Women have historically been underrepresented in the world of sports and fitness, but that doesn't mean they haven't made an impact. In fact, there are a number of iconic ladies who have broken down social barriers to become some of the most influential figures in the industry. From blazing trails to breaking records, these five remarkable women have not only changed public perceptions on female athletes but also inspired generations of people to take up sports and live an active lifestyle. In honor of this month being Women's History Month, we're celebrating their incredible feats and the impact they've made. Read on to explore their achievements, struggles, and lasting legacies within the world of sport & fitness.
The Achievements of Jackie Joyner-Kersee
Jackie Joyner-Kersee is an Olympic gold medalist who has achieved a number of impressive athletic feats. She won three gold medals in track and field at the 1988 Summer Olympics, becoming the first female athlete to do so. She also holds five world records for long jump and is regarded as one of the greatest athletes in history. Moreover, Joyner-Kersee received numerous awards from various sports organizations and charities for her philanthropy and publishing efforts. As a gifted writer and teacher, she authored two books on fitness and nutrition. She not only became a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF, but she also went on to serves as chairwoman of her own foundation, Athletes for Hope, that promotes youth athletics programs in her hometown of St. Louis, Missouri.
Breaking Barriers with Billie Jean King
Billie Jean King is the face of social activism in athletics; having torn down gender barriers in the public eye that made a lasting impact on how women are perceived in the field. She was a pivotal figure in the development of women’s professional tennis, becoming one of the first players to receive equal prize money for her matches. In 1973, she founded the Women’s Tennis Association, which is still the governing body of women’s tennis today. She has also been an outspoken advocate for LGBTQ+ rights and gender equality, receiving numerous awards for her social activism. Her legacy lives on through the various youth sports programs that she supports and organizations such as The Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative which works to expand opportunities for women in sports.
Serena Williams' Inspiring Journey
Serena Williams has been a modern icon in women's tennis and has achieved remarkable success throughout her career. She is the all-time leader in Grand Slam titles for singles, doubles, and mixed doubles, with a total of 39 major titles. She was the first African American woman to be ranked number one in the entire world, and the first to win a “calendar-year Grand Slam” (all four major titles in the same year). In addition, she has been an advocate for equal pay and social justice, gaining recognition for her efforts through the establishment of her own foundation, The Serena Williams Fund.
Ronda Rousey's Rise to Fame
Ronda Rousey is a pioneer of equality in one of the most male-dominated sports sectors, having achieved massive success in both mixed martial arts (MMA) and professional wrestling. She began her MMA career at the young age of 22 and quickly rose to prominence, becoming the very first female fighter to sign with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). She won her first twelve fights, nine of which were by submission. As a wrestler, she became the first woman to win a WWE championship and was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame in 2020. She is also an author, actor, and activist who has used her platform to advocate for LGBTQ+ rights and gender equality.
Tia-Clair Toomey: Fittest Woman on Earth
Tia-Clair Toomey is an Australian weightlifter and CrossFit athlete who has earned the title of “Fittest Woman on Earth” not once, not twice, but seven times. She is the first woman to ever win multiple titles at the CrossFit Games, having won in 2017, 2018, and 2019. She is also a three-time Commonwealth Games gold medalist and currently holds the record for total weight lifted in the women’s 58kg division. She is an advocate for healthy living, promoting body positivity and balanced diets on her social media platforms.
A Lasting Impact that inspires generations
The accomplishments of many influential women in the world of sports and fitness have had a profound effect on public perceptions of female athletes. These five women, Billie Jean King, Serena Williams, Ronda Rousey, Tia-Clair Toomey, and others have all made tremendous contributions to the field and their legacies continue to inspire generations of athletes, both male and female, to pursue active lifestyles. They have also helped to create a more inclusive sports environment by advocating for equal pay, gender equality, and increased opportunity for minorities in the field. Their stories serve as an example of how hard work and dedication can lead to great success, no matter the circumstances. It is clear that these women have made a lasting impact on the world of sports and fitness, and their accomplishments will continue to inspire people for years to come!