Women pioneers in the history of sport: the case of Lilí Álvarez in Franco's Spain Articles uri icon

publication date

  • February 2020

start page

  • 75

end page

  • 93


  • 1-2


  • 37

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0952-3367


  • This article explores the historical role played by female pioneers of elite sport by studying the singular case of Lilí Álvarez (1905-1998). Álvarez was a high-profile Spanish female athlete with an outstanding career characterized by remarkable achievements in various sports, including being singles finalist in Wimbledon for three consecutive years (1926&-1928). In Franco's Spain, Álvarez contributed to the promotion of sports by publishing articles and delivering public lectures on sporting topics. In her published pieces and public talks, Álvarez tried to convince Spaniards of both sexes to exercise, however minimally. Álvarez also disseminated knowledge about sports other than soccer, the national sport. Thus, Álvarez contributed not only to the development of women's sport but also of sports in general. An analysis of Álvarez's case reveals much related to the role of elite female pioneers and their contribution to the history of sport across countries


  • Sociology


  • lilí álvarez; spain; franco; sport; gender