IWD 2019: The women who have had an epic 12 months

To mark International Women's Day, here's a selection of sports figures who have made their mark in the past 12 months.

Simone Biles

Simone Biles

In the past 12 months, Simone Biles has gone from being the greatest gymnast in the world, to a symbol of resilience and mental toughness AND the greatest gymnast in the world.

After taking two years off competition following Rio 2016, the Olympic champion immediately added to her medal collection on her return - with all-around gold at the US Classics thanks to the highest score ever recorded there.

She then came first in every event across two days of competition at the US National Championships. But her message there was about more than just sport.

Biles wore teal - the designated colour to represent survivors of sexual abuse. Seven months earlier she had spoken publicly for the first time about being sexually abused by former USA gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar.

"I know this horrific experience does not define me," she said. "I am much more than this."

She continued to show that at the World Championships. On the eve of qualification she was sent to hospital with stomach pains caused by kidney stones.

After checking herself out of hospital, she won six medals - four of which were gold.

Dina Asher-Smith

Dina Asher-Smith

Dina Asher-Smith has been on the fringes of greatness since taking 100m gold at the World Junior Championships in 2014. In 2018, she cemented her position as the UK's queen of athletics.

At the Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast, 'DAS' won bronze in an extremely competitive 200m, beating Jamaica's double Olympic champion Elaine Thompson. How to follow that? What about helping England take gold in the 4x100m relay in a new national record time?

Fast forward to the European Championships in Berlin, and Asher-Smith's dominance of the sprint fields was indisputable.

The 23-year-old took triple gold - in the 100m, 200m, and 4x100m relay - in world-leading times and was named the women's European Athlete of the Year.

Off the track, she has been praised as a black icon in youth culture, appearing in music videos, in 'best-dressed' columns and on fashion magazine covers.

Lindsey Vonn

Lindsey Vonn

Regarded by many as the most famous face in winter sports, Lindsey Vonn bowed out of ski racing in style - winning downhill bronze at the World Alpine Championships in Sweden in February.

The former Olympic and world champion retired with a record 82 World Cup race wins to her name - a tally no woman (and only one man) has bettered.

But Vonn, 34, isn't just a record-breaker - she is determined to leave a legacy.

"The lack of arrogance from such a superstar is staggering," former British skier Chemmy Alcott told BBC Sport.

"She has an amazing friendship with, and has actually mentored, one of her closest rivals - Sofia Goggia - over the past couple of years."

Rather than close the door behind her, Vonn chose to lay the tracks - so to speak - for the next generation of superstars, and they all credit her as their inspiration.

Georgia Hall

Georgia Hall

The day after winning the Women's British Open, England's Georgia Hall told BBC Breakfast she was named after the US state in which the Masters is played.

"It's lucky I play golf isn't it?" she joked. But winning her first major title at the age of 22 wasn't luck.

Hall, the world number eight, produced the performance of her career to claim victory at Royal Lytham & St Annes in August.

She dropped just three shots in the whole tournament - that's not luck. She was also voted Players' Player of the Year - that's not luck either.

In November, Hall became the youngest player to win two consecutive Ladies' European Tour Order of Merit titles.

"My main goal is to become world number one," she said.

After the year she's had, you'd be a fool to doubt her.

Lizzie Armanto

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Watch Lizzie Armanto complete 360-degree Tony Hawk Loop

"Hands down the gnarliest thing I have done on a skateboard."

Those were Lizzie Armanto's words after she became the first woman to complete the infamous Tony Hawk loop.

The 26-year-old from Santa Monica, California defied gravity to land what is seen as one of the most dangerous stunts in skateboarding.

"Being the first female is just the cherry on top of the whole situation," she says.

"Only about 20 people have ever managed to do it so I wouldn't want to demean how gnarly it is by saying 'I'm a woman and I did this' - it's gnarly whether you're male or female."

Armanto is one of the best skateboarders in the world, has won two X-Games medals and was even a videogame character in Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5.

She has dual citizenship and will compete for Finland at the Tokyo Olympics next year. Watch this space...

Alyssa Healy

Alyssa Healy

Australian cricketer Alyssa Healy has etched her name into the record books for various reasons over the last 12 months.

First, the 'serious' stuff. The 28-year-old was pivotal in Australia's ICC World Twenty20 victory, finishing as the tournament's top scorer with 225 runs. She was also player of the match in each of her team's three group-stage victories, and was named the player of the tournament.

But she also became the world record holder for the 'highest catch of a cricket ball'. If you get the chance, watch her catching a ball from a drone flying at 82.5m above the MCG in Melbourne. It looks like it stung.

Ana Carrasco

Ana Carrasco and a grid boy

In September, Ana Carrasco became the first woman to win a motorbike world title by winning the World Supersport 300 series.

The 21-year-old Spaniard has become a role model for women and girls hoping to get involved in motorsport.

She underlined her point when she appeared on the starting grid next to a bare-chested male model, saying: "Women don't have to just be grid girls - they can race too."

For the first three years of her Moto3 career, Carrasco did not receive a salary - only money to cover her expenses - despite becoming the first woman in over a decade to score World Championship points.

She is now studying part-time for a degree in law and hopes to become the first woman to compete for the World Superbike title.

"After winning the title I think they [her rivals] have even more respect for me - not because I'm a woman but because everyone respects the world champion," she said.

Ada Hegerberg

Ada Hegerberg

In December, Lyon and Norway striker Ada Hegerberg became the first ever recipient of the Women's Ballon d'Or.

The 23-year-old had scored in last year's Champions League final - helping Lyon beat Wolfsburg 4-1 - and was the competition's leading scorer with 15 goals.

But the awards night was overshadowed as, during the ceremony, co-host Martin Solveig asked Hegerberg: "Do you know how to twerk?" She dismissed the question with a simple: "No."

A few days later, Hegerberg wrote a piece for The Players' Tribune in which she said she "wasn't here to dance. I am here to play football".

She added: "I could speak for hours about equality, and what needs to change in football, and in society as a whole. But in the end, everything comes back to respect."

Naomi Osaka

Naomi Osaka

The past 12 months of Naomi Osaka's career read something like a movie script.

In March came her real breakthrough performance as she won at Indian Wells - perhaps the biggest tournament on the women's tour after the Grand Slams.

A week later she faced childhood idol Serena Williams at the Miami Open, and beat her in straight sets.

The next time the two went head-to-head was at the US Open final. Osaka's first Grand Slam win was overshadowed by Williams' on-court outburst, and the 21-year-old was determined to prove her dominance was no fluke.

She did just that at the Australian Open in January - beating two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova to claim her second consecutive Grand Slam title.

Her rise to superstardom has taken her by surprise, too, and her humility was obvious when she spoke of how "honoured" she felt to be seen as a role model.

"A lot of parents have been coming up to me telling me their children look up to me," she said. "Those words blew me away."

Maisie Summers-Newton

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Gold medals and GCSE results - quite a week for Summers-Newton

Maisie Summers-Newton. Remember the name. Because if she continues on the path she's been on in the past year, she will be a star in Tokyo next year.

Summers-Newton beat five-time Paralympic champion Ellie Simmonds to gold at the European Para-Swimming Championships - and did it while doing her GCSEs.

Prior to that, Simmonds had been unbeaten in the SM6 200m individual medley since 2009.

Summers-Newton, who is only 16, has achondroplasia (dwarfism) and was inspired by watching Simmonds at London 2012.

She spent last year combining training with studying and the medley gold was one of two individual titles for her in Dublin - she also won 100m breaststroke gold.

The England netball team

England netball team

For many British schoolgirls, netball will have been their first experience of team sport, so a lot of women have a fond sense of ownership of it.

So when the England netball team, coached by Tracey Neville, snatched Commonwealth gold against the mighty Australia, in Australia, we celebrated like we were a part of the team.

The public voted the victory as the 'Greatest Sporting Moment' of 2018 at BBC Sports Personality of the Year, beating some huge moments, including the England football team's World Cup penalty shootout win.

According to a YouGov report commissioned by England Netball, 130,700 women have started playing netball or playing more netball as a result of the Commonwealth Games.

And that trend could increase, with Liverpool hosting the World Cup in July.

Laura Muir

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Muir wins second successive European Indoors double

There are few more thrilling sights in athletics than Laura Muir hitting the accelerator and storming clear of a world-class field.

The Scot looked unbeatable at the recent European Indoor Championships, taking gold in the 1500m and 3,000m, two years after doing likewise in Belgrade.

Steve Cram, who commentated on her races in Glasgow, regards her as "one of the best indoor runners ever".

But her talents do not only lie indoors - in 2018 she also clinched two Diamond League titles and an outdoor European Championship gold.

Oh, and when she didn't have her spikes on, she became a fully qualified vet.

Double Olympic 1500m gold medallist Sebastian Coe believes there is "absolutely no question" she can win Olympic gold at Tokyo 2020. No pressure.

Alex Scott

Alex Scott

Former Arsenal and England right-back Alex Scott has made the transition from footballer to pundit look easy.

She made history by becoming the first female pundit in a BBC World Cup team - in Russia last year - and was aware her performance could have a wider impact on women in football.

"There's a responsibility of inspiring the next generation of females watching me," she said.

"Not everyone's going to make it as an elite footballer but this shows young girls at home there are other avenues."

She was a hit with viewers and critics, and was nominated for a prestigious Sports Journalism Award.

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