Sports

Time to Play Like a Girl

Over the last several years women in sports have garnered a great deal of attention. It has been noted that women are striving for equality in athletics and are working hard to show their strength.

Ronda Rousey is one of the most recognized female athletes in the world. In addition to Rousey, there are many other recognized female athletes including Serena Williams, Brittney Griner, Alex Morgan and Hillary Knight. These women are inspirations to girls everywhere.

Rousey endured a tough childhood, including speech problems and her father’s suicide. According to RollingStone.com, Rousey’s father broke his back while sledding with his daughters, and was unable to heal properly due to a blood disorder. Knowing that he would become a paraplegic, he took his life when Rousey was only 8 years old.

Another issue she faced occurred during birth. The umbilical cord had been strangling Rousey and is the reason for her speech impediment. She couldn’t utter an intelligible word until she was 6 years old.

Rousey brought female mixed martial arts competition to the mainstream audience, winning one of the two UFC women’s championships. She had been undefeated, until her latest fight against Holly Holm.

The former bantamweight champion had been considered the best pound for pound MMA fighter in the world. Edmond Tarverdyan, Rousey’s trainer working with her since 2010 stated, “She’s a born fighter,” according to RollingStone.com. Rousey ended many of her fights in the first round, typically by submission, with her signature move: the armbar.

On top of her fighting career, Rousey has been selling t-shirts to help raise money for the Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services.

According to Rousey’s official website, she stated, “It’s not your purpose in life to be happy, it’s your purpose in life to leave the world better than how you found it. I’m trying to do that.”

Also noted to be in the limelight, Serena Williams is an American professional tennis player. She has won over twenty Grand Slam singles titles and numerous Olympic gold medals.

At 34 years old, Williams has come back from a knee injury to regain her status as an elite player and has even teamed with her sister Venus Williams to win a series of doubles titles.

In 2003 Serena underwent knee surgery. She has faced many obstacles, she saw her ranking fall to 139. Up until the 2012 Summer Olympic Games where she came back and won her first gold medal in women’s singles. Williams then kept up her winning streak.

By the end of 2012 she had 15 Grand Slam singles titles and 13 Grand Slam doubles titles according to Biography.com.

In addition to Serena Williams athletic abilities, she is well-known for her charitable work fighting breast cancer and her support of Big Brothers Big Sisters, which is a non-profit organization which aims to help children reach their potential through one-on-one mentorships with volunteers. She has traveled to Ghana as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador to advocate for the children to receive better education in the developing world according to Bleacherreport.com.

At 6 feet 8 inches tall, Brittney Griner towers over the competition. Griner was the first WNBA player to ever dunk a basketball twice in a game. Her two effortless slams set the record for most dunks to ever occur in a game. Additionally, she tied a league record for most dunks in a career.

In an estimated twenty seven minutes Griner matched an all-time mark shared by Lisa Leslie and Candace Parker, according to USAToday.com. Prior to breaking this record Griner had made eighteen career dunks at Baylor.

Griner won defensive player of the year in 2014 and currently plays for the Phoenix Mercury. A ten-year WNBA (Women’s National Basketball Association) veteran and teammate of Griner, Diana Taurasi, once said that Griner is not trying to be anyone she is not. Griner proudly presents herself as exactly who she is. Her career has flourished due to her self-acceptance. Griner says this is one of the major aspects she loves about being in the WNBA.

Although she is a famous athlete, Griner has dealt with issues in her private life. Between domestic abuse charges with her former partner Glory Johnson, annulment of their marriage and now the pregnancy of her former wife, Griner proves that she is not above the law and poor decision making. According to USAtoday.com, Griner pleaded guilty to misdemeanor disorderly conduct six days later and entered a domestic violence diversion program.

Famous soccer player Alex Morgan is recognized as one of the world’s top female athletes. At the age of fourteen Alex Morgan began playing soccer. Since then, Morgan has developed a successful career in the sport that she loves.

In 2011, Morgan was drafted first overall in the Women’s Professional Soccer draft by the Western New York Flash. Additionally, she was on the women’s national team in the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Morgan was the youngest player on the team and scored her first World Cup goal against France in the semifinal match.

In 2012, Alex Morgan found herself on the U.S. Olympic women’s soccer team winning her first gold medal in the 2012 Summer Olympic Games. Later in the spring of 2015 Morgan was hit by a knee injury. She later recovered from this injury to end the season with the team and bring home the first U.S. women’s World Cup title since 1999, according to RollingStone.com.

Another famous female athlete by the name of Hilary Knight has sprung into the limelight. Hilary Knight is a professional hockey player. She is an Olympic Silver Medalist, the MVP of the Canadian Women’s Professional hockey league, a four-time World Champion, and three-time All American in the sport of women’s hockey.

Knight had surpassed her coach’s record that stood for over thirty years and set the all-time record for goals. She decided to attend Wisconsin for her collegiate years. Here she prepared to make the 2010 U.S. Olympic team. As a sophomore, she led the nation with forty-five goals and went on to win a National Championship with her fellow Badgers, according to HilaryKnight.com.

These individuals have helped to change what it means to be a woman. Being a girl no longer equals inferiority. Women in fact are fighting for their chance in the spotlight of athleticism. Young females everywhere are following the many female athletes that inspire them to not only be their best but to push to do what others say they can’t.

Young women look up to these athletic individuals and hope to achieve what these women have successfully accomplished. It is clear that as successful women pop up in the athletic world there will continue to be a rise in female athletes. As long as the stories of these individuals live on and spread, they will encourage women everywhere to stay active and involved and to go after their dreams.

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