Women's Gold Medalists - Rio 2016 by Wendy Fox

Women’s Gold Medalists, Rio Olympics 2016 is a meticulously illustrated 105 page book documenting all the women who won gold medals. It provides visual information on the athletes and their respective data in 5 parts - the results by sport, anthropometrics, country, skill and history. The project was created in reaction to the fact that women’s sport receives approximately 5% of media coverage and that this coverage has a tendency to value aesthetics over athletics. In addition to this, historically there has been very little anthropological data collected about female athletes.

The purpose of the project is to represent female athletes as positive role models as well as showing the athletic potential of women by celebrating diversity in body types. To do this, each gold medalist and therefore each sporting event are given equal coverage. Girls cannot be what they cannot see and what they generally see during the coverage of the Olympics is dominated by the ‘feminine’ sports such as gymnastics, swimming, diving and beach volleyball. Specific physical traits vital to elite sport are found in a wide range of body types. This diversity is remarkable and exactly what should be embraced. It provides an opportunity for girls and young women, to find empowerment through the many benefits of participation.

The information is provided in five parts:
Part 1 - Results by event. Arranged by sport from A-Z, the athletes are illustrated on a datum with their respective name, nationality, anthropometric data and event(s).
Part 2 - Anthropometric data. The athletes are represented, by age height and weight.
Part 3 - Skill. Each sport is rated based on 10 skills.
Part 4 - Country. Gold medalists by country and sport.
Part 5 - History. Infographic of women’s inclusion in the Olympics.

The design process starts with collecting data on each athlete from the Rio website. Reference images of the athletes competing were found online. Each athlete is illustrated in the same pose wearing the uniform they were wearing in the event that earned them their gold medal. Given that their faces are left intentionally blank, many individuating details are represented. These include, body shape, skin colour, hair style, footwear, eye wear, support bandages and accessories. The vector style of illustration was chosen as it is universally engaging, informational and a departure from the depiction of female athletes as sexual objects.