Up until the 1960s, and for as long as anyone could remember, serious participation in athletics was for boys and men. When Title IX of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 mandated schools to devote equal resources and equal emphasis to sports for female as well as male students, everything changed.
Why did it matter? Because sports has always been about more than just fun and games. The gymnasium and the playing field are proving grounds and life laboratories, providing students with the opportunity to develop fitness, to learn teamwork and discipline, and to gain lifelong recreational skills. For the talented few, athletics have provided a way to excel professionally.
The pioneer women in sports, such as Babe Didrikson and Althea Gibson, had to overcome pre Title-IX barriers to find a place for their talent. Later on, the battle continued as star performers like Billie Jean King and Mia Hamm reinvented their sports to show what women could do in a more equal world.
Margaret Abbott: Sharon Sites Adams: Bonnie Blair: Alice Coachman: Sarah Darras: Jean Driscoll: Juli Furtado: Lynn Hill: Julie Krone: Elizabeth (Betty) Robinson: Janice Lee York Romary: Joan Benoit Samuelson: Louise Stokes and Tidye Pickett: Debbie Thomas: Kristi Yamaguchi: