7 Women Who Broke Down Barriers in Sports

7 Women Who Broke Down Barriers in Sports


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1. Janet Guthrie—Racing Through the Glass Ceiling

Janet Guthrie wasn’t the first woman to get behind the wheel of a race car, but she became the first woman to compete in NASCAR’s Winston Cup Series (known today as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series), in the 1976 World 600 race. Her 15th-place finish was a milestone for the history of women in sports, but Guthrie wasn’t content with just breaking through the gender barrier. The next year, the former aerospace engineer from the University of Michigan pushed forward becoming the first woman to run in the Daytona 500–NASCAR’s version of the Super Bowl. Later that same year, she switched to open wheel racing and became the first woman to ever qualify for the Indianapolis 500. To date, fewer than 20 racers (male or female) have competed in both the Daytona 500 and Indianapolis 500. The only other woman to achieve this feat is Danica Patrick, who is one of the most recognizable stars of racing today.

Guthrie finished 12th in the Daytona 500 and 29th in the Indy 500 (car troubles kept her from better finishes in both), but that doesn’t take away from her accomplishments. She was inducted to the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2006.

2. Becky Hammon—First Woman Assistant Coach in the NBA

On August 5, 2014, the San Antonio Spurs signed Hammon as an assistant coach, making her the first full-time female assistant coach in not only the NBA, but in any of the four major North American sports. A year later, the Rapid City, South Dakota native was named Head Coach of the team’s Summer League squad—the first female to hold this position as well. Hammon’s basketball pedigree speaks for itself, and the Spur’s signing her was no publicity stunt. After a prolific college career for the Colorado State Rams, she was the fifth alum to have their number retired. Hammond signed with the New York Liberty of the WNBA, despite going undrafted after her senior college season, where she played for eight seasons before moving to the San Antonio Stars for eight more. Over her 16-year career, she was selected to six WNBA All-Star teams, was twice First Team all-WNBA and in 2011 was selected as one of the 15 best WNBA players of al ltime.

Maybe Hammon will go on to clear that final hurdle, becoming the first woman head coach in the NBA. d.

3. Toni Stone—Swings Through the Baseball Barrier

In 1953, Toni Stone signed with the Indianapolis Clowns of the Negro American League, making her the first female professional baseball player in a top-tier men’s league. Born Marcenia Lyle Stone on July 17, 1921 in St. Paul, Minnesota, Stone began playing baseball in local children’s leagues at age 10. By the age of 15, she was playing semi-pro ball with the Twin City Colored Giants, a men’s traveling team. When she moved to San Francisco in the 1940s to care for her ailing sister, her baseball career really took off. She changed her name to Toni, shaved 10 years off of her age and began trying out for men’s teams in the area. In 1949, she joined the San Francisco Sea Lions of the West Coast Negro Baseball League. Although she had to deal with taunts and insults from fans and teammates who objected to her playing a men’s game, her stint on the Sea Lions provided her with some much-needed exposure.

She capitalized on that notoriety by joining the Clowns in 1953. Although she was hired, in part, because the owner thought a woman on the roster would draw fans, she earned her playing time with hard work and dedication. She put up with abuse from fans, teammates and opponents–many of who enjoyed spiking her while sliding into second base when she was covering the bag–and more than held her own. She got a hit off of legendary pitcher Satchel Paige, and played with future Hall of Famers Willie Mays and Ernie Banks.

At the end of the season, she was traded to the Kansas City Monarchs, the team Jackie Robinson played for before breaking the Major League color barrier in 1947. After one season with the Monarchs, her age caught up with her and she retired. She passed away in November 1996.

4. Manon Rheaume—First Woman to Sign an NHL Contract

In 1992, the NHL’s expansion Tampa Bay Lightning signed Goalie Manon Rheaume as a free agent. When the ink was dry, the Beauport, Quebec, native had become the first woman to ever sign an NHL contract. Although Lightning General Manager Phil Esposito admitted that publicity was a major factor in the decision to invite Rheaume to try out in the first place, he believed she had enough skills to play against those competeing at the highest levels of the game. Rheaume wasn’t new to being the first woman in the game. The year before she was signed professionally, she was the first woman to ever sign with a top junior division team (the Trios-Rivieres Draveurs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League). In 1992, she became the first woman to ever play in one of the four major men’s pro sports leagues, competing in an NHL exhibition game. While two goals were scored on her, she saved seven shots. She played another exhibition game for the Lightning in 1993, and ended up signing with the Lightning’s IHL affiliate, the Atlanta Knights. She played on various teams until her retirement in 1997. Twelve years later, she came out of retirement to play her last-ever professional hockey, in an exhibition game for the IHL’s Flint Generals.

Aside from her accomplishments on the professional ice, she was also a two-time gold medalist in the women’s IIHF (the top tournament in women’s hockey) championships, and a silver medalist in women’s hockey at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano.

5. Pat Palinkas—Holding it Down in Pro Football


In 2014, Jen Welter garnered headlines by signing with the Indoor Football League’s Texas Revolution. As a running back, she became the first woman to ever play a “contact” position on a men’s football team, but she wasn’t the first woman to sign to a professional men’s team.

In 1970, the Orlando Panthers (a minor league team) signed Pat Palinkas, a placekick holder. That summer, Pat’s husband, Steve, had tried out as a kicker for the Panthers, but had a bad tryout and did not make the cut. He convinced the Panthers to give him one more chance, but also to allow him to bring his wife, Pat, to be his holder. The second tryout went so well with Pat holding the ball that the Panthers signed them both to contracts.

Later that summer, Pat and Steve made their debuts together in an exhibition game, and Pat instantly became the more famous footballer in the family. After botching the first snap she received, the pair never missed another kick. After only two games, Steve injured his leg and had to quit, but Pat ended up playing three more games for the Panthers. In the end, it wasn’t as fun for her without her husband there, so she too retired. Women like Jen Welter, Julie Harshberger (a kicker in the Continental Indoor Football League for seven seasons) and Katie Hnida (also played in the CIFL in 2010) owe a debt of honor to Pat Palinkas.

6. Diane Crump—Makes Horse History in the Derby

Prior to 1970, no female jockey had ever ridden in the world’s most famous horse race, the Kentucky Derby. That all changed on May 2, when Milford, Connecticut, native Diane Crump saddled up on a horse named Fathom and made her way to the starting gate.The journey to the line was not easy. In her first race at Hialeah Park Race Track in Florida in 1969, out of fear for her safety, Crump needed a full police escort around the grounds. During subsequent races, she had to fight through crowds of angry spectators who spewed hatred at a young woman they believed would ruin the sport of horse racing.

In the end, Crump finished 15th out of 17, but her fight was not in vain. Her strength and persistence inspired women jockeys for years to come. Today, although they are still the minority in the “Sport of Kings,” several dozen women make their living as professional jockeys in North America.

7. Mo’ne Davis—Inspiring the Next Generation of Young Athletes

When it comes to the Little League World Series (LLWS), 2014 will be forever known as the year of Mo’ne Davis. The then 13-year-old from Philadelphia burst on to the national sports scene while pitching for the Taney Dragons (who were representing Pennsylvania in the series). Just by stepping on the field, she made history as the first African American girl ever to play in the LLWS (18th girl overall), but she wasn’t done there. She wowed the crowds in her very first start, hurling a complete game shutout–the first ever pitched by a girl (it was also first win for a female pitcher at all). She gave up just two infield hits and struck out eight opponents. She was pitching 70 mph fastballs (likely the equivalent of 93 mph major league fastball) and a nasty curve ball. Suddenly, “throwing like a girl” was something every kid, boy or girl, wished they could do.

The world took notice, and Davis was getting Twitter shoutouts from Mike Trout, Kevin Durant and other top athletes. The last game she pitched in the series gained a 3.4 overnight rating, more than doubling the average LLWS game rating and making it the most watched series game of all time. Unfortunately, Mo’ne’s team fell short of a LLWS Title, but the girl from Philly with a fastball that couldn’t be beat, was a hit. She was on the cover of Sports Illustrated in August 2014—the first Little Leaguer ever to be featured. She took home the ESPY Award for Best Breakthrough Athlete, joining the likes of Mike Piazza, Tiger Woods, Tom Brady and Lebron James. She was even the subject of a Spike Lee-directed mini-documentary called, “Throw Like A Girl.”

Despite all of that, Mo’ne’s sport of choice is actually basketball. This might keep her from bringing to fruition Pennsylvania governor Tom Corbett’s prediction that she will be the first female major leaguer one day. At the very least, she’s an inspiration to whoever achieves that feat.


The 15: Racial Barriers Broken In Sports

It has often been said that sports are ahead of society when it comes to hot-button issues such as race relations, such as when Jackie Robinson broke baseball’s color barrier in 1945. Every April 15 — the day Robinson played his first game with the Dodgers in 1947 — Major League Baseball recognizes him with a special day. In honor of Jackie Robinson Day, here is a list of the most impactful moments when racial barriers were broken throughout sports history, with the Brooklyn Dodgers second baseman claiming the No. 1 spot.

1. Jackie Robinson Breaks The Color Barrier (Oct. 30, 1945) — Brooklyn Dodgers president Branch Rickey’s so-called “great experiment” remains one of the most important decisions in history as far as race relations are concerned. When Kansas City Monarchs second baseman Jackie Robinson inked his name on a Dodgers contract, thus becoming the first African-American to join a Major League Baseball team during the modern era, he not only paved the way for blacks in baseball, but he became a national symbol of racial equality. If not for Robinson’s unrelenting character in the face of death threats from fans, beanballs from opposing pitchers and cold shoulders wherever he went, the plan may well have failed.

2. Jesse Owens Smashes Olympic Records (Aug. 9, 1936) — Third Reich commander Adolf Hitler wanted to use the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Germany, to support his idea that Aryan athletes were superior. But Jesse Owens, an African-American sprinter from Alabama, rained on Hitler’s parade by breaking three world records and earning four gold medals, in the 100-meter dash (10.3 seconds), 200 dash(20.7 seconds), 4-by-100 relay (39.8 seconds) and long jump (26-8 1/4 feet).

3. The Human Rights Salute (Oct. 16, 1968) — After finishing first and third, respectively, in the 200-meter dash during the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City, Tommie Smith and John Carlos each raised a black-gloved fist as the United States national anthem played. The two, along with Peter Norman, the Australian silver medalist who shared the podium, wore jackets adorned with human rights badges. The gesture came during a period of tense civil unrest in the United States and was an overt statement about the current state of race relations in American society.

4. Cassius Clay Becomes Muhammad Ali (Feb. 26, 1964) — A day after claiming the heavyweight boxing championship during an upset of Sonny Liston, Clay declared he would be joining the Nation of Islam and changing his name to Muhammad Ali. Three years later, Ali made political headlines once again when he resisted the draft on religious grounds during the Vietnam War. There had been other black athletes who had railed against the system before Ali, but few of them had the worldwide podium he did.

5. Texas Western’s All-black Lineup (March 19, 1966) — Texas Western men’s basketball coach Don Haskins started five blacks during the 1966 season, becoming the first coach to do so. Then, during the 󈨆 NCAA championship game at Maryland’s Cole Field House, Haskins used the national stage to do it again. In front of an all-white crowd — some of whom had confederate flags and chanted obscenities during the game — all-white referees and an all-white Kentucky team coached by Adolph Rupp, Texas Western came away with a 72-65 victory.

6. South African Rugby Team Claims 1995 World Cup (June 24, 1995) — For more than 40 years, South Africa had operated under an apartheid system, with minority whites dominating the black majority in the political sector. The country suffered through major upheaval, even as apartheid ended in 1993. The 1995 Rugby World Cup, during which the South African Springboks defeated the New Zealand All Blacks, 15-12, helped ease some of the tension between the two sides.

7. The New Home Run King (April 8, 1974) — Henry Aaron fell one home run short of tying Babe Ruth’s all-time record of 714 jacks during the 1973 season. Before the 󈨎 season, Aaron received death threats and hate mail from fans who couldn’t stand to see an African-American as the home-run king. So bad was the vitriol that an editor at the Atlanta Journal actually penned Aaron’s obituary that offseason in case he was in fact killed. But Aaron survived the winter, and he hit home run No. 715 April 8, 1974, in front of 53,775 people in Atlanta.

8. Louis Knocks Out Schemling (June 22, 1938) — With Nazi Germany rising in power and Hitler’s political and racial beliefs becoming well known throughout the world, the bout between African-American Joe Louis and German native Max Schemling was more than just a boxing match. Although Schemling was no Nazi, he came to represent fascism, while Louis became a symbol for democracy. Louis took 124 seconds to knock out Schemling, and became a rare African-American idol during an era of segregation.

9. Tiger Woods Wins The Masters (April 13, 1997) — Augusta National, site of the Masters, had not allowed an African-American player on its course until 1975 and didn’t allow African-Americans to join the club until 1990. But in April 1997, a 21-year-old Tiger Woods became the youngest player ever to win the Masters with a 270 — one stroke shy of Jack Nicklaus’ all-time course record. The resounding victory thrust Woods into the spotlight and helped debunk certain notions surrounding African-Americans in golf.

10. Jack Johnson Is First Black Heavyweight Champ (Dec. 26, 1908) — The former Confederacy operated under the Jim Crow laws from 1876 until they were outlawed in 1965, which meant African-Americans were treated like inferior citizens in public settings. One of the first black athletes to defy Jim Crow laws was Jack Johnson, who knocked out Canadian Tommy Burns during the 14th round for the heavyweight title of the world. To the chagrin of many whites, Jackson held that championship for the next seven years.

11. Ernie Davis Wins The Heisman (Dec. 6, 1961) — A three-time All-American, Ernie Davis followed in the footsteps of fellow Syracuse alum Jim Brown by running rampant throughout his four-year college football career. There were plenty of great black football players before Davis, but none of them had ever been bestowed with a Heisman. In 1961, Davis edged out Ohio State’s Bob Ferguson for the award, giving black athletes hope that they too could claim college football’s most prestigious award.

12. It’s All About The Shoes (March 1985) — Michael Jordan didn’t just start a marketing phenomenon when he signed a five-year, $2.5 million deal with Nike in 1985 to launch the Air Jordan shoe line. His meteoric rise in the advertizing industry showed that black athletes — even those that played a city sport such as basketball — could indeed rise to the top of the pop-culture world. After Jordan, NBA players such as Allen Iverson, Kevin Garnett, Dwayne Wade and LeBron James all capitalized with product-pushing deals.

13. Yao Ming Bridges The Gap (June 26, 2002) — A predestined Hall of Famer before the Houston Rockets selected him with the No. 1 overall pick during the 2002 NBA Draft, Yao Ming didn’t live up to the hype as a 7-foot-6 sensation from China. Even so, Ming’s mere presence in the NBA spurred Yao mania in the People’s Republic, thus making an altogether American game popular in the eastern realm. On top of that, Ming’s rise gave hope to young Chinese athletes, who one day aspired to play in the NBA as well.

14. Gibson Is Jackie Robinson Of Tennis (1956) — Athea Gibson was the first African-American to achieve star status in tennis, and in 1956 she became the first black to win a Grand Slam when she claimed the French Open Title. She was twice voted the Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year and won 11 Grand Slams, both in singles and doubles play. In 1971, she was elected into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Gibson opened the doors for African-Americans in tennis and served as an inspiration for future black female stars such as Venus and Serena Williams.

15. Ichiro Takes MLB By Storm (April 1, 2002) — Other Japanese baseball players had suited up in the United States before Ichiro Suzuki’s arrival in Seattle in 2002, but they didn’t have as much success. Ichiro broke records for most hits during a single season (262) and consecutive seasons with at least 200 hits (10). He disproved the theory that Japanese players couldn’t excel in Major League Baseball, and, as a result, many MLB teams began investing more time and money in Asian baseball.

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16 Amazing women who have torn down barriers in the wide world of sports

In a world where stereotypes run rampant, females are typically seen as weaker, slower and less athletic than most men. It’s recorded all throughout history textbooks &mdash women have been confined to a life spent baking cakes and caring for their children while the men are busy bringing home the bacon.

Thankfully, the times they are a-changin’. Now women can be the breadwinner and the game winner. We owe some of this progress to a handful of fearless women who weren’t afraid to tear down those stereotypes by entering the male-dominated world of sports. They refused to just stay indoors to play with Barbie dolls and paint their nails when they were young, because they realized the lifetime benefits of playing a sport as a girl.

Already 2016 is shaping up to be a big year for barrier-breaking women like this in the sports world. In January, Kathryn Smith made sports history when she was hired as the first full-time female coach in the NFL for the Buffalo Bills. Smith has more than a decade of pro football experience under her belt, and we are confident she’ll be “woman” enough for the job.

In honor of the past and present strides that have been made, we’ve compiled a group of women who made a name for themselves in sports, leaving broken gender barriers in their wake. They’re awesome role models and just badasses in general because they weren’t afraid to show the boys that they can throw, kick, run and hit just as well (and maybe even better) than them. Step aside, men, because these women can probably teach you a thing or two about sports.


A scout sent videotape of Rheaume to the Tampa Bay Lightning, she was invited to camp, and made her debut against the Blues in 1992. It was the first appearance by a woman in an NHL preseason game. "This changed my life basically and took my life in a different direction than I was planning to go," said Rheaume, who won silver for Canada in the 1998 Winter Olympics.

Aboard Colonial Affair at the 1993 Belmont Stakes, she became the first female jockey to win a Triple Crown race. She earned 3,704 wins and was the first woman inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. Krone endured a fractured kneecap (in a race she went on to win), fractured ankle, a fall in which she broke both hands, and a fractured arm.


Ida B. Wells

We often associate the names Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony with women getting the right to vote, but the contributions of Ida B. Wells shouldn't be overlooked. Best known for her work in the early civil rights movement, Ida also started the Alpha Suffrage Club of Chicago, which was the first African-American women&rsquos suffrage organization, according to the Washington Post. In 1913 she attended the Women&rsquos Suffrage Parade in Washington, D.C., despite white organizers telling her and other black women to march at the back of the line. She refused, and pushed her way to march at the front of her state&rsquos delegation.


15 trailblazing women who broke down barriers over the last 150 years

The last 150 years saw a huge shift in women's rights around the world.

Susan B. Anthony helped get women the right to vote.

Rosa Parks became a symbol of the civil rights movement for her work.

In the last 150 years, women's roles have changed dramatically across the world.

With trailblazers like Susan B. Anthony and Rosa Parks fighting for equality, women today can be just about anything they set their minds to.

Although work is still being done for equal rights for all, here are a few of the women who broke down huge barriers:

Shirley Chisholm fought for racial and gender equality as the first African American woman in Congress.

Shirley Chisholm broke barriers in American politics as the first African American woman in Congress during a time of extreme discrimination in the United States.

She started her career as a nursery-school teacher and earned her master's degree in elementary education from Columbia University in 1951.

In 1969, Chisholm ran and won a seat in Congress, where she ultimately served seven terms and earned the nickname "Fighting Shirley" for her passionate work for racial and gender equality.

She went on to be the first woman and African American to run for president of the United States under a major political party in 1972.

Malala Yousafzai continues to fight for the right of girls to go to school.

Malala Yousafzai grew up in Pakistan, where the Taliban took control. Girls were no longer allowed to go to school, and many of those institutions were being destroyed.

At just 11 years old, Yousafzai began to speak out against the Taliban on a blog and documented her experiences. After receiving some recognition for her work, at the age of 15, she was shot in the head by a member of the Taliban on her way home from school in 2012.

After her recovery in the United Kingdom, Yousafzai started the Malala Fund, a charity that fights for girls' education. In 2014, she became the youngest-ever Nobel Peace Prize winner at just 17 years old.

As recently as 2018, there were still more than 130 million girls not in school, and Yousafzai continues to break ground with her work across the world.

Marie Curie's groundbreaking discoveries led to the use of radiation to treat illness.

Marie Curie became a world-renowned physicist during a time when women weren't regarded for these types of roles.

Born in Poland, Curie left Warsaw in 1891 to study physics and mathematics at the Sorbonne in Paris. There, she met her husband Pierre Curie, and together they began researching the separation of radium from radioactive residues.

Their work covering radioactivity earned them the Nobel Prize for Physics.

After her husband died in 1906, Curie threw herself into her career and became the first woman to teach at the Sorbonne. She later earned a second Nobel Prize, this time in Chemistry for her work in isolating pure radium.

Curie was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize.

Her groundbreaking work advanced the use of radiation to treat illness and furthered research around nuclear physics.

Junko Tabei broke gender stereotypes as the first woman to climb to Mount Everest's summit.

Not only was Japanese mountaineer Junko Tabei the first woman to ever trek to Mount Everest's summit, but she also was the first one to complete the Seven Summits — climbing the tallest mountain on every continent.

Tabei formed the Ladies' Climbing Club in 1969, an all-woman mountaineering group that would eventually make the trek up Mount Everest together in 1975.

Although Tabei's accomplishment of climbing Mount Everest was huge on its own, her Ladies' Climbing Club broke barriers in Japan, where at the time it was believed that women should just be caring for their families.

Frida Kahlo's art celebrated the female form and Mexican culture.

After overcoming a debilitating injury and tumultuous marriage, Frida Kahlo became one of Mexico's most famous painters.

In 1925, she was in a bus accident that required her to have over 30 surgeries during her lifetime, but it was during her recovery that she learned to paint.

By the 1930s, Kahlo's marriage was suffering. Her husband was having an affair with her sister while Kahlo was also having extramarital relations with both men and women, so the couple divorced.

Kahlo became known for her surrealist self-portraits that celebrate both the female form and Mexican culture.

Today, she is heralded as a feminist and LGBTQ icon.

Valentina Tereshkova was the first woman in space.

Valentina Tereshkova was the first woman to ever go to space.

While working in a textile mill, Tereshkova joined a parachuting club, where she made 150 jumps. With that experience, she wrote a letter to the space center asking if she could join.

The Soviet space officials were already putting together a group of women for the next cosmonaut team. So in 1961, they decided to choose Tereshkova to join the next class of people to go to space.

After rigorous training, she was launched into space for a 70-hour-and-50-minute flight that resulted in 45 revolutions around Earth.

Katherine Johnson's keen mathematics skills helped put people in space.

Mathematician Katherine Johnson used her exceptional calculation skills to assess the flight paths of spacecrafts for NASA.

Prior to her work in the space industry, Johnson was one of the first three African American students to be accepted into the graduate program at West Virginia University in 1939. Soon after, she got married and started a family, putting her mathematics career on hold.

In 1953, Johnson began working for the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), which was still segregated at the time.

Her work analyzing flight tests led to her joining the Space Task Group for what would become NASA later that year. She did trajectory analysis for the first human spaceflight and ran calculations personally for John Glenn's orbital mission.

During her 33-year career, she was the first woman in her division to receive credit for a research report, and she went on to author or co-author 26 research papers.

Johnson received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from then-president Barack Obama in 2015.

Madam C.J. Walker became the first female self-made millionaire in the US.

Madam C.J. Walker created her own line of hair-care products in 1905, which led to her becoming the first female self-made millionaire in the United States.

Her business started after she invented a treatment for her own hair loss, and she began selling it as the Walker system.

Walker's products became popular among African American women because she used her personal experience and marketed the line as designed for a specific hair type.

She used her wealth to fund a YMCA in Indianapolis and made donations to the NAACP.

Katharine Graham's courage led her to become the first female CEO of a Fortune 500 company.

Katharine Graham paved the way for women in business as the first female CEO of a Fortune 500 company.

After her husband died in 1963, Graham took over as president of the Washington Post Company and ultimately led the newspaper to success.

Because of Graham's courage and tenacity, the Washington Post published the Pentagon Papers, which exposed the harsh realities of the Vietnam War and the Watergate scandal, despite pushback from the Richard Nixon administration.

Bessie Coleman learned to fly and promoted equality.

Despite facing poverty and discrimination, Bessie Coleman became the first African American female pilot.

After hearing the exciting stories from pilots returning from World War I, Coleman decided she was going to learn to fly.

It was nearly impossible for a woman to earn her pilot's license in the United States during this time, so Coleman went to France to learn in 1920.

When she returned to the United States a year later with her international pilot's license, she was met with fanfare and celebration.

She used her newfound fame to promote equality — Coleman would decline airshows that wouldn't admit African Americans.

Kathy Switzer was the first woman to officially complete the Boston Marathon.

In 1967, Kathy Switzer became the first woman to complete the Boston Marathon as a registered runner.

The year prior, another woman finished the race, but she ran without an official number. So Switzer became determined to enter and complete the Boston Marathon, despite pushback from her coach, boyfriend, and others.

She entered the race using just her initials and received mostly positive comments from other male runners. But once marathon officials realized a woman was participating, they found her on the course and tried to rip her race bib off her shirt.

She continued on and ultimately finished the race with her coach by her side.

Anthony dedicated her life to fighting for women's suffrage.

Suffragist Anthony dedicated her life's work to getting women the right to vote. After spending 15 years as a teacher, she joined the abolishment movement and temperance rallies.

She wasn't allowed to speak at the rallies because of her gender, so she ultimately joined the women's rights movement in 1852.

In 1872, the movement took a turn and gained attention when Anthony was arrested for voting. She continued to speak out for women's suffrage, gathering signatures for petitions and lobbying in Congress up until her death in 1906.

She died just a few years shy of the 1920 ratification of the 19th amendment, which finally gave women the right to vote. However, this addition to the constitution did not extend that right to many women of color across the nation.

Parks became a symbol of the civil rights movement.

Parks is best known for refusing to give up her seat on a city bus in segregated Alabama.

Prior to this moment, Parks worked as a seamstress while joining her local chapter of the NAACP.

On December 1, 1955, Parks became the face of the modern civil rights movement when she was arrested for not giving her bus seat to a white man.

This event was a catalyst for the civil rights movement and African Americans began boycotting the buses for just over an entire year.

In November 1956, the US Supreme Court ruled bus segregation unconstitutional.

Parks' work as the "mother of the civil rights movement" left a lasting legacy on the fight for equality in the United States and earned her the Congressional Gold Medal in 1999.

Nancy Pelosi was the first female Speaker of the House.

Known now for her strength and grit as the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi has worked hard to get to this point.

Her early political involvement began while living in San Francisco with her family, where she was a volunteer Democratic organizer with a knack for fundraising.

She eventually served on the Democratic National Committee and went on to run for California's 12th District Congressional seat, just narrowly winning the first election.

After she proved herself in her first term, she continued to be reelected and hold her ground in Washington D.C. She was known to use her stern voice to unite the moderates and liberals of her party to join together.

In 2002, Pelosi was elected as the minority whip, and later that year, she was voted in as the minority leader. So in 2003, she went on to be the first woman to lead a party in Congress.

In 2007, Pelosi was elected as the first woman to serve as Speaker of the House and continues to fill that position today.

Oprah Winfrey has earned remarkable success as an entertainment icon.

Oprah Winfrey has been called "the most powerful woman in the world" for her impact on the entertainment industry and philanthropic endeavors.

Before becoming a household name and hosting her own show, she was a reporter and anchor at a local TV station.

In 1984, she hosted the TV broadcast "AM Chicago," which was renamed "The Oprah Winfrey Show" less than a year later per its success.

After this program became the most popular talk show in national syndication and won several Emmy awards, Winfrey became the youngest person to win broadcaster of the year at the 1988 International Radio and Television Society Awards.

Later that year, Winfrey became America's third woman to have her own studio when she created Harpo Studios. That studio went on to produce "The Oprah Winfrey Show," which ran for 25 years.

In 1990, Winfrey became the first African American woman to be named one of the most influential people in entertainment by Entertainment Weekly.

In 2003, she also became the first African American woman on Forbes' "World's Richest People" list.

And in 2008, Winfrey created the Oprah Winfrey Network, a cable channel with dozens of original series.

In addition to her philanthropy work, Winfrey still impacts today's entertainment industry with her hard-hitting interviews, broadcasts on her network, and ongoing podcast.


September 20, 1973: Billie Jean King defeats Bobby Riggs in the ‘Battle of the Sexes’ tennis match

Billie Jean King, 1973 | Central Press/Getty Images

Bobby Riggs was a former No. 1 tennis player when he challenged Billie Jean King to a “Battle of the Sexes” match. King won the match and gained respect for women in sports for decades to come. Riggs claimed the women’s game was so inferior to the men’s that even a then-55-year-old like him could beat any young woman. King accepted a match invitation with a $100,000 prize and put Riggs in his place while simultaneously putting women on the map in the world of sports.

Next: A famous boxing match defined this boxer’s career.


9 Female Athletes Who Broke Barriers in 2016

Every year, female athletes get more and more of the respect they deserve. But we still live in a time when you can go on national TV and insult male athletes by saying they play like girls.

Charles Barkley explains why he doesn't like the way the Golden State Warriors play basketball pic.twitter.com/DaTud8Lwje

&mdash Agent of NBA Chaos (@World_Wide_Wob) December 2, 2016

In 2015, a University of Southern California TV news media study revealed that the previous year, Sportscenter – ESPN’s flagship highlights and analysis show – devoted just about three percent of its time to women’s sports. This media bias has real-life effects. Women athletes don’t get the recognition they deserve, and audiences continue to think of sports as a strictly male arena. In March, ESPNW Brasil had sports fans look at silhouettes of highlights and guess which athlete they were watching. All of the clips showed female accomplishments, but every single person guesses that they were watching a man.

The Olympics is one of the few times that the media covers women’s sports. But even then, the coverage can be slanted. NBC’s Olympic presentation gave more primetime spots to women than men, according to the New York Times. However, a lot of that coverage went to beach volleyball – where the women wear bikinis.

Then, there was the blatantly sexist coverage. After swimmer Katinka Hosszu and shooter Corey Cogdell-Unrein owned their respective sports, the media highlighted the men in their lives. Commentators discussed whether female athletes should wear makeup, they described a judo match between two women as a catfight, and they focused on women’s beauty and their bodies. Unfortunately, fans followed suit. One of the most infuriating moments had a male sports fan mansplaining to an Olympic cyclist how she could get better at her sport.

That trash aside, it shouldn’t be hard to recognize that female athletes are dope and they do dope shit. And there are real moments when you can see that they’re inspiring children of all genders, like this little dude who turned his Neymar jersey into a Marta jersey.

And it wasn’t just at the Olympics, anywhere you can think of women were doing their thing this year. Here are nine amazing athletes and and their accomplishments in 2016:

Amanda Nunes

In the UFC’s history, 11 Brazilian men have won world championships. But until July 9, no woman had accomplished the feat. That changed when Amanda Nunes stopped Miesha Tate in the first round and claimed the Women’s Bantamweight Championship. Nunes also made history by becoming the UFC’s first openly gay champion. Her reward, besides a giant gold belt, is a big money fight headlining the UFC’s end of year card against a returning Ronda Rousey. It’s a tough challenge, but beating the most famous woman in combat sports would set Nunes up for an even bigger 2017.

Mariana Pajón

Pajón medal record summarizes why people nicknamed her the Queen of the BMX. She won gold at six of the last seven BMX World Championships, including the 2016 version which took place in Medellin. For Colombia to have even hosted the event is remarkable, since the country paid the sport very little mind when Pajón was coming up. She then went on to Rio, where she won her second consecutive Olympic gold in Women’s BMX, making her the only Colombian to win two Olympic golds. Pajón’s only 25 years old and in 2020 will have the chance to become the country’s most decorated Olympian ever.

Monica Puig

Puig made history in 2016 when she won Puerto Rico its first-ever Olympic gold. The 32nd ranked tennis player in the world, she upset top-ranked Angelique Kerber in an emotional final match. She then used her platform to write an open letter to the people of her country. “I showed during the Olympics that nothing is impossible,” she said. “When you work hard, stay positive, and never give up, everything is possible. And this doesn’t just apply to sports, but in all areas of life. I know that we, as Puerto Ricans, have been through a lot. But together we’ll return to glory. Together we can do whatever.”

Laurie Hernandez

Hernandez was one of the true breakout stars of the 2016 Summer Olympics. The Puerto Rican gymnast won medals both individually and with her team. Then, she went pro and made herself some paper as the endorsements rained down. Not content to settle with Olympic glory, Hernandez then went on Dancing With the Stars, where she unsurprisingly took home the coveted mirror ball trophy during the 23rd season. Her personality and expressive face, which earned her the Human Emoji nickname, brought an infectious joy to gymnastics and made her a huge fan favorite. Plus, her signature floor routine remains super fun to watch.

Maya Dirado

Argentine-American swimmer DiRado went into the Rio Olympics knowing that she’d be retiring from the sport afterward, no matter her performance. And even after winning four medals and becoming a breakout star of swimming for Team USA, she decided to stick to her guns. With a job at consulting firm McKinsey & Company lined up, DiRado has plans to exercise her mind in the business world from now on. To be honest, her plans for the next Olympics sound pretty dope regardless. “You will find me in Tokyo in 2020 cheering on Team USA and stuffing my face with the best ramen I can find,” she said.

Brayelin Martínez

Although the Dominican Republic’s women’s volleyball team didn’t make it to this year’s Olympics, it still had a nice year. The team took home gold in the Women’s Pan-American Volleyball Cup, which they hosted in Santo Domingo. Martínez led the way, and got rewarded as the tournament’s MVP. The future is bright for for the squad, with the 20-year-old Martínez being joined by 21-year-old Winifer Fernández and 24-year-old Brenda Castillo. Outside of the volleyball world, they may get a lot of attention for their looks, but they’ve all earned accolades for their skills.

Omara Durand

Although Durand didn’t get to participate in the Summer Olympics, she dominated the Paralympic Games in Rio. The Cuban sprinter won gold in the 100 and 200 meters in the T12 category, which is for visually impaired athletes. She broke the world record in the 100 with a time of 11.40 seconds and the Paralympic record in the 200 with a time of 23.05.

Amalia Pérez

Mexico’s Pérez made it to her first Paralympics in 2000, where she claimed a silver medal in powerlifting. She’s been competing in the games ever since, and at 43 years old is still stronger than any of us. Pérez won her fifth medal in Rio while setting a world record by lifting 286 pounds. She now has gold in three straight Paralympics to go along with silvers won in Sydney and Athens. Pérez, who dedicated the win to her daughter, doesn’t plan on quitting anytime soon.

Daniela Rosas

At 13 years old, Daniela Rosas made history by becoming the youngest woman to surf the break at Pico Alto. The fearless young Peruvian impressively conquered the 15-foot waves with skills she learned from two of the country’s surfing legends, Sofia Mulanovich and Gabriel Villarán, who now coach 10 to 15 year olds at Proyecto Sofia Mulanovich.


7 Asian American sports trailblazers who changed the games

From athletes who broke the color barrier in professional hockey and basketball to multisport stars and hometown heroes, Asian Americans have been a part of the United States' sporting heritage.

In honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, NBC Asian America looks back at some of these trailblazers in sports.

Victoria Manalo Draves (1924 - 2010)

The first Asian American Olympic champion, Victoria Manalo Draves grew up in San Francisco, the daughter of a Filpino father, Teofilo Manalo, and an English mother, Gertrude Taylor.

Interracial marriages were frowned upon in those days, and an early coach made Manalo Draves use her mother's maiden name in competitions.

“When she was young, her mother would say to her and her two sisters, 'You guys look down at the ground, don't look up,'” David Lyle Draves, Manalo Draves’ son, told NBC News. “They always had to walk and keep their heads down."

She also faced a regular indignity when using a public pool -- the water would be drained the day after she used it.

“This really hurt my mom,” Draves said. “She would actually go to a pool and compete, and after she got done with the meet, they would empty the water out of the pool.”

Related

APAHM The golden friendship between the two first Asian American Olympic champions

On Aug. 3, 1948, Manalo Draves became the first Asian American to win an Olympic gold medal, placing first in the women's three-meter springboard at the 1948 London Summer Olympics. After the Olympics, Manolo Draves and her husband opened their own diving school. She was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1969.

In April 2010, Draves passed away because of pancreatic cancer. She was 85.

Walter Achiu (1902 – 1989)

Walter "Sneeze" Achiu was perhaps the first great Asian American multisport star.

Walter's father, Leong Achiu, was born in Shanghai, eventually setting in Hawaii, where he met Walter's Hawaii-born mother. Pronounced "a-choo", Achiu's nickname "Sneeze" seemed a natural thing.

A high school sports star, Walter went to the mainland in 1922 to attend the University of Dayton. The speedy football running back was an All-American honorable mention just three years later. Achiu was considered by the Dayton Daily News to be "the greatest drawing card in the history of the school and also their most popular performer with the fans."

He also starred in baseball, track and wrestling at the University of Dayton.

Achiu reached the National Football League in 1927, playing sparingly for the Dayton Triangles. He's considered the first person of East Asian descent to see NFL action, according to the Washington Post.

Achiu would go on to become a professional wrestling champion, competing into the 1950s.

He was named to the University of Dayton Athletic Hall of Fame in 1974, passing away at the age of 86 in 1989 in Honolulu.

Wataru Misaka (1923 - )

Japanese American Wataru "Wat" Misaka was playing for the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden over 60 years before "Linsanity."

Selected by the Knicks in the 1947 Basketball Association of America Draft, Misaka became both the first non-white player and first player of Asian descent to play in this precursor league that would become the National Basketball Association.

Because Misaka was from Utah, he was not forced into an incarceration camp during World War II. Instead, Misaka enjoyed a distinguished college career, helping the University of Utah win two national titles. In the 1947 NIT Championship, Misaka was credited with holding All-American Ralph Beard to just one point, leading the Utes to an upset victory over powerhouse Kentucky.

Misaka, however, played just three games for the Knicks in November 1947 before being waived.

"The Knicks had three starting guards already when I joined the team, so there was a certain amount of animosity as players were competing for their positions," Misaka told the Japan Times last year, recalling the circumstances of his departure. "I had been signed by Ned Irish, the Madison Square Garden VP, unbeknownst to the team manager."

He declined an offer to play with the Harlem Globetrotters and went back to school to get his engineering degree.

"The salary for a rookie and the salary for starting engineer weren’t much different," Misaka told Sports Illustrated in 2012.

The 95-year-old Misaka now resides in Utah.

Larry Kwong (1923 – 2018)

A year after Jackie Robinson broke baseball's color barrier with the Brooklyn Dodgers and Wat Misaka broke basketball's with the New York Knicks, Larry Kwong broke hockey's with the New York Rangers.

Hailing from Vernon, British Columbia, Kwong was a leading scorer for the Rangers' farm team, the New York Rovers, earning nicknames "King Kwong" and the "China Clipper".

"He was a big box office draw for them," Kwong's friend Chad Soon told NBC News. "On occasion, the Rovers would outdraw the Rangers at Madison Square Garden."

In March 1948, Kwong appeared as if he was getting his big break. He was summoned by the Rangers to take on the Canadiens at the Montreal Forum. However, the first period passed, and Kwong didn't play. The second period passed, and Kwong didn't play. Finally, in the third period, Kwong got on the ice for exactly one shift.

He was sent back to the Rovers the next day after one NHL shift.

"How can you prove yourself in a minute on the ice?" Kwong asked The Globe & Mail in 2014. "Couldn't even get warmed up."

Soon noted, "Back in 1948, it was hard to catch a break when you looked like Larry did."

Seeing the writing on the wall, Kwong left the Rovers for more lucrative professional opportunities elsewhere.

He played and coached in Europe. When he was hired as player-coach of Switzerland's HC Ambrì-Piotta, he became the first person of Chinese descent to coach a professional hockey team, according to the Calgary Herald.

He also coached tennis in Switzerland.

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News New generation of Asian American hockey players go pro after historic NHL draft

Kwong died in March 2018 in Calgary. He was 94.

Soon, however, is keeping Kwong's legacy alive. He started a Larry Kwong Appreciation Society on Facebook and is spearheading efforts to get Kwong inducted into both Canada's Sports Hall of Fame and the BC Hockey Hall of Fame.

Wally Yonamine (1925 – 2011)

Japanese American Wally Yonamine faced discrimination from two fronts as a professional athlete.

In 1947, Yonamine was a running back making his debut for the San Francisco 49ers.

"Sometimes when the opposing teams would gang-tackle him, they would punch him, kick him, or pinch him," recalled Bill Mizuno, Yonamine's friend, in "Wally Yonamine: The Man Who Changed Japanese Baseball" by Robert K. Fitts.

After a wrist injury, Yonamine decided to focus on baseball.

In 1951, Yonamine was an American outfielder making his debut for the Yomiuri Giants.

"When the Giants wanted to import an American player, everybody agreed they didn't want a Caucasian American," Fitts told NBC News. "It was still in the middle of the occupation and they felt it wouldn't be good publicity. So they looked for the best Japanese American they could find. That was Wally.

"When he got there, he got chants of 'Yankee, go home' because he was a foreigner. There was also that added issue of being a Nisei," Fitts added, using the Japanese language term for second generation Japanese Americans. "Wally felt that some Japanese really resented that American Japanese did not join their mother country and fight against the Americans."

Yonamine overcame this early resistance to enjoy a long and distinguished baseball career in Japan. He was an 11-time All-Star and became the first foreigner to be a manager. He was also inducted into the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame in 1994. Yonamine is the only American admitted into the Hall as a player.

He died in Honolulu in 2011, at age 85, because of prostate cancer.

Tiffany Chin (1967 - )

Tiffany Chin became the first Asian American U.S. figure skating champion when she won the 1985 U.S. Figure Skating Championship.

Born in Oakland, California, Chin also won bronze medals at the 1985 and 1986 World Figure Skating Championships and placed fourth at the 1984 Sarajevo Winter Olympics.

She has also been cited as a major role model by Kristi Yamaguchi, the 1992 U.S. champion and 1992 Olympic gold medalist.

“I think it was so key for me to have an Asian American role model and influence to pursue skating,” Yamaguchi told NBC News in February 2018.

Bobby Balcena (1925 – 1990)

When 30-year-old Bobby Balcena stepped up to bat for the Cincinnati Redlegs (now Reds) on Sept. 16, 1956, at Brooklyn's Ebbets Field, he became the first Filipino to appear in a Major League Baseball game.

Ebbets Field was a long way away from the sandlots of Southern California, where the 5-foot-7-inch outfielder grew up playing ball at San Pedro High School. The World War II veteran spent eight years in the minors, bouncing from Mexicali to Toronto to Seattle, before his big league debut in Brooklyn.

"I wasn't up there long. But I was there," a smiling Balcena told the Los Angeles Times .

Balcena struck out against the Dodgers' Sal Maglie, but he had struck a massive blow for Asian Americans in sports.

"As little as he is, he was one helluva football player at San Pedro High as well as a super baseball player," classmate Pete Bentojova recalled. "If he had only been a little bigger, he would have been one of the immortals."

Balcena spent two weeks with Cincinnati, then another six seasons in the high minors with teams from Hawaii to Buffalo.

The 64-year-old died of natural causes in 1990.

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Top 10 Affluent Women Who Broke Gender Stereotypes

For a long time now, the world has been a male-dominated playground where a lot of professions have been reserved for the male species alone to date. From a boardroom meeting to ivy sports leagues, men have been proving their mettle in these fields, while women were ignored or considered incapable of handling many of these jobs with the age-old cliché mentality “She is just a woman”. While women have recently started standing up for equal rights and equal opportunities, a lot of women have faced the heat to prove themselves and build careers in a lot of these male-dominated arenas and have emerged as winners, paving the way for a lot more women to follow.

On this International Women’s day, PromptCloud would like to salute these women who have rebelled against the pre-defined gender stereotypes and broken multiple barriers to reach the position they are in today. Let’s have a look at these role models who have lit a thousand dreams in the eyes of many and are a source of tremendous inspiration for everyone.

1. Angela Merkel- Germany’s first female chancellor, Angela, has remained at the top of Forbes’s most powerful women list for 5 years now. Since her introduction to the political office in 2005, she has won many awards for great political work and her party’s progression. She has led Germany through its economic and social prosperity commendably and has catapulted the women’s role in politics to greater heights with such great standards.

2. Susan Wojcicki– The CEO of YouTube and a powerful role model for all women in tech, Susan is a strong believer in creating equal opportunities for women in technology. At the recent Grace Hopper Celebration, she was caught saying “Unless we make a change today, the future of tech will look like just it does today”, referring to the current imbalanced gender gap in one of the largest growing economic and social shift of the century. Now here is a woman striving to revolutionize the technology fields and bring in a more feminine perspective.

3. Janet Yellen– There was a time when banks were defined as home to men in suits. Janet Yellen created history by becoming the first woman head of the Federal Reserve. Nominated by President Obama, Janet Yellen took over her chair in October 2013 and since then created limitless possibilities for women dreaming of making it big in the banking sector. She is a powerful role model for women in the states and across the globe.

4. Col. Jeannie Flynn Leavitt- Col. Jeannie Flynn Leavitt has been breaking gender stereotypes in the aviation industry for nearly two decades. From becoming the first female fighter pilot to the first female wing commander, she has been rewriting rules for girls who wish to join the air force, giving wings to their desires to fly planes which were considered to be only the boys’ toys. Merit and passion do fly higher than stereotypes in this case, doesn’t it?

5. Erin DiMeglio– To change the gender bias, we have to change the system from the root level. Schools, for example, should teach not to discriminate between genders. Erin has emerged as one clear winner against gender-based stereotyping by becoming the first female quarterback in the Florida Boys’ high school football team, playing in a regular-season game. She plays tough and fair and we are sure she is going to win many laurels for her team. Way to go, Erin!

6. Kristen Titus– The executive director of Girls Who Code, Kristen has been creating a high impact against gender imbalances in the tech world. She aims to introduce teenage girls to the field of computer science so they can create a career for themselves in one of the highest growing job sectors. She is committed to closing the gender gap in the industry in the years to come.

7. Chanda Kochhar- Chanda Kochhar, the CEO and MD of ICICI Bank–the largest private bank in India is living proof that hard work always pays off. An inspiration to all the women in the banking industry, Chanda joined ICICI as a management trainee in 1984 and rose through the levels of hierarchy quickly. She believes merit speaks for itself and no special privileges should be given to anyone based on their gender. Way to go, Ms Kochhar, we hear you!


8. Amy Mainzer-
An American astronomer, Amy specializes in astrophysical instrumentation and infrared astronomy. She is a role model for many women who wish to excel in the sciences, especially the field of astronomy. She is currently the Principal Investigator for the NEOWISE project to study minor planets and is well on her path to discover exciting stuff beyond the stars. Oh, and did we mention she has an asteroid named after her too?

9. Megan Knowles-Bacon- She is just 22 years old, and she is already creating magic–literally! Megan Knowles-Bacon has become the first woman to be induced in the highly respected and private organization of some of the best magicians in the world–The Magic Circle. She is definitely creating ripples in the male populated industry of magicians and has gathered a huge fan base for herself. She has exemplified that when girls put their passion and dreams together, they can work wonders!

10. Becky Hammon– Ever seen a female coach? Becky is defying all restrictions and barriers and has become the first female full-time assistant coach in the history of NBA for the San Antonio Spurs in 2015. Though she has been hired for her IQ and knowledge of the game, we sure look forward to seeing more poise and elegance at the next spurs game!

All these women and many more have proven that they cannot be restricted or stereotyped. They put their passion and hard work together and now inspire many such ambitious women, stating it loud and clear–It is time to break the gender stereotypes.


Watch the video: Female Doctors breaking barriers at FIFA U-17 WWC


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