Mildred Ella "Babe" Didrikson Zaharias has, in many ways, become America's all-but-forgotten sports superstar. You might have seen the round brick museum built in her tribute as you zip along Interstate 10 in Beaumont, Texas (Google maps), or remember she ranked #10 on the ESPN SportsCentury top 50 athletes of the 20th century, but that was back in 1999. So if this is all news to you, here's a bit more about Babe. [more inside]
Each of Historian Barbara Wells Sarudy's six blogs contains a wealth of esoteric treasures: "President John Adams declared, “History is not the Province of the Ladies.” Oh well, I'll give it a try." [more inside]
The Strongest Woman In America Lives In Poverty. Weightlifter Sarah Robles is an incredible athlete, but outside the world of squats and snatches, barely anyone knows her name.
It’s a very specialized set of sports that the Chinese focus on but they simply kick absolute ass at them. ... If you look at the 2008 Olympic weightlifting results in Beijing... the women didn’t just squeak by to win a medal; most were simply so far ahead of their competition that it was a joke. In most cases, the Chinese women took their first attempt after everyone else had already finished lifting for the day. And they came out and just dispatched their weights in perfect form, setting new world records and winning medals with abandon. [more inside]
Mamie "Peanut" Johnson is one of three women to play in the Negro Leagues, and as of yet, the only woman to pitch at the major level in the United States. [more inside]
Lakers beat writer obliterates the myth that Wilt Chamberlain slept with 20,000 women. [more inside]
October 18, 1997, Liz Heaston becomes the first woman to score points in a college football game (NAIA), kicking for Willamette in their victory over Linfield College. August 30, 2001, Ashley Martin kicks three extra points for Jacksonville State University, helping them in their 72-10 defeat of Cumberland, and becoming the first woman to score points in a Division 1 game. August 30, 2003, Katie Hnida becomes the face of women in college football when she scores two extra points in New Mexico's victory over Texas State University. She received harassment and (alleged) assault from her former teammates at Colorado University before becoming the first woman to core points in a Division 1-A game, as well as the first to suit up for a bowl game. Five years later, Kacy Stuart, a 14-year-old High School Freshman who can kick 50-yard Field Goals, is facing opposition for suiting up for the New Creation Center Crusaders, first from the league, and now from the other teams...
This Super Bowl halftime, make it to the Lingere Bowl. American TV hits a new low by inventing another sport along the lines of Foxy Boxing and Hot Oil Wrestling. The gridiron action features Team Dream vs. Team Euphoria (featuring washed-up former NFL players as coaches) in full contact football while wearing skimpy clothing. Even weirder, but there will be cheerleaders to cheerlead the players that are already dolled up to look like cheerleaders in some sort of subtle hot lesbian action. It's all pay-per-view, but this "Girls Gone Football" seems more like a new low than a step forward for real women's sports.
ESPN hosting show on the world's sexiest athletes. 32 men and 32 women vie for the big crown(s), to be announced Jan. 27. The website has profiles on all 64 and will have a place for you to vote for your favorites. Don't all chime in with who you're going to vote for (that's what espn.com is for, not MeFi), but who'd they leave out? I say race-car driver Dario Franchitti and track star Suzy Favor Hamilton.
Okay, so the tabloids take the eroticization of female tennis players to the extreme, including The Mirror, which has paid Barbara "Babsi" Schett 50,000 pounds to promote her as the next Anna Kournikova. Last fall we talked about women sports players being on beauty, not talent; while the beauty judging goes on, they forget to even mention player records. There's Babsi, Anna, Jelena Dokic, and the supposedly beautiful Krasnoroutskaya who says of Kournikova what everyone keeps saying about good-looking female players in general: "She makes the beauty of tennis. She started it. Now tennis is very popular. People come to watch her. That helps everybody."
While the world was busy debating if the Playboy article was a giant step backwards for female sportscasters, Jutta Kleinschmidt became the first woman to win the Paris-Dakar Rally.
Female kicker's chilling effect. "Instead, the $2 million Mercer was awarded has given them two million reasons to question the risk of giving any woman a chance, especially at smaller schools where female players would otherwise be most likely to succeed."
Women in sports judged on looks more than ability. That's all well and good, but her remedy of "genuine equality in sports at all levels" rings hollow with me.