The 2016 AdventureWomen “Olympic” Gold Medals Go To…

We hope all you adventurous women enjoyed the 31st Olympic Games as much as we did! (Brought back great memories of our Brazil trip last year!) With scores of world records broken by many, this year’s Summer Olympics featured outstanding achievements for so many athletes and especially for Rio’s women.

  • Katie Ledecky is the first woman since Debbie Meyer (in 1968) to sweep the 200, 400 and 800 meter freestyle in the same Olympics
  • Jamaican Elaine Thompson tied Florence Griffith Joyner’s 1988 record by winning both the 100 and 200 meter track and field competitions
  • Simone Biles is the first American woman to win 4 gold medals for gymnastics in the same Olympics
  • Allyson Felix is now the most decorated women’s track and field athlete in U.S. history with 7 Olympic medals

And so…it only seems fitting, that we award some gold medals of our own at AdventureWomen! We have so many amazing women on our trips. Frankly, we are in awe of them. Their values. Their accomplishments. Their hearts and souls. Their courage and strength. Their hilariousness!

So without further adieu…congratulations to our 2016 AdventureWomen Olympians!

MOST INTREPID (steps outside comfort zone regularly):

Ara Cook


Ara in Machu Picchu, Peru

“Ara Cook was another who stepped out of her comfort zone on the first trip I had met her. Glacier 2012. Even though she had just been going through chemo, she did all the long hikes, and it was a struggle to do Scenic Point which is an elevation gain of 2250 ft in 3 miles. It was very hard for her but she was so happy when she made [it to] the top and very emotional. I had her in Peru that year also. She was the same there. It is sad that she is gone.” (Comments from Stacey Bengtson, AdventureWomen Associate)

We did a tribute to Ara on our Ciao Bella Blog, “A Tribute to Ara Cook: An AdventureWomen Heroine

MOST FUN (to be around – great sense of humor)

Cecelia Rogers 

(Cecelia is bottom row in the center)

Cecelia on bottom row, center: Yellowstone Winter Wonderland

“Always laughing, enjoying everything and such an amazing attitude. She is a spark plug and very inspirational. Very contagious to everyone.” “Wow!  Always laughing and got along with all.” “Enthusiastic about EVERYTHING!” (Comments from AdventureWomen Associates who have been on trips with her)

BEST TEAM PLAYER (helped out in a pinch)

Sandy Carlyon

(Sandy is on the left)

Sandy on left: Botswana Wing Safari

The quintessential AdventureWomen “team player” – Always available to help with the group to succeed! Flexible, positive, compassionate, and always ready to take someone under her wing if they are having a hard time, for any reason. Sandy lives on a farm in North Carolina, and still does all the farmwork by herself. She has been on 16 AdventureWomen trips over the years!


Diane Steele

Dianne with a one-day old baby elephant in Thailand

Diane with a one-day old baby elephant: Exotic Thailand

Diane has been on 39 trips with AdventureWomen (more than anyone else) since 1989. Diane says that her “lifelong love of travel and experiencing other cultures” keeps her coming back for more.

Diane says “I travel with AdventureWomen because I know I’ll have a great trip to somewhere interesting. I can go by myself, but will become part of a group of fun women. We stay in fabulous lodges and hotels…Susan has a way of finding great guides. I’ve been to a lot of amazing places in my [39] trips. I love African safaris, Antarctica was wonderful, and Easter Island was a ‘bucket list’ place”.

CONGRATULATIONS to all Adventure Women for just being you! You’re all gold medalists in our opinion!