Historically and perhaps to the surprise of no one, men have typically dominated the field of Olympic athletes—but this year’s lineup offers up a turn in the tide for representation at the games.
According to the Olympics website, "the number of women athletes at the Olympic Games is approaching 50%." And while there are still slightly more men than females participating in the games this year, this statistic is a push in the right direction, for gender parity and sports—especially considering that it was only in 2012 that women were granted access to participate in every Olympic sport.
Every journey to the Olympics is inspiring, but some impressive athletes are pushing boundaries and shattering expectations before the games have even begun. Here are five women to know in preparation for today's opening ceremony: