Oliver Pom (Great Britain)
Because Pom Oliver dared to take on the world of polar adventure when well past the first flush of youth, she has become a genuine role model for a whole generation of up-and-coming young female adventurers eager to tackle anything the polar regions can hurl against them.
Although she only began her polar escapades when she was in her forties, this British woman has always been keen on major challenges. At school, for example, she had a reputation for playing truant on a frequent basis, swapping the classroom for grand outings around and beyond the town where she lived. When she turned 18, she left the familiar comforts of Britain and spent a year hitch-hiking in the wide blue yonder and in particular between Cape Town in South Africa and Sydney, Australia. Once she got there, she settled down and stayed for twelve years. Since then, she has travelled the roads of the renowned Karakoram Highway in Pakistan by truck and sailed from Mombassa to Madagascar aboard a tiny yacht.
In 1997, at the age of 44, Pom was amongst the twenty women selected to go on the first expedition consisting entirely of women in their bid to reach the North Pole as part of the McVities Penguin Polar Relay. She came to know fellow adventurers such as Ann Daniels and Rosie Stancer. One of the truly dramatic moments during this trek came when Pom fell into the water, dislocating a shoulder in the process. It was only her grit and determination that enabled her to complete the expedition.
Two years later, Pom Oliver was a member of the expedition team on the M&G ISA challenge led by Caroline Hamilton, with Ann Daniels, Zoe Hudson and Rosie Stancer. The five women not only succeeded in organising their own expedition to the South Pole, they also reached their goal without help from a professional guide and with only one re-supply along the way. This remarkable feat was to raise funds for the British Special Olympics.
These days, Pom Oliver is a film producer and co-chairman of The Square Smile, a British humanitarian association that supports the mentally handicapped. Pom is also working on a thesis on comparative religions.