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Posts Tagged ‘Lisa Leslie’

Only two things can get 150 U.S. Olympic stars in one city at one time: the actual Olympics, and, of course, the most powerful woman in the world: Oprah.

Oprah’s season premier couldn’t have been staged any better as she called for the country’s greatest athletes together for a “welcome home” celebration on her show in Chicago. Supposedly, the spectacle drew a crowd that stretched around nearly six city blocks.

Accourding to Pretty Tough, Oprah welcomed gold medalists Nastia Liukin, Misty May-Treanor & Kerri Walsh, Lisa Leslie, Candace Parker and members of the gold medal Women’s Basketball Team, cyclist Kristin Armstrong and fencer Mariel Zagunis. Also, silver medalist Jennie Finch & members of the Women’s Olympic Softball Team, the silver medal Women’s Water Polo Team, and more.

The show is said to air on Monday.

Check out this AP story for more information:

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The wrath has been disclosed in response to Tuesday night’s mayhem fight in the WBNA.

Detroit Shock assistant coach Rick Mahorn as well as 10 players were suspended for contributing to the fight that made headlines across the world. In total, four were ejected from the game on Tuesday night, and now eleven people received suspensions.

Here’s a quick recap of what happened (from ESPN): [Candace] Parker and [Plenette] Pierson got tangled up and fell to the court. Deanna Nolan tackled Parker and Mahorn appeared to push [Lisa] Leslie to the court. [Delisha] Milton-Jones responded by punching Mahorn in the back.

(The last part is my favorite!!!)

Plenette Pierson of the Shock was suspended for four games, the harshest penalty, for initiating and escalating the fight. Mahorn was suspended for two games, as were Shannon Bobbitt and Murriel Page of the Sparks. Sparks’ Candace Parker and DeLisha Milton-Jones, meanwhile, were banned one game each.

According to ESPN, here’s what the WNBA has to say about it:

“The WNBA and its players represent all that is good about sports: passion, hard work and sacrifice,” WNBA president Donna Orender said in a statement released by the league. “On a nightly basis our players display extraordinary skill, athleticism and competitive fire. The events Tuesday, however, were inexcusable and in no way indicative of what the league stands for. We hold our players to a very high standard and these suspensions should serve notice that the behavior exhibited at the end of Tuesday’s game will not be tolerated.”

Though I would never approve of the behavior exhibited the other night, I have to say, ladies – you did a great job of showing the world that you have aggression, a value that is coveted in the highly-popularized sports of our male counterparts.

Mahorn did an excellent job of making himself look like an asshole.

The disciplinary action is well-deserved for all.

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When I was younger, I was an avid reader of Sports Illustrated for Women. To my recent surprise, I visited the SI for Women Web site and was shocked at what I found. This message from the editor:

“It is with especially deep sadness that we tell you the bad news: The December 2002 issue will be Sports Illustrated Women’s last. These are tough times for a new magazine, and sometimes even loyal readers aren’t enough to make the numbers add up.”

This really saddens me. The magazine only lasted two years, running from March 2000-Nevember 2002. Its primary audience, according to Wikipedia, was women, 18-34 years old, with “a passion for sports.”

What’s even more interesting to me, is that in 2002, Cleary Simpson the then-publisher for SI Women claimed that the lack of readership (and eventual failure of the magazine) is largely due to the fact that, “women are more interested in sports as participants than fans, unlike men.”

Another problem, they claim, is that women’s interest is “fragmented” across a wide variety of sports (such as soccer, tennis or running), with little to bind them as a shared audience.

Personally, I would go as far as to say it’s our cultural values that prevent magazines and publications (as well as some women’s sports) to receive the type of attention they deserve. The primary problem: men aren’t interested (unless the girls are pretty).

It all has to do with advertising, which has everything to do with money, which relates back to what we, as members of a society, deem important enough to invest in.

While our culture values the aggressive, intense competition (and fighting) in sports by men, other values such as sound fundamentals, pure technique and fluid movement (present in women’s sports) are undervalued and deemed less important. In terms of fans, we as women are incredibly left behind.

Think about it: when do you see the top female athletes? Many times, it’s in advertisements, such as models for athletic apparel.

Take for instance Dara Torres, who, while incredibly performing in the Olympic Trials at the age if 41,is also known for her swimsuit modeling on the side. Why? Think: money. Torres is often singled out for her beauty, as she was the first female athlete to appear in the Sports Illustrated (for men) Swimsuit Issue.

Another example is Lisa Leslie of the LA Sparks. When was the last time you saw her perform on TV? When was the last time you saw her in a Got Milk ad, or on a billboard somewhere? Most likely you’d suggest the latter, as she is widely known as the “face” of women’s basketball as a Wilhemina model. But what about her being the most dominant player in the WNBA? Where did that news go?

Leslie (and Torres) make their bucks as a models, not as a top performers, and this (again) relates back to what we as a society value more in a woman: athleticism or beauty? At the end of the day, we’re still a society who’d rather have our girls look good than perform great on the playing field.

Yes, as I said in my post about Title IX, there are (thank God) more opportunities for women to play, and we have come along way in almost 40 years, but we’re still not there.

We can’t even get a Sports Illustrated magazine to be successful. And part of it is our fault. I mean, to be honest, we don’t really have time to sit around and be fans of our sports. Instead, we’re out there trying to make it in corporate America, or we’re spending our free time trying to look good. Some of us are trying to raise families, make dinner, and get the kids back and forth from their sports. A lot of us spend our free time working out in the gym to stay in shape. Few of us have time to be fans of our sports. And that’s another huge reason as to why we can’t get SI for Women to be successful. And my fear is we never will have that time. That is, unless, our culture starts shifting its values.

As someone who now falls into the age category of what would be the readership for SI for women, I say it’s time we call the magazine and request its reappearance, at least on the Web. (These days print magazines aren’t generating the readership revenue they had in the past, largely due to blogs such as mine.) We need more coverage of women’s sports. I mean, seriously, if a 10-year-old girl loves women’s sports, where do we tell them to go read about it? There is a lack here. We need to know what’s being accomplished, and how great our girls are doing on the playing fields of America (and the world).

Until then, girls, we’ll continue to balk at the yearly Swimsuit Issue of Sports Illustrated (for men) — that is, unless one of our stellar athletes is pretty enough to make it on the cover.

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