When women were barred from the ancient Olympic games, they created their own games. And while Muslim women still face athletic barriers, they too are finding a way.
On the left is Venus of Willendorf, a Stone Age “fertility goddess,” though we can only speculate about what these figurines originally meant, and to whom. I’m intrigued by the way goddess forms and poses are echoed in modern-day athletes. At right: Modeled on 2012 US Olympic weightlifter Holly Mangold, who competed in the superheavyweight division.
At left: An Egyptian fertility bird goddess – a blend of bird, woman, and deity with the often-seen raised-arm position. Many similar painted terra cotta figures, up to a foot tall, have been found in graves. Face is my own addition. At right: Nancy Hogshead-Makar, three-time Olympic gold medalist (plus one silver medal), graciously allowed me to use a famous photo of her as the model.
At left: Terracotta figurine found in ancient Greece (Mycenae). Presumed to be a goddess. With typical raised-arm position; wearing a full dress and beads on her head, neck, and dress. The face is hers; I gave it to the generic modern volleyball player, who needed one.