Born in Belgium, Dutrieu became the first cycling World Champion in 1896. She got into the sport inspired by her older brother, who was a professional rider. She started out as a track cyclist and in 1893 set the women’s world record for the longest distance ridden in one hour, as well as later setting several speed records on the track. After leaving competitive racing, she became a stuntwoman, using her bike to perform dangerous manoeuvres. With this not being challenging enough, she then learned how to fly a plane and became the first woman to fly with passengers. In 1913, she became the first female aviator awarded membership of the Légion d’honneur. In the meantime, she took on French nationality and during World War I, she performed reconnaissance flights for the French Army. After the war, she became an ambulance driver and later headed a military hospital. In her later years, she changed careers yet again and worked as a journalist. On 26 June 1961, she passed away in Paris at the age of 83.
Annie Cohen Kopchovsky
Better know as Annie Londonderry, on 27 June 1894, at the age of 23, the Latvian immigrant started her cycling trip around the world from Boston. In order to finance the journey, she pegged advertising billboards onto her bike, signed and sold souvenirs and gave lectures on cycling. Although she completed some of her travels via steamships, she still cycled thousands of kilometres and completed her trip in September 1985, making her a pioneer in the world of long-distance cycling.
The former skier and professional road cyclist celebrated her birthday on 23 June. The now 58 year old won the UCI World Road Championship title at the age of 20 years, was a 10-time Swedish champion and a two-time Olympic participant. After retiring from her cycling career, she became a management consultant in the U.S. and obtained her PhD in Organizational Leadership. In addition to coaching and sharing her experiences with nutrition and training with young athletes, she now mainly consults businesses on improving their performance.