Simone Biles Makes History by Nailing Two Signature Moves — and One Is Now Named After Her
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Simone Biles posing on gymnatict floormat after performance smiling with hand in the air

Simone Biles has done it again!

The decorated gymnast made history on Saturday at the world championships in Stuttgart, Germany, by successfully landing the triple-double during her floor routine and then the double-double dismount on the balance beam.

The moves earned Biles, 22, huge applause from the audience. USA Gymnastics confirmed on Twitter that the impressive feat ensures the triple-double will be named the Biles II, in honor of the athlete.

Biles already has two moves named for her, one in the floor exercise and one on a vault, according to CNN.

Last week, the gymnast explained why she refrains from calling herself a “superstar” gymnast despite her incredible success.

“If I were to label myself as a superstar, it would bring more expectations on me and I would feel pressured, more in the limelight, rather than now,” Biles explained during a press conference before the 2019 FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in Germany.

“I just go out there and compete,” she added. “I try to represent Simone… not ‘Simone Biles’ whenever I go out there, because at the end of the day, I’m still a human being before I’m ‘Simone Biles, the superstar.’”

Continue on to People to read the complete article.

TOKYO 2020 TRANSGENDER WEIGHTLIFTER TO COMPETE IN GAMES … On New Zealand Women’s Team
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Laurel Hubbard lifting weights in a competition

By TMZ

For the very first time, a transgender athlete will compete in the summer Olympics … and shocker, there’s already controversy. 43-year-old Laurel Hubbard — who transitioned from male to female in 2013 — has been selected to the New Zealand women’s weightlifting team to compete in the women’s 87-kilogram division. The issue?? Hubbard competed in men’s weightlifting competitions before she transitioned — and some critics are already blasting the situation as unfair to other athletes.

But, the International Olympic Committee has specific guidelines for transgender athletes to compete — testosterone levels must be below a certain level — and Hubbard has met the criteria since 2015. In other words, she’s good to go!! The CEO of the New Zealand Olympic Committee, Kereyn Smith, issued a statement Monday supporting Hubbard.

“We acknowledge that gender identity in sport is a highly sensitive and complex issue requiring a balance between human rights and fairness on the field of play,” Smith said. “As the New Zealand Team, we have a strong culture of manaaki and inclusion and respect for all. We are committed to supporting all eligible New Zealand athletes and ensuring their mental and physical wellbeing, along with their high-performance needs, while preparing for and competing at the Olympic Games are met.”

Not everyone feels that way … back in May, Belgian weightlifter Anna Vanbellinghen reportedly called Hubbard’s qualifying situation “unfair” and a “bad joke.”

Hubbard, though, wasn’t letting the disapproval get in the way of her feat Monday … saying, “I am grateful and humbled by the kindness and support that has been given to me by so many New Zealanders.”

“The last 18 months has shown us all that there is strength in kinship, in community, and in working together towards a common purpose. The mana of the silver fern comes from all of you and I will wear it with pride.”

Click here to read the full article on TMZ.

WNBA’s first trans player signs with new team
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Trans athlete for the WBNA posing for a portrait image while holding a basketball up to the camera smiling

By Christian Spencer, The Hill

Layshia Clarendon, former shooting guard for the New York Liberty, is returning to the league with the Minnesota Lynx as the league’s first openly trans and nonbinary player, Star-Tribune reported. It was announced on Wednesday that Lynx agreed to sign the 30-year-old free agent to replace Aerial Powers, ESPN reported.

Clarendon entered the WNBA in 2013 as the ninth pick in the first round, having played at the University of California and winning two gold medals with the USA Women’s U19.

An all-star in 2017, Clarendon has career averages of 7.3 points and 3.0 assists. Last season, they played 19 of the Liberty’s 20 games and averaged a career-high 11.5 points with 3.9 assists, ESPN reported.

Clarendon is also a vocal advocate for the LGBTQ community and the first vice president of the WNBPA as well as a leader on the league’s social justice council.

“My expectations for the WNBA [are]… basically just not to forget trans people exist,” Christine Salek, a beat writer for the New York Liberty fan news site Nets Republic, said after Clarendon was waived by the New York Liberty last week. “I’m worried about being forgotten as a fan if there’s no ‘representation’ for me in this crucial way.”

Click here to read the full article on The Hill.

Osaka named Sportswoman of the Year, King honored at Laureus Awards
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Naomi Osaka pictured in a white gown while holding her sports trophy

By WTA Staff

Naomi Osaka has been named Sportswoman of the Year at the Laureus World Sports Awards for her achievements on and off court, and Billie Jean King was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Laureus Academy.

This is Osaka’s second recognition at the Laureus Sports Awards. She won Breakthrough of the Year in 2019 after a season that saw her win her first WTA title at the BNP Paribas Open and begin her ascent to the top of the game with her first US Open title that fall. She was also nominated for Sportswoman of the Year in 2020 after a season in which she captured her first Australian Open title and become the first Japanese player to ascend to World No.1.

“I’ve watched so many of my role models win this [Sportswoman] Award, so it definitely means a lot now to be holding it,” Osaka said in her acceptance speech. “I am so happy to receive it. It really means a lot to me.”

Coming out of a season interrupted by the sport’s shutdown due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, Osaka emerged as the dominant force on hard courts. The 24-year-old marched through the US summer season, making the Western & Southern Open final before capturing the US Open, her third major title. She continued her form in 2021, winning back-to-back Slams for the second time in her career after capturing her fourth major, at the Australian Open in February.

Osaka’s impact was not limited between the tramlines. During the Western & Southern Open, Osaka joined in the athlete-led protests regarding racial injustice in America, a decision that led to a one-day stoppage in play. At the US Open, in an effort to raise awareness of racial injustice, Osaka wore seven masks with seven names of black victims of racial violence.

“Regarding my activism on the court, I think it is important to use my voice, because for me I feel like I often hold back a lot and worry about what people think of me, but you know if you have a platform it is very important you use it,” Osaka said.

“Looking ahead my main hopes for the future would be just to have helped or impacted as many people as I could and, hopefully be a better person.”

Martina Navratilova presented King with her Lifetime Achievement Award, in recognition of her excellence on the tennis court as well as her life’s work in pursuit of gender and racial equality.

“The Laureus Lifetime Achievement Award is not only given to athletes who are undoubtedly great,” Navratilova said. “This award is given to those who have managed to maintain that greatness over an entire career and beyond, and who have maintained that greatness on the track, field, court, or pitch, and applied it to a life supporting others.”

Said King in her acceptance speech: “I’m a product of the public parks of Long Beach, California and I was extremely fortunate to have the access and opportunity to free coaching and instruction. It changed my life and opened my eyes. I knew after my first practice with coach Clyde Walker, that I wanted to be the number one player in the world.

“Then at 12 years old, I was thinking about my sport and I noticed everyone who played tennis wore white clothes, played with white balls and everyone who played was white. And I asked myself, where is everyone else? From that moment on, I decided to dedicate my life to equal rights and opportunities for all.

“I have a vision where the world of sports looks more like our world. Represented equally by people of all genders and all races and cultures, a world where we all have a seat at the table, a voice in the conversation and a chance to lead.”

Click here to read the full article on WTA Tennis.

Vanessa Bryant launches clothing line in honor of late daughter Gianna
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Vanessa Bryant and her eldest daughter wearing the tie dye sweat suit set for MAMBACITA clothing while standing in front of an all black background

By Alexander Kacala, Today

Today would have been Gianna Bryant’s 15th birthday. Last January, the daughter of late basketball legend Kobe Bryant, died alongside her father and seven others in a helicopter crash.

Now, just over fifteen months since the crash, Vanessa Bryant, is working to further her husband and daughter’s legacies with her sports foundation, Mamba and Mambacita, that aims to empower young girls who are athletes.

A new Mamba and Mambacita apparel line in honor of Gianna and Kobe Bryant is being launched Saturday, and the 38-year-old philanthropist shared some sweet family photos with the announcement.

In one photo, the mother poses with her oldest daughter Natalia, 18, with both looking strong and resilient in matching black-and-white tie-dyed sweatsuits. Mambacita is written across the front of the outfits in bold red lettering, and a no. 2, in honor of Gianna’s basketball jersey number, is printed inside a red heart drawing on the front of each suit’s left pant leg as well.

In another photo also shared on Instagram, 4-year-old Bianka Bryant is captured mid-jump. She’s also sporting an adorable smile reminiscent of her late dad’s big grin. Her sweatsuit is white with a lavender tie-dye print and pink Mambacita lettering.

All the proceeds from sales of the Mambacita apparel will be donated to Mamba and Mambacita.

Bryant credits her late husband and daughter for giving her the strength to do all the work she is doing nowadays. “I guess the best way to describe it is that Kobe and Gigi motivate me to keep going,” she told People magazine back in March. “They inspire me to try harder and be better every day. Their love is unconditional and they motivate me in so many different ways.”

Click here to read the full article on Today.

Football Fitness improves balance, muscle strength and bone density in women treated for breast cancer
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Football sitting in the middle of a grass field with an unfocused city skyline behind it

Reviewed by Emily Henderson, B.Sc, News- Medical/Life Sciences

The University of Southern Denmark (SDU), Rigshospitalet, and the University of Copenhagen have come together to study the effects of Football Fitness on various health parameters and self-rated health following treatment for breast cancer.

The results of the project, called Football Fitness After Breast Cancer (ABC), have now been published in three scientific articles published in international sports medicine, cardiology, and oncology journals.

“The main conclusion is that Football Fitness is an intense and good form of training for women treated for breast cancer, with beneficial effects on balance, muscle strength and bone density,” says Professor Peter Krustrup, Head of Research at SDU’s Department of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics, who has been studying the health effects of football and other sports for more than 15 years.

Twice weekly training sessions for a year
The researchers from SDU and the University Hospitals Centre for Health Research at Rigshospitalet joined with doctors and nurses from the Department of Oncology at Rigshospitalet and researchers at the University of Copenhagen to investigate whether Football Fitness offered twice weekly for 12 months can boost various health parameters in women treated for breast cancer.

The study involved 68 women aged 23 to 74, with an average age of 48, who were randomized 2:1 to a training group (46 participants) and a control group (22 participants). The trial ran for 12 months, during which the training group was offered Football Fitness training sessions twice a week comprising a warm-up, fitness and football drills, and small-sided games of 5v5 and 7v7 using two goals.

At the start of the study and after 6 and 12 months, respectively, health parameters such as fitness, bone and muscle strength, balance, body fat percentage, blood pressure, and cholesterol were measured and the participants completed questionnaires to rate their quality of life and energy in everyday activities.

It was also investigated whether participation in Football Fitness increased the risk of the participants developing chronic swelling (lymphoedema) on the side where they had been treated for breast cancer.

Football Fitness improves balance, strengthens muscle, and counteracts bone weakening
In an article just published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports, the researchers show that 12 months of football training, performed on average 0.8 x 1 hour per week, gave the women better balance and greater muscle strength in the legs, while at the same time increasing bone density in the lumbar spine.

The participants who took part in at least one weekly session also achieved an improvement in bone strength in the femur.

“It’s encouraging that even a modest amount of training can produce these improvements because we know that treatment for breast cancer can accelerate the natural age-related loss of bone mass and thereby increase the risk of osteoporosis,” says Jacob Uth, assistant professor, and Ph.D. at University College Copenhagen, who has been the project leader in the study.

“The fact that balance and muscle strength are improved at the same time is a big plus because in the longer term this can reduce the risk of falls and broken bones,” he says.

Everyday activities become easier – but improving fitness requires more training
In another recently published article in the US journal Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases, the researchers show that the intensity is high, corresponding to a heart rate of more than 80% of maximum heart rate for 70% of the time the participants are playing with two goals. But this did not improve the participants’ fitness compared with the participants in the control group over the 12 months of the intervention.

On the other hand, the study showed that, after 6 months of Football Fitness training, the participants reported that health-related problems were less of a barrier to participating in and accomplishing everyday activities.

Click here to read the full article on News- Medical/Life Sciences.

Meet Ayesha McGowan, the first Black American woman in pro cycling: ‘The thing that we’re working for isn’t just existing in a space, it’s thriving’
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Ayesha McGowan wearing a purple helmet and purple glasses for cycling in front of a purple graphic of cyclists

By Sana Noor Haq, CNN

A bike can take you a long way quickly. As well taking you to new places and spaces. It’s a journey cyclist Ayesha McGowan is experiencing both professionally — and emotionally.When McGowan chats to CNN Sport she’s on a high from finishing the first leg of an intense training season in Tuscany for the Liv Racing WorldTeam, with her membership as a satellite rider for the 11-person roster announced in February 2021.

“It didn’t feel real until I was on my way to training camp,” says the 34-year-old athlete, who will prepare for the next few months with the goal of racing and becoming a pro road cyclist after August 1.

“I feel very accomplished, but I feel a lot of pressure from myself to push even harder,” she tells CNN.

Finding her feet
McGowan says it’s her stubbornness that has pushed her to become the first Black American woman in pro cycling.

She comes from a long line of matriarchs, inheriting tenacity and grit from her grandmother, mother and older sister.

“I set my sights on something and wasn’t willing to stop until I got it,” she says as she remembers cycling on her grandparents’ expansive land in Oglethorpe County, Georgia, following her grandmother as she rode on a Red Cruiser.

But it wasn’t until her mid-twenties that she started seeing cycling as a competitive sport.

In 2010 McGowan graduated from Berklee College of Music, where her principal instrument was the violin. She became a music teacher, working at a daycare center in Brooklyn for five years and then teaching private music lessons.

McGowan had been commuting for about seven years before racing in 2014, making her debut at the Red Hook Crit Women’s Field in Brooklyn.

That year she had her first win in the Category 4 race at the New York State Criterium Championships in White Plains.

“It was just a form of transportation, freedom and fun until that point. It still is, but now there’s also that competitive aspect,” she says.

Pushing for gender advocacy
The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) — the sport’s governing body — told CNN Sport it does not have a breakdown of the ethnicities of cyclists currently competing.

However, the UCI said in 2019 it allocated a global amount of six million Swiss francs ($6.5 million) to push for diversity in cycling worldwide.

The UCI also highlighted that Teniel Campbell will ride for the UCI Women’s outfit Team BikeExchange from Australia, as she follows in the footsteps of Daniel Teklehaimanot, Stefany Hernandez and Guo Shuang among others.

Perhaps it’s no surprise that McGowan is riding for the Liv team. Bonnie Tu, who is the founder of the women’s cycling brand at Liv Cycling and Giant Group chairperson, has spoken of her dream “to encourage more women in the cycling industry and to encourage more women to cycle.”
Despite industry-led efforts to encourage greater global participation in the sport, McGowan quickly became aware of bike racing’s gender disparities when she started cycling. She explains that her interest and push for gender advocacy is because it aligns with her values.

In 2015, McGowan started A Quick Brown Fox, an online blog where she encourages more women and ethnic minority people to engage with the sport. Three years later she made the decision to fully commit to supporting herself via advocacy work and training.

Since then she has garnered nearly 40,000 followers on Twitter and Instagram combined, facilitating conversations about race, racism and sexism in the world of cycling and beyond.
As she recently wrote in an essay for the US-based cycling firm SRAM, “You can’t fight for women and not fight for Black women, trans women, disabled women, or any of the other intersections where any one who identifies as a woman resides.”

McGowan has used her platform to create a space where people from marginalized backgrounds can exist in their fullest capacity, without minimizing parts of their identity.

“Growing up people of color are taught to diminish ourselves to make other people feel comfortable, and that feels very unnecessary to me,” she tells CNN.

“I don’t think I was ever in a place where I didn’t see myself as a Black person. It was ingrained in my family, we have very strong roots and a lot of pride in who we are,” she adds.

Click here to read the full article on CNN.

U.S. Women’s Team Clears Hurdle to Reviving Equal Pay Fight
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Megan Rapinoe at the U.S. versus Sweden match with teammates on the field

By Andrew Das, New York Times

A federal judge on Monday approved a partial settlement in the long-running dispute over equal pay between U.S. Soccer and its World Cup-winning women’s national team, but the players’ fight with the federation is far from over.

The ruling by Judge R. Gary Klausner, of the United States District Court for the Central District of California, rubber-stamped an agreement on working conditions that the sides had reached last year. When he rejected the players’ core arguments about equal pay last May, Klausner let them continue their claims about unequal working conditions in areas like team flights, hotels, venue selection and staffing support.

Before they could pursue an appeal of their equal pay defeat, the players needed to resolve those issues. With that agreement now in place, the players said, they will return to the core of their legal fight: an appeal of Klausner’s ruling that dismissed their demands for pay equal to what the men’s team earns.

“Now that this is behind us, we intend to appeal the court’s equal pay decision, which does not account for the fact that women players have been paid at lesser rates than men who do the same job,” said the players’ spokeswoman, Molly Levinson.

The women’s players sued U.S. Soccer in March 2019, contending they had been subjected to years of unequal treatment and compensation. Twenty-eight members of the team filed the initial lawsuit, which later grew to include anyone in a larger class of players who had been part of the women’s team since 2015.

The players pressed their equal pay argument for years — through on-field protests, interviews and social media campaigns — as they piled up victories and two World Cup championships on the field. Then Klausner rejected them in a single devastating paragraph last May.

In that decision, Klausner ruled that not only had U.S. Soccer not paid the women’s players less than their men’s counterparts, but also that he had been convinced that “the WNT has been paid more on both a cumulative and an average per-game basis than the MNT” over the years covered in the case.

It is unclear how long an appeal of his decision could take, or even whether it will be decided in a courtroom or at the negotiating table.

Click here to read the full article on the New York Times.

The biggest weapon in the fight for gender equity in sports
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Image of the lower half of a Woman who is preparing for jogging

By Henry Bushnell, Yahoo! Sports

On March 18, an oft-injured Oregon center walked toward a basketball court in downtown San Antonio. Very few casual sports fans knew Sedona Prince’s name at the time. Prince, though, knew something wasn’t right.

She’d heard about the sprawling weight rooms that men’s college basketball teams were using in Indianapolis.

She looked to the side of her practice court and saw a solitary rack of light dumbbells, and a couple of folding tables, and … emptiness.

Two weeks later, the most powerful people in college athletics are still talking about what Prince saw — and about other, broader, deeper inequities between women’s and men’s sports. Fans are still talking. The media are still talking. Disparities between NCAA basketball tournaments sparked a national reckoning with institutional sexism in sports — a reckoning more forceful, sustained, and widespread than ever before, according to longtime sportswomen.

But not because these disparities were particularly egregious. Inequities, both specific and systemic, have always existed.

“We have been fighting this battle for years,” Hall of Fame coach Muffet McGraw wrote.

“This has been happening forever,” says Nancy Lieberman, one of women’s college basketball’s first superstars in the 1970s.

So what’s changed? Why the reckoning now?

“It just came to a head because Sedona had a camera. And she used it,” Lieberman says.

“The thing that has changed it,” McGraw says, “is social media.”

Why gender inequity in college hoops has persisted
McGraw still remembers the “very obvious differences,” the “stark contrasts” between men’s and women’s basketball accommodations when she first picked up the game. She saw them firsthand in the 1970s and 80s, as a player at St. Joseph’s University, then as a coach at Lehigh and Notre Dame.

“But we did not really care,” she says of the early days. “We were so happy to be playing. … I never even considered, ‘Oh wait, the men are flying and we’re taking a bus?’ ”

History is drowning in examples. Of motels instead of Marriotts. Of self-paid trips and roadside meals. Of undesirable practice times and ragged uniforms.

As the 80s became the 90s and then the 21st century, more and more women did care and did push for better treatment. They struggled, though, to find allies who’d listen — in part because the men in charge had nobody forcing them to listen.

At the time, players and coaches had no social media, and often no mainstream media covering their teams. They had no access to the public, so they operated in private. They asked for meetings with athletic directors and university administrators. “It was more backroom conversations,” McGraw says. Coaches would vent about disparities and unequal resources. More often than not, McGraw says, the response was some version of: “You know what, be happy with [what you have], because you’re lucky you have a job.”

And those responses instilled fear in some advocates. “In the past,” Lieberman says, “we the athlete, we the employee, have always felt like there’ll be retribution against us.”

Some lawsuits brought gender discrimination to the public eye. But most women who spoke up weren’t heard. More recently, Nancy Hogshead-Makar, a lawyer and activist who heads Champion Women, sent dozens of letters and legal memos to college administrators. The memos highlighted discrimination with respect to Title IX. Most administrators, she says, simply didn’t respond. Others would say they were compliant, but wouldn’t offer proof.

The project, Hogshead-Makar says, “failed miserably,” just like other battles for gender equity in sports, because power brokers felt little external pressure to heed demands.

Until, that is, advocates could take their demands straight to the public.

How social media changed the game
Sometime in 2019, Sabrina Ionescu realized that Nike wasn’t selling Oregon women’s basketball jerseys — a prime example of the systemic inequities that suppress the popularity and profitability of women’s sports. Ten years ago, she’d have had to make phone call after phone call just to find somebody at the sportswear company who’d listen.

Two years ago, she simply sent a tweet.

Within days, the jerseys materialized.

Months later, Ionescu and hundreds of fans called out ESPN’s decision to broadcast the WNBA draft on ESPN2. Within hours of their tweets, ESPN reversed course and moved the broadcast to its main channel.

For decades, unequal media coverage stifled female voices. Research suggests that only 4% of all sports coverage centers on women. In the past, even when advocates tried to raise awareness about discrimination, the media’s interest, Hogshead-Makar says, was often “zero. It was a gigantic shoulder-shrug.” Executives and administrators, therefore, could shrug along.

But modern athletes no longer rely on traditional media. Social media has allowed them to build their own audiences, less inhibited by the 4% problem. Eight of the 10 most-followed college basketball players in this year’s Elite Eights were women. They now speak directly to audiences that can amplify their messages.

“Everybody has a platform,” McGraw says.

“Before things would go on, you wouldn’t even know about it,” she continues.

Now, the world knows. And it doesn’t just hear about inequities. It sees them.

‘It’s a movement of transparency and truth’
In interviews, multiple sources compared social media’s impact on women’s sports advocacy to its impact on the movement for Black lives.

“If there were no phones on cameras, do you think there would be the uproar that there is with the murder of George Floyd?” Lieberman asks. “No.”

“If there were no phones with cameras, do you think we would have seen what happened in the weight room in San Antonio?” she continues. “No.”

Omar Wasow, a professor at Princeton University, has studied this subject extensively. “Part of what social media does is allow us to see a reality that has been entirely visible to some people and invisible to others,” he told the New York Times last year. “As those injustices become visible, meaningful change follows.”

And the pattern, he says now, “definitely” applies beyond racial justice.

“The way women’s college basketball players used social media to reveal a particular injustice echo the work of many activists over decades who have strategically used media to elevate their concerns in the general public,” Wasow says.

“In the past, activists like civil rights leaders often required traditional media like newspaper reporters and television crews to garner coverage for their cause. Now, one person with a smartphone can shine a spotlight on something unjust and — if the image or video sparks concern on social media — directly amplify an issue to a global audience.”

That’s exactly what WNBA players did last summer from their bubble in Bradenton, Florida. It’s what Prince, Stanford performance coach Ali Kershner and others did from their NCAA tournament bubble in San Antonio. More than 10 million people watched Prince’s video on TikTok — where she now has 1.5 million followers. More than 210,000 people retweeted it.

“Social media is powerful,” Prince wrote two days later after the NCAA scrambled to build weight rooms and rectify its neglect.

Inequities that always existed are now exposable in 2021. A younger, more progressive generation is willing to expose them and capable of doing it. “What Sedona did took courage, took guts,” Lieberman says. “But in this last year … I believe that she’s realized that her voice carries power. Her TikTok carries power.” Ditto for hundreds of women athletes across the country.

Click here to read the full article on Yahoo! Sports.

Meet the former pitcher, 94, trying to make a women’s baseball museum a reality
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An elderly woman with a cane in hand prepares to through a baseball with a stern face.

By Drew Weisholtz

A new Major League Baseball season kicks off Thursday and hope springs eternal for all 30 teams vying to win the World Series, not to mention a group of women with a different goal in mind.

Maybelle Blair, 94, who pitched for the Peoria Redwings in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League in the 1940s, has teamed up with historian and author Kat Williams to raise funds in order to build the International Women’s Baseball Center, a museum that would honor women in the sport.
“Women have been part of this game for since its inception, and we don’t have that home,” Williams told Dylan Dreyer on the 3rd hour of TODAY.

PHOTO: TODAY

The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, in Cooperstown, New York, has been in existence since the 1930s, and Kansas City’s Negro Leagues Baseball Museum pays homage to Black athletes who played the sport while Major League Baseball was segregated. There’s even a National College Baseball Hall of Fame, based in Lubbock, Texas. But there is no entity solely for women.

“It is so important to me that I’m going to, if I can stay on this side of the grass, you know. … We got to get this done. I think it’s so important for girls and women and underprivileged children,” Blair said.
Blair was a pitcher who is the embodiment of the living, breathing history of women in the game and isn’t afraid to boast about it, either.

“Nolan Ryan and Sandy Koufax had nothing on me. And I loved every cockeyed minute of it,” she said.

She said men are hardly the only ones who have played a role in baseball lore.

“There is so much history in women’s baseball, people don’t even know it,” she said.

Women have made strides in the national pastime in recent years and enjoyed a breakthrough moment last year when the Miami Marlins hired Kim Ng as the first female general manager in the major leagues.

“Listen, Kim Ng is probably the most wonderful thing that happened to women’s baseball. This woman is so talented. So outstanding,” Blair said.

Read the full article at TODAY.

Jazz Jennings recalls being ‘devastated’ by transgender soccer ban at age 8
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Jazz Jennings smiling while wearing a hot pink tank top dress

By Elise Solé, Yahoo Life

Jazz Jennings was banned from playing girls’ soccer as a child, and she doesn’t want other transgender children to suffer the same fate.

“When I was 8 years old, I was banned from my playing girls’ soccer for over two years. The ban made me feel excluded, had no merit and negatively affected me and my family,” the 20-year-old activist captioned a post on Instagram Monday. “Today, many states, including Florida, are trying to take away sports from many transgender youth. Go to the link in my bio to take action and combat these bills before they pass.”

The post showed emotional footage of Jennings’s parents, Greg and Jeanette, reacting to the ban by Florida league officials, who argued that their daughter’s biological sex gave her an unfair advantage in the sport, a common argument that’s been challenged by medical researchers. A 2017 review of eight research articles and 31 athletic policies published in the journal Sports Medicine found the majority were written without evidence-based guidance and that “there is no direct or consistent research” to suggest that transgender females have an athletic advantage “at any stage of their transition.”
Jazz Jennings was banned from playing girls’ soccer as a child, and she doesn’t want other transgender children to suffer the same fate.

“When I was 8 years old, I was banned from my playing girls’ soccer for over two years. The ban made me feel excluded, had no merit and negatively affected me and my family,” the 20-year-old activist captioned a post on Instagram Monday. “Today, many states, including Florida, are trying to take away sports from many transgender youth. Go to the link in my bio to take action and combat these bills before they pass.”

The post showed emotional footage of Jennings’s parents, Greg and Jeanette, reacting to the ban by Florida league officials, who argued that their daughter’s biological sex gave her an unfair advantage in the sport, a common argument that’s been challenged by medical researchers. A 2017 review of eight research articles and 31 athletic policies published in the journal Sports Medicine found the majority were written without evidence-based guidance and that “there is no direct or consistent research” to suggest that transgender females have an athletic advantage “at any stage of their transition.”

At age 5, Jennings openly identified as a girl, with the support of her parents, who felt their daughter had gender dysphoria — “the feeling of discomfort or distress that might occur in people whose gender identity differs from their sex assigned at birth or sex-related physical characteristics,” per the Mayo Clinic.

“It was horrible. I was told I could compete in games with the boys’ team, or practice with the girls and sit on the bench for the girls’ games,” Jennings told the online newspaper MinnPost in 2014. “These were very difficult times. I tried playing with the boys, but it was a disaster. It made me feel depressed, and I couldn’t enjoy the game I love. I didn’t want to quit soccer, so for the next year, I decided to practice with the girls and face the injustice of being forced to sit out the games. I felt like I was being bullied. It was terrible and painful.”

Backed by the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), Jennings and her family challenged the soccer ban and, three years later, the U.S. Soccer Federation created policies inclusive of transgender players.

Shannon Minter, the legal director of the NCLR, tells Yahoo Life that he helped Jennings and her family draft letters to the federation, which did not have anti-transgender policies at the time but subsequently adopted those that banned discrimination based on gender identity. “It took a long time, but it was definitely because of Jazz,” he says. “I give her parents credit as they stood by her and without many resources available for them at the time.”

The federation was “very happy” to work with Jennings to put the policy together, a spokesperson tells Yahoo Life.

Jennings’s win was just a small portion of a larger and ongoing battle — according to the Human Rights Campaign, 22 bills in 17 different states, including Montana, South Dakota and Kansas, call for the restriction of transgender youth from playing on athletic teams. In fact, the LGBTQ advocacy group noted 82 anti-transgender bills have been introduced in 2021 state legislative sessions as of March 13, “surpassing the 2020 total of 79 and marking the highest number of anti-transgender bills in history.”

For example, this week alone, three states passed anti-transgender athletic policies. Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signed a bill that states “a student’s gender for purposes of participation in a public middle school or high school interscholastic athletic activity or event be determined by the student’s sex at the time of the student’s birth, as indicated on the student’s original birth certificate.” Lee explained in a tweet that it will “preserve women’s athletics and ensure fair competition.”

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson defended a similar state law, telling ABC News, “This law simply says that female athletes should not have to compete in a sport against a student of the male sex when the sport is designed for women’s competition. … This will help promote and maintain fairness in women’s sporting events.” Meanwhile, the “Mississippi Fairness Act,” tweeted Gov. Tate Reeves, will “protect young girls from being forced to compete with biological males for athletic opportunities.”

However, this month, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters, when asked about state legislation that limits transgender youth in sports participation and health care, that President Biden “believes that trans rights are human rights and that no one should be discriminated on the basis of sex.”

In October, Jennings spoke to Yahoo Life about her 2014 autobiographical children’s picture book, I Am Jazz, landing on the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom’s 100 most banned or challenged books of the decade, which she called “both disappointing and honorable.” (The title of the book also inspired her TLC reality show.)

Click here to read the full article on Yahoo Life.

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Upcoming Events

  1. Women in Federal Law Enforcement (WIFLE)
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  2. WIFLE Annual Leadership Training
    August 16, 2021 - August 19, 2021
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