Your feminist-friendly guide to the women of the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics: meet murderballer Kylie Grimes.
Country: from Aldershot in England, she plays for Great Britain and Northern Ireland AKA Team GB.
Sport: Wheelchair rugby, affectionately known as “murderball” in Canada, or in the USA, quad rugby. There are up to 12 players on each team, with only four players from each team on the court at one time. Players’ functional abilities are scored on a points basis from 0.5 to 3.5, and the points assigned to the four players on the court cannot exceed 8: this is to ensure that a team can’t play more than one of their highest-ability players at the same time. Grimes’s score is 0.5, which means she mainly plays as a blocker and is not expected to score many goals for the team.
Likely to win: a medal. Team GB came fourth in Beijing, and with five from that same team and six new players – including Grimes – they won silver at the European Championships in 2011. With just eight countries competing in London, Grimes is confident of their chances:
We’re sixth in the world at the moment but we’ve been playing so much better than that…We’ve beaten fifth-placed Canada and Japan, who are sitting third. We’re a very young squad who have been playing extremely well.
The USA will be the team to beat, having won every Paralympic games and World Championships since 2006.
Other reasons she’s interesting: Wheelchair rugby is one of the few disciplines in London 2012 that men and women compete on the same teams – the other is equestrian (both Olympian and Paralympian). Despite that, Grimes is the only woman on the 11-person Team GB wheelchair rugby team and only the second woman ever to play the sport for her country (the other being Josie Pearson).
She’s also only been playing for two years, so her selection in May this year was a pleasant surprise. No stranger to contact sports – rugby and football – before her accident six years ago, Grimes loves the full-on, aggressive, and, at times, injurious play:
It’s part of the game and it makes it more exciting. You know, I’ve broken my neck – what more can I do?
Tickets for the wheelchair rugby games in London 2012 have sold out in record time, so here’s hoping Kylie has strong home support to cheer her and the team on to the medal podium.
Watch her: from September 5th at 2pm (GMT).
Other Women to Watch and When (all times GMT):
Sarah Attar (Saudi Arabia, 800m sprint): Sarah ran in her heat on the 8th of August: she came last but got a standing ovation from the stadium. Her teammate Wodjan Sheherkani did in fact compete and lost – as expected – but she made history as the first ever woman to represent Saudi Arabia at the Olympics.
Amantle Montsho (Botswana, 400m sprint): won her heat on the 3rd; won her semi-final on the 4th, qualifying for the final with the fifth-fastest time. She came fourth in the final by 0.03 of a second, losing the bronze to US athlete DeeDee Trotter.
Katie Taylor (Ireland, boxing): Katie beat the UK’s Natasha Jonas 26-15 to reach the semi-finals, where she took on Tajikistan’s Mazvuna Chorieva, beating her 17-9. She beat Russian Sofia Ochigava 10-8 in the final to lift Ireland’s first gold of this Olympics and the first ever gold for women’s Olympic boxing. I’m very damn proud of her.