AS Awards celebrate the achievements of women in sport
Last night, we held the annual AS Awards gala, which has now been going for 12 years. The 2018 event had a special focus - and a necessary, significant one at that: recognising the outstanding achievements of women in sport. The #MeToo movement has sparked a revolution in women's rights which reached its most notable expression on 8 March, when people took part in mass marches across the world to mark International Women's Day. And in acknowledgement of the responsibility that we also bear in this regard, and to make up for lost time, we decided to award all of this year's prizes to women. We found ourselves with a list of winners that we struggled to keep down. There were no fewer than 14 recipients, but there were many others we simply had to leave out.
AS gala pays homage to pioneers of women's sport
So it was a longer awards ceremony than usual this year, but, because of everything that it stood for, it was a particularly pleasing one. It made me especially happy to be able to sit a whole host of female pioneers around the same table: the heroines who in years past - when times were exceptionally difficult for sportswomen in Spain - paved the way for generations to come. When our mothers could not take money out of the bank or get themselves a passport without our fathers' written permission. When girls who took an interest in sport were branded tomboys. Way back in the 1960s and 1970s, these women blazed a trail down which they are now being followed by an ever-growing list of Spanish sports stars.
Legendary Olympian applauded by stars of today
We were honoured to be joined by Larisa Latynina, the most decorated female Olympian ever. Her haul of 18 medals across three Games (Melbourne '56, Rome '60 and Tokyo '64) remain a record in women's Olympic sport. Nowadays, she is an active, healthy 83-year-old who was on the receiving end of rapturous applause from the champions of today. Also in attendance was Edurne Pasabán, the first woman to climb all 14 eight-thousanders. Above and beyond individuals, though, the greatest satisfaction comes from seeing the overall progress of women's sport in Spain, with achievements that continue to mount up month by month. These 40 years of the Spanish democratic constitution have served us very well indeed.