1896: Women were not allowed to compete in the Athens I Summer Games.
1900: Female athletes (twenty-two) competed for the first time. They only participated in tennis in the Second Olympiad in Paris (France).
1904: Women made up 0.9% of all athletes participating in the III Summer Games in the American city of St.Louis.
1908: There were thirty-six female athletes during the IV Olympiad in London (United Kingdom).
1912: Aussie Fanny Durack became the first woman to win the 100m freestyle in the inaugural Swimming Competition, putting Australia on the world stage.
1920: Women made up 2.9% of all athletes participating in the multi-sport event in Antwerp, Belgium.
1924: There were 136 female athletes in the Games of the VIII Olympiad in Paris (France).
1928: Virginia Heriot of France won a sailing gold at the IX Olympic Games in the Netherlands. Followed that remarkable win, she became one of the most popular athletes in France.
1932: America’s Mildred Babe Didrickson was one of the most respected sportswomen in the Los Angeles Olympiad by capturing two Olympian titles– 80m hurdles and javelin throw. As well as winning golds in her homeland country of America, she also captured one silver in high jump. Didrickson’s golds was an inspiration to all athletes in the United States and other regions of the world.
1936: In the Berlin Olympics, Holland’s Olympic squad was a powerhouse in women’s swimming by earning five events and after defeating many contestants from the United States.
1948: Holland’s athlete Fanny Blankers-Koen made history when she picked up a total of four golds at the London Summer Olympics. This Dutch athlete was the first woman to capture 4 Olympic titles in a single Olympics. Following her achievement in the British Olympiad, she became an athletic icon in women’s sport around the globe.
1948: Despite Julia Iriarte’s impressive achievements in the Latin American events, she could not compete in the Olympiad in Britain. Bolivia, her country, wasn’t a official member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
1952: Australia had a big performance in women’s sport in the XV Olympiad in Helsinki (Finland) with Marjorie Jackson and Shirley Strickland (track-and-field).
1956: Patricia McCormick of the United States won golds in both spingboard and platform diving in Melbourne (Australia), becoming one of the most successful female divers in swimming history. She earned four Olympic titles at two consecutive Games.
1960: Wilma Rudolph’s three Olympian golds shocked the world, becoming America one of the top leaders in women’s sport in the Games of the XVII Olympiad on Italian soil.
1964: Donna Varona captured two golds in the Olympic Swimming Competition at the Tokyo Olympics.
1968: America’s remarkable young swimming star Debbie Meyer attracted much global attention following her win with three swimming gold medals at the Mexico Summer Olympics.
1972: Tiny Malawi, an Anglophone country in sub-Sharan Africa, sent Rabel Saeluzika (sprinter) to West Germany to attend the Summer Olympics, becoming one of the first female athletes in the Games.
1972: The Munich Olympic Volleyball Championship was won by the Soviet Union/USSR, with the leadership of Inna Ryskal (who was born in the then Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan), following its win over Japan 3-2 in the gold-medal match. Both medalists were followed by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which earned the bronze medal. In West Germany also competed five others sides from America and Europe, including Cuba (winner of the Cali Pan American Games in 1971) and Hungary.
1976: Women’s basketball made its Olympic debut at Montreal’76.
1976: Romania’s international star Nadia Comaneci achieved seven perfect scores (10s) in the Olympic Gymnastics Tournament in Montreal, Canada, allowing her winning three golds. Nobody had achieved even one 10 before. Prior to escaping from Romania, she had been Good-Will Ambassador for Romania’s Communist regime.
1980: Women’s field hockey made its first appearance in the multi-sport event which was held in the former Soviet Union. Due to international boycott, the women’s side from Netherlands — 1978 World Champion following a victory over West Germany in the finals-did not take part in the Moscow Olympiad. Astonishingly, the sub-Saharan republic of Zimbabwe, the world’s youngest country at the time, made its Olympian debut winning the inaugural women’s field hockey tournament.
1984: American swimmer Tracy Caulkins won three gold medals at the Los Angeles Games, becoming one of the most succesful swimmers in the 1980s. During her athletic career, she established sixty-three national records and five world records.
1984: Led by its world-class athlete Flora Hyman, the women’s volleyball team of America won its first Olympic medal at Los Angeles’84. By 1982, she, who is also known as “Flo”, headed the American delegation at the FIVB World Championships in South America, after being named one of the world’s most outstanding players, together with Lang Ping (China), in November 1981.
1988: Florence Griffith Joyner became one of the international stars in the Seoul Olympics upon capturing three gold medals and setting a world record in the women’s 100m.
1992: America’s sprinter Evelyn Ashford competed in the Barcelona Games; her fifth Olympiad. Historically, she was a member of five US Olympic National Teams in the 70s, 80s and early 90s: Montreal’76, Los Angeles’84, Seoul’88, and Barcelona’92. By 1980, she qualified for the 1980 Moscow Games, but did not take part in these Olympics due to American boycott led by US President Jimmy Carter.
1996: For the second time in a row, America’s sprinter Gail Devers won the 100m in the Summer Olympics. On the other hand, the women’s soccer competition was won by US squad, spearheaded by Mia Hamm, the most famous soccer player in US history.
1996: Denmark won the Olympic Atlanta Handball Championship upon its win over South Korea. Hungary was brnze medalist, followed by Norway, the People’s Republic of China, Germany, Angola, and host country.
2000: New Olympic sports for women were added at the Summer Games: hammer throw, modern pentathlon, taekwondo, triathlon, and weightlifting.
2000: Teresa Edwards and her fellow American players attracted the world attention when they won their four Olympic title in women’s basketball on Australian soil.
2000: Women made up 42.0% of all athletes participating in the Summer Olympics on Australian soil.
2004: Surprisingly, Zimbabwe’s top athlete Kirstly Coventry was one of the winners in women’s swimming by winning the 200m backstroke final with a mark of 2:09.19, setting a new African record. She added two other medals in aquatics. Following her victory in the Greek capital of Athens, she was received by the highest-ranking Zimbabwean political authorities. Coventry became the African country’s first athlete to win an individual gold medal.
2004: Women winning 60% of China’s gold medals.
2008: The women’s softball team of America became the last gold medalist in Olympic history by finishing first in the Olympic Softball Competition at the Beijing Games. Due to lack of international popularity in the world, softball was cancelled as an Olympic sport in the next Summer Games.
2012: United States defeated Japan in the gold-medal match to win the Olympic title in the Olympic Soccer Tournament at the 2012 London Olympics.
2012: The Women’s Volleyball Championship was won by Brazil’s side for the second time in a row following its win over the United States in the gold-medal game in London.