SportsCenter, in conjunction with espnW, continues to unveil the Top 40 Female Athletes of the Past 40 Years, as part of ESPN’s companywide initiative The Power of IX – recognizing the 40th anniversary of Title IX. Nos. 15-11 will be revealed, one per day, the week of Monday, June 4, during the 10 a.m. ET weekday edition of SportsCenter.
Athletes 15-11 (in alphabetical order):
· Janet Evans (swimming) – Multiple Olympic and World Champion
· Florence Griffith-Joyner (track) –100- and 200-meter world-record holder; five-time Olympic medalist
· Billie Jean King (tennis) – Founder of the Women’s Tennis Association, founded Women’s Sports Foundation, and joint owner of World Team Tennis; won 12 Grand Slam single title, 16 Grand Slam women’s doubles titles and 11 Grand Slam mixed doubles titles, plus she won the “The Battle of the Sexes” in 1973, in which she defeated Bobby Riggs, a former Wimbledon men’s singles champion, for $100,000
· Cheryl Miller (basketball) – Inductee to the Naismith Memorial and Women’s Basketball Hall of Fames; four-time All-American and three-time Naismith Player of the Year; Olympic Gold medalist
· Katerina Witt (figure skating) – Two-time Olympic Gold medalist
Quotes from select vignettes:
Nancy Lieberman on Billie Jean King: “The cherry on top of the women’s world cake. She was willing to risk it all, for all of us.”
Christine Brennan on Katarina Witt: “She knows that figure skating was part competition and part show, and Katarina was great at both. A fantastic competitor who refused to lose, and also the ultimate show woman.
Each vignette is introduced by ESPN’s Hannah Storm, and includes footage and/or still action photos, along with video from past or present coaches, teammates or a respected authority from within the women’s sports world.
The top 10 female athletes will be revealed during the 11 p.m. weeknight SportsCenter (June 11-22), culminating with the No. 1 female athlete of the past 40 years announced Friday, June 22 – one day prior to the 40th anniversary of Title IX (June 23).
espnW.com will provide an in-depth look at every athlete as chosen by an industry-wide blue-ribbon panel and based on athletic achievement. espnW.com has been the digital destination for ESPN’s The Power of IX.
Previously announced athletes: No. 40 Fu Mingxia (diving), No. 39 Julie Krone (jockey), No. 38 Mary Lou Retton (gymnastic), No. 37 Cammi Granato (ice hockey), No. 36 Kristine Lilly (soccer), No. 35 Diana Taurasi (basketball), No. 34 Flo Hyman (volleyball), No. 33 Abby Wambach (soccer), No. 32 Mary T. Meagher (swimming), No. 31 Joan Benoit (track), No. 30 Gail Devers (track), No. 29 Nancy Lieberman (basketball), No. 28 Grete Waitz (runner), No. 27 Michelle Akers (soccer), No. 26 Chamique Holdsclaw (basketball), No. 25 Dara Tores (swimming), No. 24 Nancy Lopez (golf), No. 23 Tracy Caulkins (swimming), No. 22 Marta, No. 21 Venus Williams, No. 20 Michelle Kwan, No. 19 Lindsay Vonn, No. 18 Lisa Fernandez and No. 17 Ann Meyers Drysdale.
The 24 voters: Val Ackerman, Christine Brennan, Doris Burke, Jim Caple, Linda Cohn, Luke Cyphers, Anita DeFrantz, Sue Enquist, Chris Fowler, Jemele Hill, Johnette Howard, Sally Jenkins, Richard Lapchick, Nicole LaVoi, Donna Lopiano, Jackie MacMullan, Juliet Macur, Chris McKendry, Kathryn Olson, Robin Roberts, Le Anne Schreiber, Hannah Storm, Judy Sweet and Lesley Visser.