Women’s History Month: 5 Inspiring Female Athletes Throughout History
Here at Ida Sports, we tend to think that women should be celebrated and prioritized all year round. In the spirit of celebration though, we’re going to highlight some badass women throughout March for Women’s History Month. To kick things off, we’ve decided to take on the impossible task of highlighting just 5 inspiring athletes throughout history… though this list could easily be 500! Here’s who we’re celebrating this week and always (in no particular order)...
1. Billie Jean King
No list would be complete without this absolute legend! You’ll probably see the tennis champion and pioneer appear on many blogs and social media posts this month, but for good reason. Billie Jean King has been an amazing advocate for gender equality since her playing days, and continues to advocate for women through her work with the Women’s Sports Foundation. In addition to her 39 Grand Slam titles, she also founded the Women’s Tennis Association, fought for equal prize money in her sport, and famously beat Bobby Riggs in the 1973 “Battle of the Sexes” match.
2. Kerry Davis
As England’s Lionesses gain more national and international notoriety, it’s important to remember the players that laid the foundation for women and girls in football throughout the UK. Kerry Davis was the first Black woman to play for the Lionesses and was their record goalscorer until Kelly Smith took the top spot in 2010. Over her 16-year international career, she collected 82 caps and played in England’s first World Cup in 1995. She recently sat down with Nikita Paris to discuss their shared experience as Black women representing England - check it out here.
3. Kim Crabbe and Sandi Gordon
Yes, yes... we know we said 5 athletes but these next two both deserve a shout! In 1986, Kim Crabbe became the first Black woman to be called into a USWNT camp and in 1987, Sandi Gordon became the first Black woman to earn an official cap with the national team. While these two players remain relatively unknown to wider audiences, their impact was felt through generations to come and opened the door for future legends like Brianna Scurry and Crystal Dunn.
4. Sheryl Swoopes
It’s hard to believe that the WNBA has only been around since 1996! And who was the very first player signed? Sheryl Swoopes. Her legendary status stems far beyond a simple signature though. She’s won 3 Olympic gold medals, an NCAA championship, a WNBA championship, and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Even more epic? She took on the pressure of representing the league and women’s basketball players to a wider market and ultimately set the league up for the growth and success it’s experiencing today!
5. Bridgette Starr
In 1999, Bridgette Starr became the first Aboriginal woman to represent Australia at a World Cup final and then again at the Olympic Games. She gathered 53 caps for the Matildas and has since been inducted into the Aboriginal and Islander Sports Hall of Fame. She remains one of just six players with First Nations heritage to have played for the Matildas internationally.
This list really could go on and on when it comes to highlighting the pioneers that have and continue to push boundaries of what's possible and expected. Stay inspired, friends!