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On top of the world: Highlighting women in sports

A deep dive into some of the world’s most influential women athletes
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REBECA MOYA/THE VARSITY
REBECA MOYA/THE VARSITY

The sports world has been blessed enough to have gotten the chance to celebrate some great women athletes. However, many go under the radar and don’t get the media coverage that their achievements warrant. Since March marked Women’s History Month, why not take a look at some of the best and most inspirational women athletes?

It’s impossible to talk about the great women athletes without starting with the one and only Serena Williams. Williams, regarded by many as one of the greatest athletes of all time — Tom Brady and Tiger Woods, watch your backs — is an American tennis player. She has won 73 Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) titles, including 23 Grand Slam events, and she has been ranked as the number one singles player in the world by the WTA for three years, between 2013 and 2015. 

In a TED talk with Gale King, Williams emphasized her role as an inspirational figure for many other women. She said, “I’ve been a pro for almost 20 years, and so, for me, it’s really important to hold women up… I want to be able to be a good leader and a good example for them.” Her achievements are a glimpse of her unmatched athleticism, and her fierceness and leadership go far beyond the court as well.

On a completely different side of the sports world, the main character of the iconic movie Soul Surfer — one of the greatest sports comeback stories — is a real living legend! Bethany Hamilton was a 13-year-old rising star surfer until she lost her left arm due to a shark attack. Despite the situation, which it seemed like she would be unable to return from, Hamilton began surfing again only one month after the attack. Not only did she continue surfing, she later went on to win her first national title. Her determination and faith through a deadly injury are one of the paramount examples of incredible women athletes. 

Not only can women dominate in the sports they’ve spent their whole careers playing, but women like Sarah Fuller have also branched out into others as well. When Fuller, who’d played as a goalkeeper for Aurora FC in the United Soccer League W-League, found that there were obstacles stopping her from competing in collegiate football, she took things into her own hands — or rather, feet. She became the first woman to play in an NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision game. Fuller performed the kick-off in the second half for the Vanderbilt Commodores.

While there are many women athletes who have attained unfathomable athletic achievements and even greater impacts outside their sports, it is important to note the talents of other inspiring women in sports outside of the athletes themselves.

One woman who inspires me is Erin Andrews, a sportscaster with some of the most exclusive interviews in the NFL. There is also Toronto-born Aisha Visram, who, this year, in her work with the LA Kings, became the second woman in NHL history to work behind the bench during a regular season game. Finally, I want to mention Lori Locust, a defensive line coach for the Super Bowl 55-winning Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who became one of the first women to be a position coach in the NFL.

“She believed she could, so she did.” This is a phrase that these women and many other women athletes and women in the sports industry have exemplified time and time again — and their achievements can be an inspiration for all of us.