Rebecca is the best of British

Last week’s column was partly an appeal to find the greatest ever British sportsperson, but only three women - Jessica Ennis-Hill, Tanni Gray-Thompson and Paula Radcliffe - were even mentioned in despatches.

Thursday, 31st January 2019, 3:30 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 7:11 pm
Rebecca Romero.

As I’ve always been equality-conscious here are my top six greatest British sportswomen of all time.

I didn’t consider lady footballers or cricketers as the standard is so poor.

1) Others have won more medals and broken more records than Rebecca Romero but few have conquered two competitive sports well enough to win world gold medals in both.

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Jessica Ennis-Hill.

Romero reached the summit in cycling and rowing, adding Olmypic silver medals in both disciplines.

2) Tanni Grey-Thompson competed in paralympic sport when it was less competitive than now, but the sheer weight of her numbers makes Grey-Thompson one of the all-time greats. She won 11 paralympic golds, six world titles and set 30 world records over all sorts of distances.

3) Laura Kenny (nee Trott) is both the most successful female track cyclist in Olympic history and Great Britain’s most successful Olympic female competitor in any sport.

Kenny won two cycling golds at the London 2012 Olympics and two more in 2016 in Rio. She has won also seven World Championship golds, a record eleven European Championship and one Commonwealth Games titles and a whopping 29 major medals in total.

Tanni Grey-Thompson.

4) Mary Peters’ achievement in winning pentathlon Olympic gold is superior to that of Jessica Ennis-Hill in the heptathlon.

Peters won hers in 1972 when GB athletics was in a sorry state. She won the only athletics gold claimed by GB in Munich. She had none of the funding or support that Ennis-Hill enjoyed almost 30 years later. Peters also won gold at a time when Eastern Eureopan drug abuse was at its strongest.

5) Virginia Wade is the only GB lady tennis player to have won three different Grand Slam titles. Wade won the US Open, the Australian Open and, most memorably Wimbledon in 1977 in front of Queen Elizabeth II who was celebrating her Silver Jubilee.

6) Jessica Ennis-Hill might be inferior to Peters, but she is still worthy of inclusion on any elite list.

Her gold at her home Olympics in 2012 was one of the standout moments at a memorable Games for GB.

Her comeback from prgnancy (she missed the entire 2014 season) to win a third world title was remarkable.

Let me know your top GB sportswomen. Victoria Pendleton, Denise Lewis and Rebecca Adlington narrowly missed out on my list.