I ran track in high school for all of two whole seconds. My mind was built to be a runner. Determined, strong, and certainly a force to be reckoned with. But at 13 my body had other plans. I think back to middle school days before I acquired my DDD chest and 52 inch hips.
Our home sat on a field of gorgeous green land. What seemed like 20 acres then is really only 6. When school was out during the summer, we would mark the road from one street light to the next and from there the challenge was set. I was always the fastest one and I usually beat the boys down the road too.
I remember the first time I spotted Florence Griffith-Joyner at the World Championships in 1983. She came in fourth place that year but I was mesmerized by her grace and beauty. I watched her and her long hair flow in the wind like a bird as she zoomed down the track. And of course I was obsessed with red lip she rocked during her interviews. As a young woman she was one of the first woman athletes that I remember. She made me feel like I could do anything. Of course I ended up falling in love with fashion but …
Can you imagine a world where women aren’t allowed to play sports? No Billy Jean, Venus or Serena, Oksana, or Mary Lou. Without Title IX that’s just were we would be. June 23 marks the 40th anniversary for Title IX. Wondering what Title IX is? Don’t worry so did I. Here’s your history lesson for today.
Title IX is a portion of the Education Amendments of 1972 which states: No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity.
In celebration of Title IX and it’s 40th anniversary I’ve put together a list of fun facts about women’s sports.
- Way back when in 776 BC, the first Olympics are held in ancient Greece. Women are excluded, so they compete in their own Games of Hera, to honor the Greek goddess who ruled over women and the earth.
- Speed skating for women was demonstrated at the Winter Olmpics in Lake Placid, NY in 1932.
- Edith Cummings, golfer, was the first women athlete to appear on TIME magazine.
- In 1964 Althea Gibson becomes the first black woman to earn her LPGA player’s card.
- Billie Jean King is named the Sportswoman of the Year by Sports Illustrated in 1972. The first time the award is given to a woman.
- In 1978 The first game of the Women’s Professional Basketball League (WBL) is played between the Chicago Hustle and Milwaukee Does on Dec. 8.
- The first NCAA college basketball championship for women is held in 1982 using a 32 team field, with Louisianna Tech defeating Cheyney State 76-62.
- In 1998, Steffi Graf captures her 105th career singles title at the Leipzig Open and breaks Martina Navratilova’s record for career earnings with $20,445,842.
- The Williams sisters make it an historic US Open in the first women’s final televised in prime time from Arthur Ashe Stadium in NY in 2001. Venus wins her second consecutive US Open title, beating Serena 6-2, 6-4 in the first Grand Slam between sisters in 117 years. Nearly 23 million viewers tune in during the match.
- The United Arab Emirates will host the first Arab Women’s Sports Tournament at the Sharjah Ladies Club from Feb. 2-12. Clubs from 12 countries will compete in events including basketball, volleyball, shooting and table tennis.
Look how far we’ve come. So don’t be shy, share with me what female athletes have inspired you?
Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Nike via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Nike.