Being a woman is no longer synonymous with being a second class-citizen in the world of sports. Today’s female athletes are training just as hard, if not harder, than their male counterparts and their talents are commanding the proper recognition. Here are three women that are excelling in today’s male-dominated sports.
Just a few years ago, Judo champion Ronda Rousey became the face of the wildly popular Ultimate Fighting Championship, the sport known for its caged mixed martial arts. This was quite an achievement given UFC president, Dana White, had publicly pledged not to promote female fights. He had no choice but to join the Rousey bandwagon once she found her inner mojo. She won her first eight M.M.A. fights with her signature juji gatame, a move which brought her opponents to a quick mercy and audiences to their feet. Though she lost her title in 2015 to Holly Holm no one is dismissing her comeback. Based on her drive and love for the sport, Rousey may still have many more successful years left in the caged arena.
She may have been teased for her masculine features growing up, but today no one is making fun of American professional basketball player Brittney Griner. In fact, the 6”8 baller is so good at her game, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has considered having Griner try out for his team. Why wouldn’t he? She was the only NCAA player to score 2,000 points and block 500 shots while playing at Baylor University. She was also part of the U.S. Olympic dream team that brought home the gold in 2016. Her impressive talents have her at the top of the basketball arena for both men and women and show that when you pair your natural talent with hard work, your best work will emerge.
Professional poker player Vanessa Selbst is the highest earning professional female poker player of all time with over $11.6 million in winnings. Her accolades include, three World Series of Poker bracelets, the North American Poker Tour Stop, and the Partouche Poker Tour. She loves poker but is the first to agree her beloved game is one of the most sexist out there. Not so much because of individual player behavior but more so because of the small number of women earners at the top. She notes that poker, like other sports, has been a male dominated game. However, whereas other games matured and changed with the times poker has been slow to do the same. She hopes that women continue to join the professional poker circuit and that she will be referred to as simply one of the best players, gender aside.
Like these superstars, the success of female athletes continues to challenge the traditional beliefs that women are not as good as men in sports. Their performances and glory are slowly redefining what it means to be an athlete and will hopefully continue to pave the wave for new athletic trailblazers in the movement.