Rio 2016: Gold for Team Tall

Last week, 4’8 ft gymnast Simone Biles tweeted a pic of her standing next to 6’8 volleyball player David Lee. Her caption was ‘Size difference in Olympians doesn’t matter, depending on what sport you do’. This sparked me to look into what other sports than basketball and volleyball tall women have excelled at during Rio 2016, so I’ve put together a list of female gold medal winners taller than 5ft9 / 1.80m, and it seems that we are dominating in disciplines either on or in the water… 

Before we go to tall wins, let me tell you a secret: gymnastics is not for us tall girls… Sorry. The majority of gymnasts are petite, and the aforementioned 4ft8 Simone Biles is the leading lady here bringing home four gold medals and a bronze one from the 2016 Olympics alone. So let’s be realistic and leave this for Team Short.


Fear not, tall girls bagged plenty of gold on the following disciplines:

Brit Heather Stanning 1.81m / 5ft95
Australian Kimberley Brennan at 1.88m / 6’2ft.
American Kerrie Simmonds at 1.80m / 5’9ft
American Elle Logan at 1.88m / 6ft2
American Amanda Elmore at 1.80m / 5’9ft
American Lauren Schmetterling at 1.81m / 5ft95
Ozzie Kim Crow at 1.88m / 6ft2

Tall women were dominating the pool, look at how many of them won gold:
Canadian Penny Oleksiak at 1.85m / 6ft1
American Simone Manuel at 1.80m / 5ft9
American Katie Ledecky at 1.83m / 6ft
Swede Sarah Sjostrom at 1.85m / 6ft1
Ozzie Emma McKeon at 1.80m / 5ft9
American Dana Vollmer at 1.83m / 6ft
American Allison Schmitt at 1.85m / 6ft1
Ozzie Cate Campbell at 1.86m / 6ft1
American Missy Franklin at 1.87m / 6ft15
American Kelsi Worrell at 1.80m / 5ft9


Water Polo
American Sami Hill at 1.80m / 5ft9
American Kami Craig at 1.80m / 5ft9
American Maddie Musselman at 1.81m / 5ft95
American Caroline Clark at 1.88m / 6ft2
American Makenzie Fisher at 1.86 / 6ft1

Shaunae Miller from the Bahamas at 1.85m / 6ft1
Caterine Ibarguen from Colombia at 1.80m / 5ft9
Sandra Perkovich from Croatia at 1.83m / 6ft
Nafissatou Thiam from Belgium at 1.84m / 6ft
Ruth Beitia from Spain at 1.86m / 6ft15


Fellow Dutchie Elis Ligtlee standing at 1.85m / 6ft1 won gold for my country.

Field Hockey
GB player Crista Cullen stands 1.82m / 6ft

I know they’re the usual suspects for ‘tall sports’, but just to give you an idea of the height of the ladies who are lucky enough to be answering ‘yes’ to the “do you play basketball/volleyball” question and won gold whilst doing that:

Beach volleyball
German Laura Ludwig at 1.81m / 5ft95

Team USA won gold and the height of the ladies on this team varies between 1.80m/5ft9 and 2.03m/6ft8.

The Chinese Team won gold in volleyball, with ladies between 1.71m/5ft7 and 2.01m/6ft7.


So if you don’t want to play basketball or volleyball but you were wondering what sport club to join in stead, I’d suggest going to the closest pool or rowing club you can find, and perhaps you’ll find some fellow tall girls there! 🙂


  • Reply
    Rachel Broome
    22 August 2016 at 14:24

    yes I’ve been trying to encourage my tall 17 year old to get into something like rowing, volleyball. Sleeping seems to be her thing though…. 😉

    • Reply
      Tall Wife
      22 August 2016 at 23:38

      Haha, I was great at that too at 17… 🙂

  • Reply
    22 August 2016 at 15:19

    Love this! Way to kick butt in Rio tall ladies.


    • Reply
      Tall Wife
      22 August 2016 at 23:39

      🙂 Yes, go Team Tall!

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