A woman is the full circle. Within her is the power to create, nurture and transform. Beating all odds and trivial standards associated with femininity, women today have established themselves and emerged as a source of perennial transfiguration. They have outwitted the conventional yardstick and have paved way to breakthrough of the previously existing benchmark.
Who says sports is a man’s world? BragSocial, today, counts its picks for the female pioneers who have not just competed but also overshadowed norms and are an epitome in their respective sport. We present to you the most renowned and talented female athletes who have gone head-to-head against men in their own chosen division in the field of sports.
Billie Jean King
Billie Jean is not just one of the greatest female tennis players of all times. She is one of the sports all-time classic icons. Her reputation goes far beyond her Grand Slam Titles for wins in the Federation Cup and Wightman Cup. Instead Billie is an icon for gender equality. Thanks to her legendary battle of the sexes tennis match against another big-name, 1939 Wimbledon winner and three-time world number one ranked, Bobby Riggs. Although Kings was down to Riggs early on the match, her eventual victory made headlines around the world. This stroke a blow against male chauvinism and made King part of Tennis history in the process.
Our next athlete has (ice) hockey in her blood. Angelo Ruggiero boasts a laundry list of accolades including a place in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Moreover, she has made multiple appearances as an Olympian. However, she is an MBA (Masters of Business Administration) from Harvard Business School. She is also the first women in history to play professional hockey in a non-goalie position during a regular season game. She has played as a member of the 2005 lineup for the Tulsa Oilers. Evidently, Ruggiero is driven beyond belief and is more than capable of handling the fiery physicality. This often goes hand in hand with this icy competitive sport.
It maybe called the Little League World Series but there is nothing minuscule about the accomplishments of Mo’ne Davis in this sports competition. Although this young athlete was not the first girl to play in the Youth Baseball Classic. However, she made history multiple times in the year 2014. As a first girl to pitch a winning game and for that win to be a shutout victory remarked her top notch performances.
The exemplary performance of Davis in that Little League World Series finals earned the game its highest viewer ratings ever. Consequently ensuring the talented athlete a place among the legends of the sport. Amusingly enough, Davis herself counts Basketball as her true calling, another sport in which she excels.
Nowadays the fact that women compete in professional figure skating is not at all strange or unorthodox. However, this was not exactly the case back in 1902. When Florence Madeleine Syers, also known as Madge, broke into what was at that time an exclusively male competition. Syers won a silver medal as a first woman to compete in a World Figure Skating Championships. In the process, she created an entire women’s division in her wake. The International Skating Union would usher in a Female Figure Skating Championship the unconventional success of Madge Syers. Furthermore, she won the stated Championship in 1906 and 1907, and also credited an Olympic Gold in the year followed.
Many people see bowling as just another excuse for a guys night out. Well, do not tell this to Kelly Kulick. She improbably broke the proverbial glass ceiling for the sport when she became the first woman to win the tour title of the Professional Bowlers Association (PBA). Kulick was indeed a dominating player. Gradually, she impressed everyone during her decisive victory at the 2010 Tournament of Champions against Veteran Chris Barnes. She was also the first female bowler to achieve PBA Tour Exemption in 2006. This implied that she was able to compete in every PBA event for the following year, skipping over any qualifying rounds.
Anky Van Crunsven
She is one of the most well-known competitors in the equestrian world. An athlete who has seen more than her fair share of success and controversy. Olympic level Equestrian is the only sport in the games where men and women compete against each other. It is here that Van Crunsven has shined winning nine medals, three of which are consecutive golds.
Babe Didrikson Zaharias
This gifted athlete excelled at a number of sports including track and field baseball and basketball. It is her achievements in the world of golf for which she is best known however. Her trailblazing role for women in golf was secured when she became the first woman to compete amongst men. This was echoed years later in the careers of such stars as Annika Sorenstam, Suze Whaley and Michelle Wie.
Joanie Laurer (aka China)
The high testosterone world of professional wrestling may seem like one of the last places in which a woman would want to compete against men for championships and prestige. But then again, Joanie Laurer was not definitely your typical woman.
Billed as the ninth wonder of the world, Laurer would capture the imaginations and admiration of wrestling fans everywhere as China. With absolutely dominating physical presence that could easily go head-to-head with any of the guys in the locker room. China eventually made history as the first and only woman to hold the WWF Intercontinental Tittle, when she beat Jeff Jarrett.
She fought for women to break free from the shackles of sexism which still dogged boxing in the 1970s. She butted heads constantly with the New York States Athletic Commission in an attempt to get her bout sanctioned and sued for discrimination in 1975. That same year she made history by knocking out boxer Larry Rhoda. Tonawanda would taste a greater victory three years later when a lawsuit finally won women the right for sanctioned professional boxing matches.
Even if the names mentioned prior do not ring a bell, chances are you are well aware of this one. Danica Patrick has served as a role model for all young women looking to enter the world of professional motorsports. She is one of the most visible race car driving celebrities in the industry today. Patrick is not all show and go however. As she is also the first women to win an IndyCar Series with her performance at the 2008 Indy Japan 300. Although she is just as likely to appear in commercials or talk shows, Patrick’s success in this male dominated industry can not be understated.
“You may write me down in history With your bitter, twisted lies, You may trod me in the very dirt. But still, like dust, I’ll rise. Just like moons and like suns, With the certainty of tides, Just like hopes springing high, Still I’ll rise.”
Courage, sacrifice, determination, commitment, toughness, heart, talent, guts. That’s what little girls are made of; do heck with sugar and spice. A woman setting up new standards and standing head-to-head with a man is indubitably powerful beyond measure and beautiful beyond description. What more motivation do you need to drive you towards your goal. The lock, stock, and barrel is that if these exemplary women pioneers can, then you too can. Remember, you miss a hundred percent of the opportunities you do not take. So give that dream a shot, it might be your chance to step into the shoes of these icons and may even be next.