The Extraordinary story of Lottie Dod, the world's first female sports superstar. By Sasha Abramsky.
Winner of Wimbledon when she was only fifteen, Dod also won a silver medal at the 1908 Olympics, won the British Ladies Amateur Golf Championship and played hockey for England among many other dazzling achievements. In the late 19th century, she was almost certainly the second most famous woman in the British Isles after Queen Victoria.
She was fawned over by the press, and loved by a huge fan base which composed poems and songs in her honour, followed her from one tournament to the next, voraciously read every profile published on her and every report on her sporting triumphs. Yet, within a decade or two of her retirememt from competition, Dod was largely a forgotten figure. She lived, unmarried and childless, until 1960, and for the last half of her life she was shrouded in obscurity.
In this astonishing new book, Sasha Abramsky brings Dod's remarkable achievements back into the public eye in a fascinating story of resilience and determination, contextualising it against a backdrop of rapid social change and tectonic shifts in the status of women in society. Dod was born into a world in which even upper-class women such as herself could not vote, were restricted in owning property, and were assumed to be fragile and delicate. Women of Lottie Dod's class were expected not to work and to definitely get married. Dod turned that equation on its head and instead put her heart and soul into becoming the best athlete she could possibly be, and in doing so became one of the pioneers to pave the way for the likes of Billie Jean King, Serena Williams and the top female athletes of today. She accepted no limits, no glass ceilings, believed she could compete with the top men in whatever sport she set her sights on, and always refused to compromise.
Format: Paperback, 262 pages
Dimensions: 13.4 x 21.5 x 2cm
Publisher: Arena Sport
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