Imagery of the Year

This category has been kindly sponsored by Barclays.

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Alex Rotas’ exuberant photographs show female athletes competing in national and international track and field events in their 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s.

The pictures make a hidden group of sportswomen visible, they challenge powerful assumptions and stereotypes about women, age and sport and they invite a group of people who think sport isn’t for them, to reconsider.

This work challenges the assumption that sport and older women – elderly women in fact – don’t go together. It’s a common belief that you’re too old to take up a sport in your 70s or beyond, and that clubs won’t welcome, train and encourage you if you do so. Alex’s photo captions describe many people who have done just that, or returned to their sport (after a short 50 year break!).

Her work disrupts the belief that ‘elderly women’ can’t and shouldn’t be throwing their bodies around, either for old-fashioned reasons of decorum, or because their bodies will break.

Alex’s photographs bring little-known national and international sporting competitions and competitors to the public eye. They teach us there are national and world records to be broken, and new ones to be made till you’re 100+.

She shows that physical decline can be disrupted, and that ‘old ladies’ can be as competitive, determined, focused and above all joyfully engaged in sport as anyone else.

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Lia Vakoutis, Adidas’ senior director of global communications “We really looked at this year as a moment in time to say we want to celebrate athletes who are reshaping the traditional views of sports through creativity. We have this incredible squad of women with a really diverse group of storylines that are relatable to all athletes.”

The adidas global ad campaign for spring 2016 features a series of short films titled “I’m Here To Create,” starring a number of female icons across sport, fashion, and dance showing how they live and breathe creativity across their lives. The short films aimed to demonstrate how to redefine sport by introducing the women across the world who were pushing the boundaries in their own, accessible way.

Featuring global tennis icon Caroline Wozniacki, WNBA superstar Candace Parker and model Karlie Kloss, amongst others, each film relies on content plucked from the stars’ social media accounts, particularly Instagram, and combines it with action and to camera introductions from the stars.

The campaign is being aired in 50 countries during much-watched sporting and cultural events such as UEFA Champions League matches, the Grammys, the BRIT Awards, and the Oscars; positioning women’s sport as unmissable, compelling and full of interest.

These films have huge impact due to the size of the campaign, raising the bar for the coverage of women’s sport by showing real women doing incredible things across all levels of sport. To date the Caroline Wozniacki film has been viewed nearly 4 million times and across social media the campaign reached 11.5million UK women in February alone.

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“Sealskinz are one of the few brands who are promoting women’s sport in the manner it deservers; rather than being the poor cousin of male competitions, it is championed as equal.”

This video tells the story of Traharn Chidley and how running and mountain biking provided her an escape and much need support structure in a life of violent abuse from a partner.

The film is a touching and thoughtful mix of the power of sport and emotional turmoil, which shepherds the viewer through Traharn’s story. It combines the strength of people with the strength of sport in improving peoples’ lives. The film empowers athletes and non-athletes and provides a call to people not only to get out there but also to use sport as a framework to support people in need.

Traharn Chidley competes internationally in the elite category for Gravity Enduros and Downhill mountain biking. She also competes in Fell Running and Adventure Races.

“Everyone has their own story… and this is mine. It’s been one that I’ve wanted to share in order to help others for a long time; I’ve been waiting for the right moment and opportunity to do it properly. I feel very lucky to have had the support from Sealskinz to make this the story it deserves to be.”

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This category has been kindly sponsored by Barclays.


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