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Archive for the ‘Famous Women in Sports’ Category

Paula Radcliffe, the winner from England, ran at the young age of 34.

According to the New York Times, women are getting older… and better at sports.

Take for instance this past Sunday’s New York City Marathon, where 41 elite female athletes competed at the average age of 33.

These women were distributed a $301,000 purse, up from $165,000 just a decade ago.

Sunday marked the participation the oldest groups of elite women in the history of the race. Nearly half of the rest of the participants are 35 and older.

2/3 of the runners are 30 years or older including Paula Radcliffe, the winner from England, ran at the young age of 34.

Kara Goucher of the United States (30 years old) came in second, and became the first American woman on the podium since 1994.

Gete Wami of Berlin (33 years of age) finished close behind Goucher.

“It’s unusual to see so many really good women of that age, but this is probably a fluke that they are all so good at once,” Mary Wittenberg, the race director, said. “I do expect to see a changing of the guard because we are probably looking at the end of a superstar generation.”

Experts say that in the 30’s, distance runners are often at their “prime” because their bodies are used to the mileage required to train for the 26.2-mile race. (I can’t even imagine having to run that much. And I’m 23 years old.)

Kara Goucher of the United States came in second. She is 30 years old.

It’s important to note, however, that many of these women only started running marathons only after they had built a foundation in shorter races, to prevent burnout and injuries.

Something that is totally cool is that women are starting to earn more money in marathons.

According to the New York Times, the top five women in Sunday’s race have made at least $1 million in prize money in their careers. The top 10 winners will also receive prize money.

First place is worth $130,000 of the $301,000 purse, second place $65,000, third $40,000, fourth $25,000, fifth $15,000 and so on down to $1,000 for 10th place. In addition, bonuses ranging from $5,000 to $70,000 are paid for reaching certain time standards.

Twenty years ago, though, the total women’s purse in the New York City Marathon was $134,500, organizers said, and a decade ago, it was $165,000.

This is all very cool stuff. I’m glad to see women excelling at such a grueling sport as they enter the prime ages of their lives. And the increase in money over the years is very hopeful.

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I’ve written a few times about Elite EC Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter Gina Carano, one of the best female fighters in the country.

Needless to say, when I read that Carano’s future is in limbo because her company, Elite XC, is filing for bankruptcy, I was a bit disappointed.

From Pretty Tough:

“The fighting future of top MMA draw Gina Carano is in limbo as word emerged today that the mixed-martial-arts organization Elite XC will file bankruptcy and cease future operations, according to parent company, Pro Elite Inc.

Elite XC, which produced seven of the 10 most-watched MMA matches in U.S. history on two CBS specials in recent months, will be closing its doors at the end of the week. This leaves a roster of fighters, including Carano, looking for work.”

That’s really a shame.

Check out this cool YouTube video from 2007 filmed by Showtime which will give you a good idea of what she’s like:

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The Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF) held the 2008 Annual Salute to Women in Sports last night in New York City.

I would have loved to have gone to this, but unfortunately, I’m not exactly “financially inclined” enough to afford the $1200 seat at the table.

Regardless, this is a great event that supports an incredibly important cause, and I’m so glad it was a success. Thank you, WSF, for all that you do.

According to the Women’s Sports Foundation,

“More than 70 of the planet’s top athletes and a handful of celebrities — including award-winning CNN reporter, Christiane Amanpour and Jill Hennessey, star of the television series “Crossing Jordan” — gathered at the Waldorf=Astoria to celebrate the achievements of girls and women in sports. The event raised more than $1 million that will be turned into grants and educational and advocacy-related programming.”

Click here to see a photo show of the event.

Below are those who went home last night with awards:

– Sportswoman of the Year (Individual): Nastia Liukin

Sportswoman of the Year (Team): Jessica Mendoza

– Wilma Rudolph Courage Award: Patience Knight

– Billie Jean King Contribution Award: Women’s Tennis Association

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Layne Beachley is regarded as the best female professional surfer in history.

I was sad to read on Sporty Sistas that Beachley has felt the unending pressures of body image that her career has placed upon her.

This is big news since this is someone whose ego should be boosted – she’s won the World Championship seven times in her career.

She became a professional surfer at the age of 16 and was ranked sixth in the world by the time she was 20.

But in the 1990’s, she suffered from two instances of “chronic fatigue,” which threatened to end her surfing career.

It turns out that the “chronic fatigue” story had a little more behind it.

According to Sporty Sistas, Beachle recently released Beneath the Waves – a chronicle of how she got liposuction on her tummy at the very young age of 24.

Here’s what Sporty Sistas had to say about this,

“It’s comforting to know she has body insecurities just like 99% of girls out there, but on the flip side Layne makes a really disturbing observation that a women’s sporting career can only truly flourish if they are beautiful.”

Personally, I don’t find that comforting at all. It’s so (incredibly) wrong when the best surfer in the world thinks she’s fat and she’s pressured to win AND look perfect.

I have no doubt that this is the result of the way women surfers are objectified in the media (much like many female athletes are).

Beachle was quoted in an article titled, Winners, if they only look good as well, where she said,

“If you don’t fit that image then you’re not worthy of support … It’s a really unreasonable ethic to have,” she says.

I totally agree with the Sporty Sistas when they say,

“admiration is not only about their sporting success, but also heavily due to their sex appeal.” and “sexiness is the defining attribute that determines how big these endorsement can get. And with endorsements comes the ability to drum up support, and thus promote a longer and more recognised career.”

They have valid point here, and they certainly drove it home.

Sexiness sells. That’s what the media is interested in. And anything (or anyone) that “sells” has a better chance of getting endorsed.

And sometimes, unfortunately for women, in order to be a successful, endorsed athlete, you need to be perfect on the field, in life, and in the mirror.

As a society, we have to ask ourselves – when it comes to the health of these athletes, where can we draw the line?

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The Sports Museum of America forwarded me some pictures of the event they held this past Monday. Check them out (below). Looks like it was a cool event!

The USA Women’s Softball Team at the Sports Museum of America.
From left to right; front row: Tairia Flowers, Natasha Watley, Vicky Galindo, Andrea Duran and Kelly Kretschman. From left to right; back row: Crystl Bustos, Jennie Finch, Cat Osterman, Alicia Hollowell, Monica Abbott, Jessica Mendoza, Lauren Lappin and Caitlin Lowe.

Former New York Knicks All-Star John Starks and Liberty standout Kym Hampton hosting a skills and techniques clinic for kids

Mascots from the New York area
From left to right, the New Jersey Ironmen’s IronDog, Maddie from the New York Liberty, the Fordham Ram, New York Shark’s Sharkie and in the center, Mr. Met.

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Jennie Finch, Jessica Mendoza and the USA softball team will be at the Sports Museum in New York city this Monday.

They will be meeting sports fans and signing autographs from 11am-1pm. This is a unique opportunity, so if you’re in the area and have off on Columbus day (or even if you don’t) you should go check this out!

Also present will be Kym Hampton and John Starks of the New York Knicks; the duo will be meeting fans, signing autographs and holding a basketball clinic from 1pm-3pm.

I’ve never been to the Sports Museum, and unfortunately, I have to work on Monday.

However, I am definitely planning on making a trip up there because they are home to the first and only Women’s Sports Hall of Fame, built in partnership with Billie Jean King’s Women’s Sports Foundation.

Can’t wait to see it!

If anyone goes to this event, please post how it was. I’m interested in hearing about it.

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On Saturday night, Gina Carano, the best women’s mixed martial arts fighter in the world, beat Kelly Kobold in an Elite XC: Heat card event. This win improved Carano’s pro MMA record to 7-0.

Saturday’s matchup against Kobold was certainly a big one, and Carano performed great. For the three rounds, the judges scored 29-28, 30-27 and 30-27. To read more details on the fight, visit EliteXC.

The fight generated some nice media attention which is reflective of the sports’ emerging popularity. For example, the LA Times featured an article on Friday about Carano, considered the No. 1 women’s mixed martial arts fighter in the world.

After the fight, Carano announced that she expects to fight Cris Cyborg, who also won on Saturday night. According to EliteXC, the matchup against Cyborg would be the biggest fight in the history of women’s MMA.

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