17 Women Who Made Olympic History

© JIM YOUNG/Reuters/Corbis

In 1900, the Olympic Games in Paris were the first to allow women to compete -- although golf and lawn tennis were the only sports to include women's-only events. Since then, the events have attracted an increasing number of incredible female athletes from around the world, with women comprising 44.2 percent of competitors at the 2012 London Olympics, and at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, the Nordic combined is the only event in which women don't compete.

Although by no means a comprehensive list of every impressive female Olympic athlete, the following 17 women are meant to highlight the broad range of their achievements regardless of age or sport.