Stamata Revithi was a Greek woman who ran the 40-kilometre marathon during the 1896 Summer Olympics. The Games excluded women from competition, but Revithi insisted that she be allowed to run. Revithi ran one day after the men had completed the official race, and although she finished the marathon in approximately 5 hours and 30 minutes and found witnesses to sign their names and verify the running time, she was not allowed to enter the Panathinaiko Stadium at the end of the race. She intended to present her documentation to the Hellenic Olympic Committee in the hopes that they would recognize her achievement, but it is not known whether or not she did so. No known record survives of Revithi's life after her run. According to contemporary sources, a second woman, Melpomene, also ran the 1896 marathon race. There is debate among Olympic historians as to whether or not Revithi and Melpomene are the same person. (more...)
Portrait of a Maasai woman, with shaved head, stretched earlobes, and beaded adornments, typical of the Maasai culture. The Maasai are a Niloticethnic group of semi-nomadic people located in Kenya and northern Tanzania. They are among the best known of African ethnic groups, due to their distinctive customs and dress and residence near the many game parks of East Africa. Their primary language Maa (ɔl Maa) is a member of the Nilo-Saharan language family that is related to Dinka and Nuer.