Miami Sports

Women in Sports Who Changed the Game Forever

These women in sports took a chance and broke the glass ceiling, paving the way for dozens after them

There's nothing women can't do, and that includes women in sports. There's no hiding the fact that most mainstream sports have been quite exclusionary and less than welcoming of women in the past and the present, but many of these women in sports have continued to carve out a path for themselves, set records, and break both visible and invisible barriers.

Let's start by honoring some of these women in sports and their incredible achievements as we hope for change:

Wilma Rudolph

The track and field star went on to become a world-record holder and Olympic champion during the pinnacle of her sports career, but this didn't come easy. She was a trailblazer not only for women but for African-American athletes, overcoming poverty, inequity, racial disparity, and childhood illness to get to where she did.

She made it in spite of all these barriers and roadblocks, making her first Olympics appearance in 1956, at age 16. She walked away with an incredible bronze. In 1960 she went on to secure a gold medal in both the 100- and 200-meter as well as the 4x100 race. This made her the first-ever  of the US women in sports who won three track and field gold medals in the same Olympics games.

Lisa Leslie

WNBA star and former basketball player turned head coach for the Triplets in the BIG3 professional basketball league, Lisa Leslie, also currently works at Fox Sports in Florida as a studio analyst.

Her teams played and won all 32 games over 4 Olympics games in the years 1996, 2000, 2004, and 2008 respectively. She remains one of the most decorated players in the history of basketball, continuing to own four of Team USA's top 10 single-game scoring performances, alongside being the first player to reach 6,000 career points in the WNBA.

A woman wraps her hands while preparing to start boxing and training.

Manon Rheaume

Manon Rheaume revolutionized ice hockey as we know it, making the first appearance by a woman in an NHL preseason game when she played against the Blues in 1992. She continued to play for Tampa Bay Lightning for much of her career and remains the only woman to have made her premier at an exhibition. Ice hockey is one of the most competitive, grueling sports globally, and Rheaume proved that it's no challenge for women in sports!

Ronda Rousey

There's no way women in sport can be discussed without bringing up the jawdropping—or rather, jaw-breaking—Ronda Roussey. Currently working with the WWE as a professional wrestler, she is an actress and was also a judoka. She practiced as a mixed martial artist, fighting in the UFC in the first-ever women's match. She went on to make six consecutive defenses of the women's bantamweight title, continuing to hold the record for that division even today. Roussey was also the first woman inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame in 2018.

There is no way to summarize and celebrate all the incredible women athletes who have paved the way and continue to do so throughout their careers. We can only begin by acknowledging some of them! Subscribe to our newsletter for more sports and lifestyle news, food and entertainment recommendations, and important news from Miami-Dade.

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