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Olga Kevelos

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Olga Kevelos 6 November 1923 – 28 October 2009 was an English Motorcycle trials and enduro rider who was the only woman to win two gold medals at the International Six-Day Trial

Born in Edgbaston, Birmingham, she was educated at King Edward VI High School for Girls Kevelos was one of the women who during the Second World War were recruited from 1943 to 1945 to work narrowboats on the Grand Union Canal between Birmingham and London The women wore badges with the initials "IW" for "Inland Waterways" After the war, another of the women, Susan Woolfit, wrote an account of her time on the boats and titled it 'Idle Women' after her daughter Harriet joked that that is what the IW stood for The nickname then stuck After the Second World War Kevelos moved to King's Sutton in Northamptonshire

In 1949 Kevelos won the first of her two gold medals, riding a 500cc Norton Manx in the International Six-Day Trials in Wales She was to ride with varying degrees of success in every Scottish Six Days Trial until she finally retired from the sport in 1970, and in every International Six-Day Trial until 1966 During her competition career she secured support from almost every major British motorcycle manufacturer, and from the Italian and Czech manufacturers Parilla and Jawa

Olga Kevelos eventually gave up racing and for 26 years helped her younger brother Ray to run his pub, the Three Tuns, at King's Sutton, south Northamptonshire

In 1978 she participated in BBC’s Mastermind as a historical specialist on Genghis Khan Her expertise on the Mongolian Emperor was also a topic of interest for former Prime Minister, Tony Blair, who supposedly picked her brain about the topic She later joked, "He probably wanted a few tips on how to invade other people’s countries successfully"

References

  1. ^ a b c d e Obituary for Olga Kevelos, The Daily Telegraph, 26 November 2009
  2. ^ Woolfitt, Susan 1947 Idle Women London: Benn ISBN 978-0-947712-03-7 
  3. ^ "1949 ISDT" speedtracktaleswordpresscom Retrieved 27 February 2016 


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