Join me as I create an illustrated book & poster of all the amazing women who will win gold medals in the 2016 Rio Olympics.
About this project
Hi, I am Wendy Fox and I am getting ready to illustrate all the women who will win gold medals at the 2016 Rio Olympics. I did this for the 2012 London Olympics as a poster and I’m doing it again but taking it one step further with a book and poster.
Girls and young women need positive role models.
The coverage of women’s sport in the media is 7% (81% for men).
Olympic recognition leads to funding which is particularly vital for women and even more so for women in developing countries.
Only one in ten 14-year-old girls do the required amount of weekly exercise.
Too many female athletes get media validation for appearance over performance.
There are plenty of sports out there that many people do not even know about.
To promote awareness, inspiration, education, health and acceptance.
Girls, women, athletes, coaches, teachers, schools, universities, sport clubs, sport institutes, historians, sport fans, researchers, design nerds and anyone interested in the intersection of sport, women and design.
2016 RIO OLYMPICS | WOMEN’S GOLD MEDALISTS WILL INCLUDE A BOOK AND A POSTER
POSTER 23.4″ x 33.1″ (A1 594 x 841 mm)
This will include Illustrations of all the women who will have won gold medals in Rio dressed in their athletic uniform with their respective sport, country, name, basic anthropometric information and the event that they won their gold medal in. The athletes will be arranged in height order.
The poster comes as either a limited edition art print (ships rolled) or as a poster (ships folded). The 2012 London Olympics poster is also available.
BOOK 11.7″ x 8.3″ (A4 landscape 297 x 210 mm) note: this is approximate
This will include Illustrations of all the women who will have won gold medals in Rio but will also provide relevant statistics and interesting information about the history of women in the Olympics.
While watching the 2012 London Olympics, I was awestruck by the athleticism of the female athletes as well as their physical diversity. Given how little media coverage there is of female athletes, I thought it would be interesting to create a visual infographic depicting each athlete’s sport, country, physical attributes and their accomplishments. With access to the London Olympics website, information was aggregated for the 276 women who won gold medals. Each Olympian is featured dressed in their athletic uniform, wearing their medal, lined up in height order.
The illustrations have been kept simple and graphic but with lots of personalising details. The London project included two posters, an interactive website and a short animated video. The project can be fully explored at womensgoldmedalists.com.
GOALS AND OBJECTIVES
I am excited about doing this all again for Rio and look forward to designing the book. Women’s Gold Medalists for London 2012 was a labour of love and released publicly in November 2014, a particularly non-eventful Olympics time. It received much interest from athletes, sports journalists. feminists, sport lovers and the design community but had no where near the impact or public relevance that it would have received if it had been released concurrently with the Olympics.
The intent for the 2016 Rio Olympics Women’s Gold Medalists is to continue to provide positive media exposure for elite female athletes. Women participate in 40% of all sport however media coverage for female athletes is at 4-7%. Astoundingly, the top hit on internet searches for ‘female athletes’ result in lists of the ‘hottest’ and ‘sexiest’ women in sport. Women, despite their gold medal athleticism are still objectified, sexualised and defined by how attractive they are, not by their athletic prowess. By presenting the data in a picturesque yet statistical way, I hope toinspire girls and women to see sporting opportunities where they may not have seen them previously and to increase interest in women’s sport.
It became apparent when I was researching images for reference where there was an abundance of media attention and where there was a discrepancy in coverage. It was easy to find images of the gymnasts and beach volleyball players but the less glamorous events like archery, judo and shooting were a much greater challenge. There is way too much media emphasis on what the female body looks like. I really want this project to celebrate what the female body can do. I would love for girls to look at this project and discover a sport that’s for them, especially a sport that they didn’t even know existed before and for them to make a conscious shift in their perception of what it is that their bodies are capable of.
The Olympics is the perfect time to impact the coverage of women in sport and that only happens every four years. Girls need to see female athletes held up the way men are. With a successful Kickstarter campaign this project will be seen by girls and young women all over the world very much in need of positive role models.
RECOGNITION FOR THE LONDON WOMEN’S GOLD MEDALISTS PROJECT
World Illustration Awards 2016 – shortlist
HOW Magazine 2016 International Design Awards – Best in show
Desktop Magazine’s 2015 Create Design Awards – Illustration winner
Society of Illustrators NY 58 Annual and Exhibit – Annual and Exhibit
Chicago Tribune – Heidi Steven’s wrote an inspiring piece about the project in her Chicago Tribune column ‘Balancing Act’.
BRIEF HISTORY OF WOMEN IN THE OLYMPICS
1900 First time women competed. There were a total of 997 athletes. Twenty two were women. They played tennis, sailing, croquet, equestrian and golf.
1928 Athletics and gymnastics were introduced for women.
1960 Women are ‘allowed’ to run more than 200 metres.
1984 The Marathon and Shooting events were introduced for women.
1991 Any new sport must have events for women 1996 Soccer was introduced for women.
2000 Weightlifting was included for women.
2004 Wrestling was introduced for women (freestyle only).
2000 38% of athletes competing were women.
2012 44% of athletes competing were women.
Boxing was introduced for women. The 2012 Olympics were the first games in which women competed in all sports and the first games in which every nation competing had at least one woman on their team. It was also the first time the USA had more women on it’s team than men.
2016 49% of athletes competing will be women.
I would like to offer a big heartfelt thank you to my family and the many friends who have offered support, wisdom, knowledge, time, patience and endless encouragement.
Risks and challenges
Given that I have been through this process before with the London 2012 Gold Medalists project I am very familiar and prepared with what is ahead of me if I am to be funded. That is to say my main challenge will be many hours of illustration, data collection and image research. Fortunately this is something I really enjoy. The new element will be designing the book version of the project and going into deeper research about female athletes, the anthropometrics of elite sport and relevant historical information pertaining to the history of women in the Olympics.
I have designed and produced a number of books and posters. I am familiar with the process and will be working closely with my printers. This project is an involved research, illustration, design and production process. I will be keeping backers regularly updated on every stage from the execution of the first illustration of a gold medal winner through to the final stage of production.