The hunt for BT’s Action Woman of the Year 2015 is underway and every month BT Sport will be highlighting potential contenders.

But it’s not just down to us – we want you to nominate the sportswomen who have impressed you most, using the #ActionWoman hashtag on Twitter.

At the end of the year, 10 nominees will make the final shortlist and it will be up to the public to vote for who they want to succeed 2014 winner Charlotte Dujardin as Action Woman of the Year.

Katie Summerhayes

Katie Summerhayes became the first British female medal winner at the World Freestyle Ski and Snowboard Championships.

While Britain’s North has been struggling with plenty of snow over the past few weeks, 19-year-old Sheffield lass Katie Summerhayes can’t get enough of it: “I don’t ever get tired of the snow, I really love it.

“When it comes to the UK everything just shuts down because no one is used to it, which is a bit annoying, but I love snow because it enables me to do what I love.”


And she’s pretty good at what she’s doing. Putting the ‘action’ into Action Woman, Summerhayes this month became the first British woman to win a medal at the World Freestyle Ski and Snowboard Championships.

While some of the top skiers were hitting it up in Aspen for the famous X Games, Summerhayes jumped at the chance – literally – to take a historic world championship silver in the freestyle skiing slopestyle final.

The sport is not one for the faint-hearted, but despite the dangers Katie’s parents have got used to their daughters – yes there are two of them – hitting the slopes regularly.

“I started at my local dry slope as a hobby and I loved it so much, I just carried on and kept learning new tricks. My sister was at the world championships competing as well and came eleventh at halfpipe.

“I think my parents just loved that we were enjoying it. Plus, they ski as well, so they just enjoyed coming with us.”

Summerhayes wasn’t the only British winter sportswoman to impress in January as speed skater Elise Christie bounced back from heartbreak at last year’s Winter Olympics in Sochi, where she was disqualified in all three of her races, to be crowned overall Short Track European Champion.

Heather Watson

Heather Watson lifted her second WTA title in Hobart

“It’s the people who win tournaments who are remembered,” said Heather Watson after winning her second WTA singles titles in Perth, Australia, making her the first British woman to claim two WTA titles since Anne Hobbs in 1985.

“I was just so overwhelmed when I won my first title (in Osaka in 2012) and so, so happy to win it. This one felt more like I belonged, that it was where I should be. I really believed and backed myself to win it,” explained the 22-year-old tennis star from Guernsey, who started playing tennis at the age of seven.

Elementary! Watson secures Hobart title

Ranked 38th in the world and British no.1, Watson paired up with her male counterpart Andy Murray and the two played doubles together in the Hopman Cup a week before Watson took the singles title.

“Andy is a great role model for us British players. I felt blessed to have had the opportunity to play with him. He’s such a good person to look up to, he’s so nice and friendly. I learnt a lot from him on and off the court.”

Watson beat Madison Brengle (USA) 6-3, 6-4 in a match that lasted an hour-and-a half and was interrupted by heavy rain to lift the prestigious Hobart Cup.

Sadly, Mother Nature played a part in Watson’s defeat in the Australian Open the following week. The Brit spoke publically about “girl things” affecting her performance. “It was one of those days for me. I felt very light-headed and low on energy- it’s a shame that it’s today. The way I was feeling, it didn’t do me any favours.”

But another young talent kept the British flag flying in Melbourne as former Action Woman of the Year nominee Jordanne Whiley and her partner, Japan’s Yui Kamiji, successfully defended their Australian Open title in the wheelchair doubles – their fifth successive Grand Slam after completing the calendar slam last year.

Stephanie Roche

Stephanie Roche's sensational goal was runner-up for the Puskas Award

If the manager of Wexford Youths hadn’t decided to film his side’s clash at Peamount United in the Irish Bus Eireann National League back in October 2013, chances are Steph Roche would still be an unknown. Instead, she has been catapulted into the public eye with a speed and ferocity reminiscent of the goal that put her there.

And what a strike it was. Back to goal, two sublime flicked touches - one with each foot - and a scorching volley hammered home on the turn – all without the ball touching the ground.

Roche's sensational contender for FIFA's Goal of the Year Award

While a meagre crowd of 95 saw the goal in the flesh, Roche’s goal was an online sensation, amassing more than three million YouTube views and earning the 25-year-old Irishwoman a nomination for the prestigious FIFA Goal of the Year Award.

“It was my first goal of the season, so I was itching to score more than anything,” said Roche. “It wasn’t until maybe after the game when I’d seen the goal on the laptop when the Wexford manager called me over and showed it to me that I thought ‘ok that’s pretty special, I wouldn’t mind getting a copy of that for myself to have!’”

Becoming the first woman to lift the Puskas Award would have been the fairytale ending for Roche but it wasn’t to be as she lost out to Colombia’s James Rodriguez and his World Cup wonder volley against Uruguay.

However, Manchester United fan Roche did land a third of the 3.3million votes cast to beat Robin van Persie, one of her heroes, into third place.

Sarah Outen

Sarah Outen on the last leg of her attempt to loop the planet by human power only. (Photo: Justine Curgenven)

When actress Reese Witherspoon bought the rights to the story of a young woman who went into the American wilderness, hiking alone along 1000 miles of the Pacific Crest Trial, she was being acutely perceptive. The role in the film ‘Wild’, set in the American wilderness, has just won her an Oscar Nomination.

Sarah Outen’s adventure is like ‘Wild’ - only wilder. Currently on the last leg of her attempt to loop the planet by human power only, the 29-year-old Englishwoman has encountered every obstacle from nature’s most vicious storms to her own emotional breakdown - and triumphantly survived. The adventure, begun on April 1, 2011, continues this month with a gruelling cycle ride en-route to New York.

Outen is on the last leg of an incredible journey around the globe

On New Year’s Day Outen, who is cycling, kayaking and rowing her way around the globe, crossed the border from Canada into the US and is riding Hercules, her bike, just now via New York to Cape Cod. She plans to row the Atlantic (“nipping out to sea,” she calls it) starting in May and arrive back in London again in the autumn - the end of her extraordinary human-powered adventure circumnavigation.

“There’s a risk to everything, isn’t there?” said Outen. “I’d much rather be happy about having a go than failing to get out there and try.

“It’s a beautiful thing to be alone.  Rowing solo that first time across the Indian Ocean came quite easily to me. My mind opened. It’s a total immersion in a different world.”

Click here to read Outen’s full story


Sport England's #ThisGirlCan campaign was a hit online

“At first sweating may seem gross but you have to put your shoulders back and hold your head high when you leave the gym or finish a run because having a sweaty face shows you’ve achieved something. It’s possible to sweat and look good,” says Victoria, a 29-year-old pediatric nurse in A& E in East London.

And, in Sport England’s This Girl Can advert, which has had over 5million views on YouTube, trended on Twitter, been shown in cinemas and train stations, and launched itself in all its wobbly, sweaty, refreshingly ‘normal’ glory into the consciousness of the British public, Victoria does sweat. As does Sam as she runs steadily and determinedly up a hill; as does Julie shaking her thing in a Zumba class and Lara doing battle with the rowing machine.

Clare Balding talks 'This Girl Can'

Sport England’s This Girl Can campaign aims to break down the barriers that stop millions of women exercising by using women of all shapes, sizes and sporting abilities in the advert. Research has shown that fear or judgement of the primary barrier to women doing more exercise, now Sport England, with their campaign which has attracted the support of millions on social media have struck a real chord.

Set to the beat of Missy Elliot’s ‘Get Your Freak On’, This Girl Can is a call to action for women across the country, and coming from women who actually look like themselves, it may just work.

Victoria, Grace, Kelly and all the This Girl Can women - we salute you.