Flying Housewife”

Nicknamed “The Flying Housewife”, she was Fanny Blankers-Koen of the Netherlands.  Arguably the greatest female athlete of the 20th century, one of the greatest olympians of all time, and a pioneer in the fight for equal rights and opportunity for women.

72 years ago today, the 1948 summer Olympics began in London. Because of World War Two, the Olympics had not been held since 1936. Europe was still ravaged. London was chosen because it had the facilities from hosting the Olympics previously. There was no Olympic village. Germany and Japan were not invited, the Soviet Union chose not to attend.
The world needed something to feel good about. They need a star to cheer for. Fanny Blankers- Koen would be that star.
She had participated in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. Soon after she got married and had two kids. At the time, married women did not compete in athletics, and certainly not mothers.
When she returned to competition, some said she was too old. Many critics said she should be at home raising her children.
She felt she could be both a world class athlete and great mother. She didn’t say much, other than “I’ll show you.”
She was 30 years old during the 1948 Olympics, at which she won four gold medals. The world fell in love with her, cheering for “The Flying Housewife.”
In total, she would set or tie 12 world records, the last at age 33.
Most importantly, she would show the world that being a wife and a mother did not mean you could not be an athlete.
Thank you to all of the inspiring women who whether it be athletics or another endeavor, continue to amaze us all by being great at motherhood but not limited by it.

Thank you to Fanny and the others who blazed the trail.

Follow the Unfinished Pyramid at Unfinishedpyr

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