Posts Tagged ‘Title IX’

Each week, I will be featuring Her Sports Rounds, a blog round-up of the best postings on women’s sports.

From stories of the best athletes to funny YouTube videos and Presidential nominees’ comments on Title IX, the women’s sports blogosphere brought a lot of great information to the table this week!

Sheila Weaver over at She Loves Sports reports on Europe’s sports woman of the year, Olympic pole vault champion and world record holder Yelena Isinbayeva.

At the Athletic Women Blog, Rob Mars posts a video of female athletes (namely Vicki Unus) in the circus from the 1960’s. Totally cool!

Over at C and R’s Stanford Women’s Basketball Blog, there are some funny YouTube videos that made me laugh – and wish I were somewhere near Stanford to see their games. My favorite is the Media Day video, found here.

Over at The Final Sprint, U.S. middle distance runner Sara Hall blogs about how she is re-inspired and motivated to start a new season.

Over at the Title IX blog, Kris discusses Senator McCain’s comment on Title IX and his concern for popular athletic programs that have been cut due to the need for equal funding for male and female athletic programs. Kris says,

“I have yet to see (though would be happy to) an athletic department that is equally funding its men’s and women’s programs.”

At Pretty Tough, Jane Schonberger praises Sports Illustrated for Faces in the Crowd, which covers females and males equally (shocker – because this publication usually doesn’t). Jane says,

“In addition to featuring athletes in sports such as soccer, volleyball and cross country, the magazine highlights girls who are participating in less traditional pursuits.”

Over at Women Like Sports, in her “Tales from the Inbox” post, Apryl Delancey discusses Lyndsey D’Arcangelo‘s new book, The Trouble with Emily Dickinson, and the Women’s Sports Foundation’s V is for Victory video campaign.

At the Women’s Hoops blog, Steve posts about Northwestern’s new coach Joe McKeown. Steve says, “seems to me he’s a good fit for the place.”

Over at the Women’s Sports blog, they discuss how Lorena Ochoa was featured in the Mexican version of British gossip mag Hello!. They say,

“It gives  lie to the yammerers who keep insisting she’s not that popular in the U.S. because she’s ‘unattractive,’ while at the same time emphasizes stereotypical class privilege and femininity at the expense of being real.  Ah, the magazine industry.”

– If I missed a great blog post, please be sure to add it to the comments below!

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A study was recently conducted about the perceived gender-equity barriers in college coaching and administration. In this study, which will be available on the NCAA website in November, it was found that 51.7 percent of female student-athletes said they would prefer their coach to be a male, with only 40.7 percent preferring their coach to be a female.

In a blog posted on the Double-a Zone, the writer skims the surface for what may be the cause of this, (at first glance), alarming finding:

“Before Title IX, sports were the jurisdiction of men and boys.  … Without early encouragement, which often came from fathers, many women may never have picked up a glove or shot a basket.”

Good point, Marta!  If it weren’t for my dad and the competition and influence of my male cousins, I probably never would’ve been as interested in sports as I eventually became.  By the age of 10, I was playing basketball, soccer, softball, and swimming all year round.  As many of my coaches as I can remember were male.  The only female influences I had as an athlete were my teammates, an assistant high school softball coach, and the men’s high school swim coach.  (Yes – the men’s team had a female coach, and the women’s team had a male coach, in 1996 nonetheless!)

It wasn’t until I got to the college level that I had my own personal experience with a female coach.  As a competitive, enthusiastic, and athletic female I was starving for female leadership.  The little interaction that I had with female coaches in high school was enough for those women to become my mentors and people that I idolized, not only as women, but as coaches, and leaders.  It is the lack of female leadership and mentoring that I had growing-up that has driven me to coaching and teaching.  To be able to influence a females life through athletics can provide one with great confidence, opportunity, self-esteem, and the strength to carry that female athlete through the rest of their life.

As a collegiate assistant coach of females and males, what is alarming to me is the low number of representation of females as coaches of women’s team.

In a study titled Women in Intercollegiate Sport, Linda Jean Carpenter, and R. Vivian Acosta, update an ongoing their longitudinal national survey, spanning 31 years.  The website also includes a one page synosis of Title IX, and other interesting information.

The two women, both professors emerita of Brooklyn College of the City University of New York, have been involved in Title IX and gender equity issues for over the last 30 years, and have also published a book titled, Title IX.

Now for the findings …

“42.8% of women’s teams are coached by a female head coach.
57.2% of women’s teams are coached by a male head coach.
2 to 3% of men’s teams are coached by a female head coach.
20.6% of all teams (men’s and women’s) are coached by a female head coach

Don’t get me wrong, there were favorable findings to this study.

For example, participation of female athletes is at it’s highest ever, with 9101 teams across the board.  Also at an all-time high are the number of paid assistant coaches of women’s teams, the highest representation of female athletic directors since the mid 70s, and the highest ever number of females employed in intercollegiate athletics.

The study goes on to research the difference in number of female coaches per division, and the impact the sex of the athletic director has on the percentage of female coaches.

This study was reported on in Time magazine and the Associated Press in the summer of 2007.  The article in the Time’s, Where are the Women Coaches?, provides some answers.  There has been an increase in the attractiveness of coaching women’s teams with the increase in funding, publicity, and prestige, these jobs have become much more desirable to men.

Because of 80% of college athletic directors are men, this leaves these men, who decide to entire the world of coaching women, with a clear advantage over women.  When we fill these roles with men, we are not showing women that they can do anything.  We are showing women that they can succeed and excel in a male dominated world.  As a result:

“Their own expectations, their own aspirations are limited and distorted as a result,” says Marcia Greenberger, a co-president of the National Women’s Law Center.

In the Associated Press article, Deborah Rhode, a Stanford University law professor states: “Title IX opened so many more opportunities for women athletes, but it also made positions coaching women’s teams much more attractive to men.  Often women are facing barriers to getting those jobs that weren’t there when they were competing with other women and running those programs.”

From Where Are the Women Coaches?:  When the WNBA started in 1997, seven of its eight head coaches were women.  Now nine of its 13 coaches are MEN.  “Just as opportunities are opening up for women coaches, [these jobs] seem to be escaping them,” says NCAA president Myles Brand. “It’s ironic, even a bit cruel.”

Why is this happening?  Is this because the female athletes PREFER male coaches, or because the administration and the corporate offices PREFER male coaches?

I will be interested to read the complete findings of the NCAA gender equity survey, and you can be sure to read a blog here when those results are released to the public!

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I’ve been seeing more and more of this V is for Victory campaign flying around the blogosphere. For example, it can be found on one of my favorite bloggers’ sites, Women Like Sports.

The Women’s Sports Foundation is sponsoring/pioneering this campaign – which I completely support. (Hell – anything is something, right?)

Essentially, these are a series of videos dedicated toward getting girls to recognize if their schools are in compliance with Title IX regulations. Which is extremely important. But it can be done better.

I have to be a little bit critical of its transparency and its lack of digital creativity.

1) WSF should have their name all over it – should be completely transparent that this is where these messages are coming from.

2) The URL should not be confusing (which it is). Vis4victory.org. Wow. It’s far easier to just remember womenssportsfoundation.org. Why not create a micro site with its own (non-confusing) URL? Why is that so difficult? I mean, if you’re going to spring the $ for the video, why not spring for a place it can live permanently?

3) The videos (although true) are a bit unrealistic. Sometimes the inequity isn’t as obvious as these videos make them out to be. Case studies and testimonials would work much better. (not sure of legal issues surrounding that)

4) The questions in WSF’s poll are completely directed toward parents. This needs to change. The girls (themselves) should be answering these questions. It makes girls seem like passive watchers instead of active participants.

5) This campaign needs to be interactive (similar to Gonzaga’s inspired season). Why not have the poll in the video? Why not make this a YouTube video? Why doesn’t WSF create a YouTube video channel and hold contests for girls (i.e., best sports moment caught on film)? The possibilities are endless here.

I hope WSF is watching – and paying attention. Their campaigns could go so much further if the right perspectives were brought in.

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I came across this interesting article in the New York Times. It turns out wrestling has been a growing sport for women for the last twenty years. Girls are walking out onto the mat everyday across America, standing up, and utilizing their right to wrestle. According to the article, Women Want to Wrestle; Small Colleges Oblige,

“The inclusion of women’s wrestling in the Olympics beginning in 2004 provided a huge boost to the sport’s popularity and credibility. Five thousand girls nationwide wrestled in high school in the 2006-7 academic year, yet only eight colleges offer it as a varsity sport. Three of those eight programs are starting this fall.”

The more girls that wrestle in high school, the more girls that want to wrestle in college, and the more girls that move on to compete in the Olympics. The sport is growing, and it would be a shame for the girls to be limited or shut out of competing, because their university or institution did not have a women’s wrestling program. Wrestling has been under attack by opposers of Title IX. Unfortunately, wrestling is a sport that regularly gets cut in order for colleges and institutions to comply with Title IX rules and regulations. One supporter of women’s rights to wrestle has a great solution to everyone’s problems! Joey’s Wrestling room is a page dedicated to women’s wrestling. In “History of Wrestling” he states,

“At the collegiate level women’s wrestling is an ideal choice for creating new opportunities for women. In fact, women’s wrestling fits the NCAA criteria for emerging sports programs. Many schools that support a men’s wrestling program are out of compliance with Title IX – and money is always a factor. Adding women’s wrestling to an athletic program can save the athletic budget alot of money. Think about it. The coaches, the equipment, and the facilities are all in place. All that is needed is singlets and travel expenses. Economically it is the smart choice.”

Pretty Tough has already started to highlight the immerging sport of women’s wrestling. In a blog posted she states some of the facts about the sport:

  • “About 4000 girls wrestle at the high school level in the U.S. (compared to 239,000 boys), according to the USA Wrestling Association.
  • High school girls’ wrestling has only been sanctioned in two states: Hawaii and Texas (both since 1999).
  • Until girls’ wrestling teams are numerous enough to get state sanctioning, girls have to compete at informal divisions or meets instead of state tournaments�or compete against boys. In 2005, there were 17 girls who qualified for boys’ high school state tournaments around the country, and six of those girls placed.
  • The U.S. Girls Wrestling Association claims to be the future of the sport. They provide information of USGWA tournaments and events, as well as a discussion forum for female wrestlers and coaches.”
  • Hopefully in the next couple of years we will begin to see an increase in women’s wrestling and less cutbacks of men’s programs. After a highly publicized summer Olympics I don’t recall any coverage of women’s wrestling. Guess we have a ways to go.

    CORREECTION: (by Megan Hueter)

    Wrestling has not been under attack of the opposers of Title IX. The only thing that COULD BE criticized by wrestling coaches is the opportunity for women’s wrestling to be classified as an “emerging sport.” Wrestling has not made the NCAA’s seven-sport list to be classified as “emerging,” so there is really no argument here.

    Above, when I saw “wrestling coaches,” I am not referring to ALL wrestling coaches. I am referring to some (and it is coming directly from the New York Times),

    “Dozens of men’s teams have been eliminated over the past three decades, a phenomenon many coaches attribute to Title IX.”

    As you can see, it’s clear they are critics of the law. However, it’s not Title IX that has eliminated those programs. It’s the institutions and their decisions to distribute funds to other men’s programs which they may deem more valuable. (which is unfortunate)

    Also, to note, it’s not Title IX that is not allowing women’s wrestling to be classified as an emerging sport. It’s the NCAA. The problem is not with the law (it’s a good law that has created millions of opportunities for female athletes). The problem is with the institutions that govern the law and the politics that surround those decisions. It’s unfortunate for men AND women (sometimes) that this is the case.

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    Apparently, there was a huge Title IX case settled this week down at Florida Gulf Coast University.

    So much so – in fact – that you’re reading about it here, and you can find it on the Title IX blog, the Naples News and NBC.

    Essentially, a group of women including volleyball coach Jaye Flood and women’s golf coach Holly Vaughn registered concerns over Title IX violations in FGCU’s sports programs.

    The case won $3.4 million.


    Jaye Flood

    What’s particularly interesting is that Jaye Flood had the best record of any sports team in the school’s history. When she complained of gender inequity, she was rated poorly, suspended and ultimately fired.

    And that, my friends, is against the law.

    When I first read about this, I couldn’t believe my eyes. I mean, seriously? Does this still happen?

    Linda Correia, lead counsel for Flood and Vaughn, says, “This is the price of retaliation,” Correia filed the Title IX lawsuit earlier this year in Ft. Meyers, Florida with Public Justice, a national public interest law firm also based in Washington, DC.

    Here’s a little bit more background information on the women who filed suit.

    Coach Jaye Flood compiled a record of 80 wins and 13 losses in the first three years of the volleyball program, the best win-loss record of any coach in FGCU history.  In her team’s first year in Division I, Coach Flood’s team  won the Atlantic Sun Conference, and she was honored as the Atlantic Sun Conference Coach of the Year.  After Coach Flood registered her gender equity concerns with the school, and despite her performance, FGCU rated her poorly and suspended her. Coach Flood was fired four days after filing her Title IX lawsuit.

    Holly Vaughn

    Holly Vaughn

    Women’s Golf Coach Holly Vaughn was a professional tour golfer when she developed FGCU’s women’s golf program, accumulating 11 tournament wins in her first four years of play and ranking as high as number 3 in its division.  Unlike male coaches, Coach Vaughn was not offered a full-time position and was not permitted to select her own assistant coach.  Coach Vaughn earned far less than male coaches, and was compelled to share her office in a trailer with a men’s team assistant coach.

    Coach Flood and Coach Vaughn complained about gender equity under Title IX and claim they were retaliated against as a consequence.  The law also prohibits retaliation for complaining about Title IX violations.

    It’s clear that Title IX needs to stay due to situations such as this. People can’t get away with this, and I’m so happy to see women like Jaye Flood and Holly Vaughn standing up for themselves and lawyers like Linda Correia representing us.

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    So it seems as if I’ve engaged myself in a little bit of a “war” with some proponents of the College Sports Council.

    To recap, I posted a few days ago on how the College Sports Council et. al. need to get their facts right before trashing Title IX and the recent Women’s Sports Foundation report on gender in college athletics.

    Apparently, my opinion was not digested very well with the CSC and their community of… I don’t want to say “woman-haters,” so I guess I shall say… “Title IX-haters?”

    So today, “Stone Cold Button” of the Texas Swimming Blog – whose tagline is Nuke the Whales, but Save the Males! Title IX hurts men’s swimming (& wrestling) – decided to, um, “critique” my recent blog post by writing a response titled Talk Sense to a Fool, where he proceeded to highlight and recap my conversation with a commentor.

    So, here is my response to Stone Cold Button:

    In your post you said, “”Sure, you have more opportunities as long as you don’t mind switching sports and being a third-string punter.”

    You’re exactly right.  The problem is not Title IX, it’s football.

    Listen, I agree with you in that men should have the opportunity to swim and do gymnastics and wrestle, etc. But not at the expense of Title IX. You’re pointing the finger in the wrong place.

    Why are you (male swimmers) attacking women sports, when we are also on the losing end of athletic departments’ decisions about how to allocate resources and opportunities?  If you had any balls at all, you’d go after football and the fact that colleges value third string punters more than they value men’s swimming.
    Also, it was the men’s sports lobby that invented proportionality prong, by the way. Back when men outnumbered women in college, it seemed like an easy way to comply without having to add a whole lot of women’s sports.

    But now that the shoe is on the other foot and women outnumber men, you cry about it?

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    I read an interesting article this morning on the Wall Street Journal’s Law page about the Women’s Sports Foundation’s report on gender, money and sports.

    This WSJ article provides two unique perspectives: one from Title IX’s biggest opposer, the College Sports Council,  and one from an unbiased researcher.

    The major finding of the WSF report was that women continue to be significantly underrepresented among college athletes.

    CSC is completely against Title IX and accuses the WSF report of being flawed, claiming Title IX cuts men’s sports. Fact is, they’re wrong. They can’t deny the fact that men have more opportunities than women athletically.

    Judging by yesterday’s comment on my blog post, I’d say CSC is likely paying people to non-transparently go onto blogs and post opinions about this. BAD MOVE, CSC.

    John Cheslock, a researcher from the University of Arizona, couldn’t have said it any better,

    “The CSC took NCAA figures and made a simplistic adjustment,” Mr. Cheslock said. “They really should be called into question for that.”

    I can’t agree more.

    Eric Pearson, chairman of the CSC, I think it’s time for you to SIT DOWN.

    Oh, and just so you know, paying people to go on blogs and comment in your favor is not ethical.

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    When the passion strikes me, I will occasionally be providing you with a roundup of some of the dumbest things I see on sports blogs. Apparently, some men feel the need to make degrading comments about women online.

    What’s even more entertaining (to me) is how much money they’re making off of content such as this. Some of these blogs are worth over $15 million.

    Can you believe that?

    So this is an effort to show these guys exactly how dumb they look, even online.

    WARNING: Some of these sites get paid based upon how many comments are up on their sites, so use discretion when deciding whether or not to comment.

    Anyway, I hope you enjoy this as much as I do.

    1) Pat Gray, Your Eyes Will Bleed:

    “There seems to be a big “girl-power” push going on now though. In yesterday’s USA Today, they devoted an entire section to women pioneers in sports. Like Billie Jean King’s 1973 tennis victory over Bobby Riggs. Big deal. She was 29, and at the height of her career. He was 55 years old, and only won a couple major tournaments in the 30’s and 40’s! If she HADN’T beaten him, THEN you’ve got a story.”

    Actually Pat, the BIG DEAL is that Title IX passed just before that match. Title IX AND Billie Jean King sparked a revolution for women that continued in sports 35 years later. The “clue phone” is ringing. I think you should answer it.

    2) Deadspin posted on Jaime Nared, who was recently kicked off her mixed-gender basketball team in Portland, Oregon. Comments include:

    (Big Slim Shade) “A girl playing basketball? What will they think of next?”

    (Afino) “Take it while you can get it now, girl, because it’s all downhill from here in terms of people who give a shit about women playing basketball!”

    Laugh it up, guys. Good thing Deadspin gives you a place to poke fun among intellectuals. This girl would kick all of your a$$es if you played her. And she’s what? Only 14 years old?

    3) Again, from Deadspin (are we noticing a pattern here?). This blogger posted on a women’s hockey game, where Slovakia beat Bulgaria, 82-0. They oh-so-thoughtfully provided video and commentary,

    “Contrary to what you probably thought, the Bulgarians can actually skate. Although figuring out what those stick things are for seems to be another matter.”

    Again, the comments were yet another example of how supportive these readers are of women’s sports.

    “That’s really not very lady-like.” (the earl of weaver) and “The goalie would have been better off just lying prostrate across the ice.” (Dan Daoust)

    4) Larry Brown from Larry Brown Sports posted on 9/19 about how the Los Angeles Kings are holding tryouts for ice hockey girls (think Laker girls for ice hockey). Anyway, he certainly had no filter when discussing this piece of news.

    “You might be inclined to go with the Laker girls over the Kings ice girls at first reaction, but I might have to change my initial thought based on what I saw from the Kings tryouts that took place recently. I’m not exactly sure what role ice girls have at a hockey game, but I’m all for anything that brings extra skin to a sporting event. The Kings have said that they’re looking for girls that will help represent the team as well as possible. My advice for them: You can teach anyone to skate better, but you can’t teach hotness. Feel me? Check out some of the talent on the ice

    Hey Larry, I bet these girls make more money that you do. Maybe they’re in better shape, too?

    5) on 205th also discussed ice hockey girls, with some awesome commentary.

    “Dallas + Ice Girls doesn’t really make much sense to me, you know since there is no ice in Dallas, except in drinks, but then again ice hockey in Tampa Bay doesn’t make sense either. Hey look, boobies!!”
    (below this comment there was a picture of the cheerleaders on a boat at a lake)

    Wow. Really cool. These girls make money off of you idiots.

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    In today’s issue of USA Today, we earned an entire section of the paper. Its title: “Women in Sports.”

    I almost jumped out of my chair when I started reading. Seven complete pages of content and photos of women who have completed milestones in sport.

    The cover article is particularly interesting.

    Heather Tucker published a groudbreaking article in the world of women’s sports. She discussed the heroines of milestones of the past, heroines of the present and obstacles that lie ahead for the future of female sports. If you haven’t done so already, please go check it out here.

    She discussed Billie Jean King’s defeat of Bobby Riggs in 1973 in the “Battle of the Sexes,” a day after Title IX was passed.

    She said, “King, who accepted Riggs’ challenge to play a televised match at the Houston Astrodome, soundly defeated him in three sets and put a damper on critics’ voices that women could not compete with men.”

    Awesome. Totally awesome. I wish I were alive for that moment. Even though I wasn’t I know that what she did affected my ability to compete and succeed in sports twenty years later.

    Tucker then pointed to Candace Parker, calling her a hero of today’s image of women’s sports due to her ability to beat five male competitors in the 2004 McDonald’s All-American Game, including Josh Smith, who won the NBA dunk contest the nest year.

    She also mentioned Danica Patrick’s milestone in her “breakthrough” Indy-car race in Japan in April, when she became the first woman to triumph in a national oval-track touring circuit (Indy Racing League or NASCAR).

    Then, Tucker talked about perceptions, and how the above milestones have inspired and influenced young women to compete on the playing fields today.

    She said, “Perceptions of what women are capable of and what they can offer have been elevated thanks in part to these stars.”

    Then, she wrapped up by highlighting the challenges that lie ahead, such as coaching, managing and team ownership, areas of influence that women have yet to solidly break through in terms of a “glass ceiling” in sports.

    This is an incredibly crafted article. In my opinion, it’s too short. A lot of names are missing from this list of heroines. It takes much more than three influencers to break barriers. It takes an army, and decades of time and struggle.

    Hopefully one day we’ll get there. Until then, articles like these will help keep the spirit alive. Thanks USA Today.

    Other stories include player profiles on Jackie Joyner Kersee, Pat Summit, Mary Lou Retton, Janet Guthrie, Anny Meyers Drysdale, Nancy Lopez, Leslie Visser, Dot Richardson, and Brandi Chastian.

    A separate article discussed sports marketers and how their altering their pitches as more female fans tune into sports. That particular article along warrants another post from me. I’ll be back in just a moment with more. (so excited!)

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    Because my most popular post thus far (recieving over 2,000 hits) is that of Dara Torres, I feel compelled to announce that she has achieved what many have deemed impossible: on Sunday, she qualified for her fifth Olympic games, beating American-record holder, Natalie Coughlin by 0.05 for a spot on the

    Apparently, she rose from the pool to the sound of Lenny Kravitz’s American Woman blaring over the loudspeakers in Omaha on Sunday.

    In terms of journalism, Olympic fandom and what’s deemed important in female sports, it seems middle-aged moms everywhere are stepping up to the plate in support and congratulations of this swimming heroine.

    Karen Crouse of the New York Times could not say it any better,

    “Michael Phelps, who lowered his world record in the 200 individual medley Friday, has a fan base supplemented by squealing girls. Torres is a big hit with their mothers. The support she received from the crowd of around 14,000, which rose to applaud her after she finished, made her teary.”

    Torres is truly an inspiration to women everywhere; not only living the dream as an athlete overcoming the inevitable challenge of age, but also as a female who has successfully caught the attention of sports journalists, who are overwhelmingly preoccupied with competition among men. I hope Torres continues to draw attention, bring it all the way to Beijing, and then back home again. Lord knows we need it.

    Another thing to note about Torres is her journey, which has lived through the age of acceptance of female athleticism.

    The New York Times article eloquently puts her journey into words:

    “It takes a person of a certain age to remember the days when female swimmers rarely competed after high school because there were no college scholarships for women to entice them to stay in the sport. That was in the early 1970s. Torres, who competed at Florida, and Thompson, who went to Stanford, were in the second wave of women to benefit from the changes brought about by the passage of Title IX.

    Biondi, who was on the 1984, 1988 and 1992 Olympic teams with Torres, said, “When girls become women, when gentlemen graduated from college, it wasn’t explicitly stated, it was just an understanding there that you were to get on with your life.”

    Torres, he added, “has blown the roof off that line of thinking.”

    And, my friends, that is what will make her a significant part of history. That is, if she ever retires.

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