Looking for athletic woman

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From climbing the highest mountains on earth to swimming in brutal ocean conditions to running They smash barriers. They fight, tooth and nail, for equality. They transcend sports to become cultural game changers. The following women are notable for their contributions to sports and, in many cases, their outsize impact on the broader culture too.

There are legends, and then there is Billie Jean King. The American tennis champion slash equality advocate, who won a whopping 39 Grand Slam championships in her career, deserves her own category of greatness. Open if men and women winners were not paid the same. The ultimatum worked: Later that year the U. Open became the first major tennis tournament to offer equal prize money. In the time since, King, now 76, has continued to break barriers and push the envelope on equality. In she founded the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiativewhich promotes diverse and inclusive leadership.

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After Everest, Tabei went on to scale many more enormous mountains and, inbecame the first woman to have stood atop the Seven Summits, i. Superstar American sprinter Florence Griffith Joyner brought serious speed—and impeccable style—to the track with her record-breaking pace, iconic one-legged jumpsuitsand nearly six-inch-long painted fingernails. At the U. Her time in that race of Just a few months later, FloJo further etched her name in the history books at the Olympics by winning four medals three gold, one silver and setting records in the meter and meter that stand to this day.

FloJo died in at age 38, but her records, style, and legacy live on. There, she went on to lead the team to an astounding eight NCAA championship wins, including a then unprecedented three-peat performance in, and Welchprofessor emeritus in the College of Health and Human Performance at the University of Florida and a sports-history researcher.

With a jaw-dropping 55 medals including 41 golds to her name, swimmer Trischa Zorn is the most decorated Paralympian. Blind since birth, Zorn began swimming at age 10 and burst onto the Paralympic scene at the Games, winning seven gold medals and setting three world records. Eight years after she retired from the sport, Zorn was inducted into the Paralympic Hall of Fame inbecoming the first American woman to receive such an honor.

As one of the most prolific scorers in the history of U. Last March, when the U. Where to even begin with swimming goddess Dara Torres? The former world-record holder in the meter freestyle competed in a stunning five different Olympic Games, becoming the first American swimmer to ever do so. Torres is also the oldest swimmer in history to bring home Olympic hardware —during the Beijing Games, the then year-old bested much younger competitors to nab three silvers. The trailblazer went on to win two more golds and a silver at the Olympics before Looking for athletic woman in with nine Olympic medals to her name.

In an era when women were not encouraged to participate in sportsAmerican Olympian Babe Didrikson Zaharias excelled in essentially all of the sports—from track, swimming, softball, and tennis to baseball, basketball, boxing, golfand more. But with that success came sexism. Despite the criticism, Didrikson Zaharias kept on doing what she did best: winning.

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Didrikson Zaharias died from the disease inbut her legacy lives on: InSports Illustrated named her a top athlete of the 20th century. Considered to be one of the greatest athletes of all timesix-time Olympic medalist Jackie Joyner-Kersee broke multiple barriers in track and field during her decorated career.


She became the first athlete to score over 7, points in the heptathlon a seven-event contest testing a wide range of skills and the first athlete to win the heptathlon in consecutive Olympic Games and Oh, and her heptathlon world record set during the Seoul Games? It still stands today. After the Olympics, Joyner-Kersee had a short stint playing professional basketball with the Richmond Rage.

Joyner-Kersee is big on giving back. Inshe founded her eponymous foundation, which seeks to help at-risk children; inshe cofounded Athletes for Hopewhich encourages pro athletes to become involved in charitable causes; and inshe ed a Comcast initiative to provide internet access to low-income families. A true champ, both on—and off—the field.

As the first African American female principal dancer at the American Ballet Theatre, Misty Copeland is a pioneer in the world of professional dance—and beyond. Hamm, a goal-scoring powerhouse on Team USA, played on the and World Cup winning teams as well as the gold-medal-clinching teams at the and Olympic Games.

During her legendary career, Hamm netted a gobsmacking goals in international competition, a record for any player—man or woman—that stood untilwhen American Abby Wambach eclipsed it. And her popularity, which continued after she officially hung up her cleats inwas akin to the renown of top male athletes.

Hamm went on to start her namesake foundationwhich aims to increase opportunities for young women in sports and also raises funds and awareness for bone marrow and cord blood transplants. She also cofounded Athletes for Hope with Joyner-Kersee and other athletes. On August 6,year-old Getrude Ederle battled the cold, choppy waters of the Atlantic Ocean to become the first woman to ever swim across the English Channel. Even more impressive, Ederle recorded the fastest time in history by more than two hours, besting all five men who had ly gone the distance.

It gets even more spectacular: Because of the especially rough ocean conditions at the time, Ederle tackled at least 14 more miles than she would have had she been able to chart a straight line 35 versus 21 milesper the New York Times. Dozens of amateur national and world records, plus three Olympic medals in swimming. After her hearing was permanently impaired during the record-breaking swim, she also went on to teach the sport to deaf children.

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As one of the first openly gay athletesthe tennis champ has advocated for equal rights and supported numerous charities that back the cause. With 25 world championship medals to her name and countingthe year-old American now owns more hardware from the global competition series than any gymnast, male or female, in history. At the Rome Olympics, sprinter Wilma Rudolph became the first American woman to win three gold medals in a single Olympicssweeping the field and breaking records in the meter, meter, and 4xmeter relay.

After overcoming physical challenges early in life and soaring to her illustrious athletic career, Rudolph established her eponymous foundation to support young folks in underserved communities through sports and academics.

As the first black tennis player to win the French Open, Wimbledon, and the U. Open singles championships, American Althea Gibson paved the way for more diversity in a sport with a history of white elitism. Gibson also made her mark in another sport: Inshe turned her focus to professional golf, becoming the first African American member of the Ladies Professional Golf Association. With 82 World Cup victories to her nameLindsay Vonn is the winningest female skier of all time. The American GOAT retired in at age 34 after racking up a mic-dropping amount of hardware, including three Olympic medals, seven World Championship medals, and of course, all of those World Cup wins.

With the accolades came hardship—Vonn battled serious injuries throughout her career, including a torn knee ligament which ruptured twicea broken ankle, and critical nerve damage in her arm. Yet when other skiers might have thrown in the towel, Vonn refused to give up, forging ahead with unflappable resolve.

I never was afraid. Sparking change, not just in hockey, but sport and other industries. Whether it's fighting for equal pay or changing the game in how gender or body image is being reflected, my work is just beginning in many ways. Before the summer ofa black woman had never won Olympic gold. Morrisa lecturer in the department of history at U.

Berkeley and professor emeritus of women's studies at George Washington University. The historic win also opened doors for other black women in sports. InDiana Nyad did what no human in history had ever done before. The then year-old swam unaided more than miles from Florida to Cuba, spending over two full days in the water—without the safety and assistance of a shark tank. Soon after finishing the history-making swim, which Nyad had attempted five times beforeshe stood on the beach and spoke to the crowd that had gathered.

And three is, it looks like a solitary sport, but it takes a team. In Novemberat the start of the MeToo movement, Nyad penned an op-ed for the New York Times in which she discussed how, as a young athlete, she and her teammates had been repeatedly molested by their male swim coach. It brought renewed national and international interest toward what new realms of climbing were possible on the big walls of Yosemite, and it helped inspire the top technical climbers to broaden their skill sets in ways still being manifested today.

Competitive surfer Bethany Hamilton was just 13 years old when she lost her arm in a shark attack in Kauai, Hawaii. The incident, which made international news, transformed the young teen into a symbol of resilience and inspiration, especially when Hamilton hopped back onto her board for competition less than one month after the incident.

Two years later Hamilton became a national champion. InLisa Leslie demolished a gender barrier in basketball when she became the first woman to slam-dunk in a WNBA game. The Boston Marathon is arguably the most prestigious road marathon race in the world. But for more than seven decades after its inception inthe field was open only to men. The moment was captured in iconic photos and shared in the media, and change soon followed. As more women started running marathons, Switzer continued to race she won the New York Marathon inamong other accomplishments and also launched the Avon International Running Circuitwhich hosts women-only races in 27 countries.

InSwitzer ran the Boston Marathon again—50 years after her historic first finish. That year she had more female company: Nearly half of all finishers were women. Perhaps one of her best-known moments, however, came when she broke the gender barrier by playing in what is typically a men-only competition.

Though Sorenstam missed the cut in that competition, her mere presence ified something greater. And I felt like people accepted me for that. Inthe six-time Olympic gold medalist won her 12th gold medal at a track-and-field World Championship— breaking a record set by Usain Bolt in the process just 10 months after giving birth via C-section.

Through her dominance in track and field and advocacy for women—particularly mothers—in sports, Felix is helping spread an important message: Women can be mothers and world-class athletes. In August the company announced a new maternity policy for all sponsored athletes that guarantees pay and bonuses for 18 months surrounding pregnancy. With two Olympic gold medals, three World Championships, and 66 World Cup wins and countingMikaela Shiffrin is one of the best Alpine skiers in history. After a record-shattering — season, Shiffrin put herself on pace to win as many as World Cup races, which would eclipse the current career record by 39!

Because when you wow the world by winning your first gold medal at age 15 meter freestyle at the London Olympicsand then defend the title four years later in Rio, finishing an astonishing 11 seconds ahead of the silver medalist and setting a new world record in the process, of course people will want to emulate your greatness. Lowe wants to use that global platform to spread awareness about the importance of early breast cancer detection, she said.

Make sure that you know what they are. But just three years later, the former collegiate softball player made the U. Olympic bobsled team—and earned a bronze medal at the Vancouver Games. No easy feat. Since then, Meyers Taylor has added two silver Olympic medals to her collection and Gamescementing her status as one of the most decorated U. Olympic bobsledders. Last fall, Meyers Taylor announced she was pregnant and would miss this current bobsledding season. She also went on to become a four-time finalist and silver medalist at the World Rowing Championships and a six-time national champion.

DeFrantz has made her biggest marks on history outside the boat.

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