If Mary Kom had won all her many international boxing laurels— six golds in World Championships, Olympics bronze, Asian Games gold, Commonwealth Games gold—without her backstory, she would still be a legend. Kom managed to do all this despite what life threw at her. She came from a poor family in rural Manipur and through pure effort and persistence broke into first national and then international consciousness. And then, after marriage and motherhood, when most female athletes would have had to give up on their careers, Kom returned to even more victories than before. Even age couldn’t defeat her. Last year, when she again won the World Championship gold, Kom was a 35-year-old mother of three in a sport where the young dominate. Kom is a role model for every Indian woman on what potential they hold inside them despite the constraints imposed by society. She is now a nominated Rajya Sabha member and has a voice in Indian sports policy too.