Alice Milliat is likely a name you’ve never heard. Much to my own chagrin, I hadn’t heard of her until very recently. What a shame. I can’t imagine she’d love being called a ‘babe’, but hey, that’s the brand and she was a complete badass… babe.
Born Alice Joséphine Marie Million in Nantes, France, Alice was a champion of the women’s sports movement in the 1920s and 1930s. She was one of the founders of the Fédération des Sociétés Féminines Sportives (FSFS) in France, eventually becoming its President. She later went on to found the International Women’s Sports Federation in 1921. Her greatest achievement, however, was her fight to have women included in Olympic sport. She simply believed women should have the same opportunity in sports as men (the thought!). Alice was ahead of her time.
Of course, Alice’s fight and efforts to include women in the Olympics (mainly track and field games at first) were refused by the IOC. Is anyone surprised? But this Babe didn’t crumble. Instead, she organized her own women’s competitions called (at the time) the Women’s Olympic Games. By 1934, the event attracted more than 6,000 spectators. We stan.
Women’s sport has its place in social life in the same way as men’s sport.Alice Milliat, 1917
Because of the success of the Women’s Olympic Games, the IOC agreed to organize women’s sport in the Olympic games and the first female athletes competed in the 1928 games. Alice served as the only female member of the jury, surrounded by men. I’m sure it was a great time.
Alice eventually retired, fell out of the public eye and sadly passed away in 1957. She left behind a powerful legacy that should be celebrated. The Alice Milliat foundation was started as the first European foundation for women’s sports. For more information, visit https://www.fondationalicemilliat.com.