London Olympics 2012: More sportswomen than ever before

London 2012 will see more women athletes contend than ever in the history of the Games.

The total number of women taking part is 4,688, making up 46% of the Games' competitors – in 1908 male competitors outnumbered females 53 to one.

Team GB alone boasts an incredible 262 women.



Brazilian Judo fighter Sarah Menezes hopes to secure the first ever Olympic gold medal for her country.

36-year-old Scot Katherine Grainger has a trilogy of Olympic silver medals to her name and is on track for gold this summer with her double sculls partner, Anna Watkins.  

Sheffield-born Heptathlete Jessica Ennis, aside from being favourite to snatch up gold, is on course to earn £1 million for the Games – the first female athlete ever to do so.

Athlete Christine Ohuruogu is Britain’s only reigning Olympic athletics champion to date.

Some female athletes are well-known worldwide for their role in sports. Some have even stolen the show as models, such as Maria Sharapova and Ana Ivanovic, or Ysinbayeva Yelena, who received the 2009 Prince of Asturias Award for Sport.

As the countdown approaches its end, the athletes prepare for the dream of a lifetime. All eyes and hopes will be on them as they proudly defend the colors of their home flag.

Here we look at some of the female Olympian hopefuls from around the globe.