Throughout history, women have been consistently undermined and underestimated in the sports world. Despite this, many female athletes have broken gender barriers by setting world records, winning gold medals, and making history. Here are some of the top female athletes who have shattered glass ceilings.
Serena Williams has become an icon and inspiration for female athletes around the world. She has consistently dominated the tennis world, setting multiple records and winning countless titles. Williams has won 23 Grand Slam singles titles, the most by any player (male or female) in the Open Era. She also has four Olympic gold medals to her name, two in singles and two in doubles. Williams has used her platform to advocate for greater equality and pay parity for female athletes.
Simone Biles is widely regarded as the best gymnast of all time. She has won an astonishing 25 World Championship medals and four Olympic gold medals. Biles has been vocal about the need for greater safeguards to protect young athletes from abuse, following the USA Gymnastics sexual abuse scandal. She has bravely spoken up about her own experiences of abuse and has become a role model both on and off the mat.
Billie Jean King
Billie Jean King is a tennis legend who fought tirelessly for gender equality in the sport. She famously defeated Bobby Riggs in the “Battle of the Sexes” in 1973, which helped to promote women’s tennis and showcase that women could hold their own against men. King founded the Women’s Tennis Association and pushed for equal prize money for male and female players. Her legacy still resonates in the sport today, where female players receive the same prize money as their male counterparts at all major tournaments.
Misty Copeland broke down barriers in the world of ballet, becoming the first African American principal dancer at the American Ballet Theatre. Copeland’s unique talent and stunning performances have transformed the traditional image of a ballerina. She has used her platform to advocate for greater diversity in the arts and to challenge the notion that ballet is exclusively for a certain type of person.
Kathrine Switzer was the first woman to run in the Boston Marathon in 1967, despite being told that women were not allowed to participate in the race. Switzer famously completed the race, despite physical attacks from officials who tried to stop her from running. Her determination paved the way for future female runners and inspired countless women to take on physical challenges.
These female athletes have shown that with hard work, determination, and a willingness to challenge the status quo, glass ceilings can be shattered. They have inspired people around the world and have helped to promote greater equality and inclusion in the sports world. Their legacies will continue to inspire future generations of female athletes to break barriers and achieve their dreams.