LISA LESLIE by Molly Schiot

Lisa Leslie is the daughter of Christine Lauren Leslie, who started her own truck driving business to support her three children. Lisa's mother stood 6 ft 5 1/2 in.   During school breaks, Lisa and her sister Tiffany would hit the open road with their mom, eating at truck stops and sleeping in the cab. Each summer, as the girls grew, that cab got a little tighter. Lisa sprouted past six feet in the seventh grade. Lisa entered Morningside High School in Inglewood in 1986 and made varsity, starting every game. She then went to USC and   was honored with All Pac-10 recognition all four years, as well as becoming the first player in Pac-10 history to obtain first team all four years and earn the prestigious Rookie of the Year award in 1991.  In 2002,  Lisa Leslie became the first WNBA player to dunk a basketball. Throughout her trailblazing career, she was many firsts: the first WNBA player to win the regular season MVP, the All-Star Game MVP and the playoff MVP in the same season. In 2002, she was the WNBA all-time leading scorer and was named MVP of the WNBA Championship.

Lisa Leslie is the daughter of Christine Lauren Leslie, who started her own truck driving business to support her three children. Lisa's mother stood 6 ft 5 1/2 in. During school breaks, Lisa and her sister Tiffany would hit the open road with their mom, eating at truck stops and sleeping in the cab. Each summer, as the girls grew, that cab got a little tighter. Lisa sprouted past six feet in the seventh grade. Lisa entered Morningside High School in Inglewood in 1986 and made varsity, starting every game. She then went to USC and was honored with All Pac-10 recognition all four years, as well as becoming the first player in Pac-10 history to obtain first team all four years and earn the prestigious Rookie of the Year award in 1991.In 2002,  Lisa Leslie became the first WNBA player to dunk a basketball. Throughout her trailblazing career, she was many firsts: the first WNBA player to win the regular season MVP, the All-Star Game MVP and the playoff MVP in the same season. In 2002, she was the WNBA all-time leading scorer and was named MVP of the WNBA Championship.

FANNY BLANKERS-KOEN by Molly Schiot

Dutch housewife and mother of two Blankers-Koen stunned the sporting world when she won four gold medals at the 1948 London Olympics.  Taking a defiant stance against sexism and ageism, the 30 year old ignored critics who felt she had no business competing in sport: "  One newspaperman wrote that I was too old to run, that I should stay at home and take care of my children. When I got to London, I pointed my finger at him and I said: 'I show you  '." Blankers-Koen's medal haul earned her the nickname "the Flying Housewife" and remains the largest of any female track and field athlete at a single Olympics. In 1999, she was voted the Top Female Athlete of the 20th Century by the International Amateur Athletic Federation. 

Dutch housewife and mother of two Blankers-Koen stunned the sporting world when she won four gold medals at the 1948 London Olympics.  Taking a defiant stance against sexism and ageism, the 30 year old ignored critics who felt she had no business competing in sport: "One newspaperman wrote that I was too old to run, that I should stay at home and take care of my children. When I got to London, I pointed my finger at him and I said: 'I show you'." Blankers-Koen's medal haul earned her the nickname "the Flying Housewife" and remains the largest of any female track and field athlete at a single Olympics. In 1999, she was voted the Top Female Athlete of the 20th Century by the International Amateur Athletic Federation. 

VICTORIA MANALO DRAVES by Molly Schiot

Asian American Draves took home the first gold medals awarded to women in platform and springboard diving at the 1948 Olympics.  Born to a Filipino father and English mother, Draves' first coach segregated her from other divers at her swimming club, owing to her Filipino last name.  She was instructed to change her last name to her mother's maiden name in order to compete.  Along with fellow athlete Sammy Lee, Draves became the first divers of Asian descent to win Olympic gold.  Following the Olympics, she toured internationally in water show and later operated a diving training program with her husband in California.  Draves was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1969.

Asian American Draves took home the first gold medals awarded to women in platform and springboard diving at the 1948 Olympics.  Born to a Filipino father and English mother, Draves' first coach segregated her from other divers at her swimming club, owing to her Filipino last name.  She was instructed to change her last name to her mother's maiden name in order to compete.  Along with fellow athlete Sammy Lee, Draves became the first divers of Asian descent to win Olympic gold.  Following the Olympics, she toured internationally in water show and later operated a diving training program with her husband in California.  Draves was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1969.

Sports in Pre-Revolution Iran by Molly Schiot

   Photo: The 1974 Iranian women's fencing team, winners of the gold medal at the 1974 Asian Games. To date, this is the only gold medal Iranian women athletes have won in international competition.   Prior to the Iranian Revolution in 1979, female sports centres and teams had begun to be established throughout the country.  The Taj Recreation Centre became the first club to train women.  As Batool Bagheri, one of the first Iranian football players, described it " in 1970, after a long struggle, we found a place where we could hold our practices. Before that, we sometimes played without husbands and brothers in the alleyways, but in 1970 we gained official permission to, without men, practice on a real field. " When the new Islamist government took hold in 1979, women's sporting competitions were disbanded for several years. When they were reinstated in 1981, veiling of all female athletes was made mandatory and gender segregation rules meant that women coaches, referees and managers would need to be trained before women's sporting events could be reinstated. It would not be until 1990 that Iranian women would compete internationally again. 

 

Photo: The 1974 Iranian women's fencing team, winners of the gold medal at the 1974 Asian Games. To date, this is the only gold medal Iranian women athletes have won in international competition.   Prior to the Iranian Revolution in 1979, female sports centres and teams had begun to be established throughout the country.  The Taj Recreation Centre became the first club to train women.  As Batool Bagheri, one of the first Iranian football players, described it "in 1970, after a long struggle, we found a place where we could hold our practices. Before that, we sometimes played without husbands and brothers in the alleyways, but in 1970 we gained official permission to, without men, practice on a real field." When the new Islamist government took hold in 1979, women's sporting competitions were disbanded for several years. When they were reinstated in 1981, veiling of all female athletes was made mandatory and gender segregation rules meant that women coaches, referees and managers would need to be trained before women's sporting events could be reinstated. It would not be until 1990 that Iranian women would compete internationally again. 

EVELYN ASHFORD by Molly Schiot

Attending Roseville High School in California, Evelyn Ashford was invited to participate on the all male track team after a football coach noticed her during a phys-ed class and had her race his fastest player, saying "I think you can beat him". She did, and joined the team. She later co-captained the team during her senior year and was one of the first female athletes to receive a full athletic scholarship in the U.S.  During her time at UCLA, she won four national collegiate championships.  Ashford competed in four Olympic games, winning four gold medals and one silver.  Ashford was named Woman Athlete of the Year in 1979.  At age 35, she participated as a member of the 4x100 relay team at the 1992 Olympics, becoming the oldest woman to win an Olympic gold medal in track and field. Ashford received the Flo Hyman Award in 1989 and was inducted into the U.S. Track and Field Hall of Fame in 1997. 

Attending Roseville High School in California, Evelyn Ashford was invited to participate on the all male track team after a football coach noticed her during a phys-ed class and had her race his fastest player, saying "I think you can beat him". She did, and joined the team. She later co-captained the team during her senior year and was one of the first female athletes to receive a full athletic scholarship in the U.S.  During her time at UCLA, she won four national collegiate championships.  Ashford competed in four Olympic games, winning four gold medals and one silver.  Ashford was named Woman Athlete of the Year in 1979.  At age 35, she participated as a member of the 4x100 relay team at the 1992 Olympics, becoming the oldest woman to win an Olympic gold medal in track and field. Ashford received the Flo Hyman Award in 1989 and was inducted into the U.S. Track and Field Hall of Fame in 1997. 

LAVONE "PEPPER" PAIRE DAVIS by Molly Schiot

Lavone 'Pepper' Paire DavisShe was a star player of the All American Girls Professional Baseball Leauge, the pioneering women's league that kept baseball alive during World War II. When the league folded after the war ended, she, like other women players of the day, packed her groundbreaking history away, along with her glove, bat and baseball uniforms. Pepper was played by actress Geena Davis in "A League of Their Own."  The league was launched in 1943 by Chicago Cubs owner Philip K. Wrigley and other major league baseball owners who feared that with star men's players going off to fight in World War II, baseball would be forgotten by the fans by the time they returned.Pepper grew up playing softball and baseball in West Los Angeles with her older brother Joe, was scouted, recruited and joined the league in 1944, when she was 19. Among only a handful of players from the West Coast, she played for 10 seasons, helping her teams, including the Racine Belles, the Grand Rapids Chicks and the Fort Wayne Daisies, win several league titles. Pepper was known for her aggressive catching style, strong arm and discipline at the plate. "We played every night of the week, doubleheaders on Sundays and holidays, and traveled on about a 1938 school bus," she told the Virginian-Pilot newspaper in 1995. "When we left Grand Rapids, Mich., at midnight, we would ride almost 400 miles to Rockford, Ill., get there at 10 or 11 in the morning — if the bus didn't break down and we didn't have to push it — get into uniform and go out and play a Sunday afternoon doubleheader."

Lavone 'Pepper' Paire DavisShe was a star player of the All American Girls Professional Baseball Leauge, the pioneering women's league that kept baseball alive during World War II. When the league folded after the war ended, she, like other women players of the day, packed her groundbreaking history away, along with her glove, bat and baseball uniforms. Pepper was played by actress Geena Davis in "A League of Their Own."  The league was launched in 1943 by Chicago Cubs owner Philip K. Wrigley and other major league baseball owners who feared that with star men's players going off to fight in World War II, baseball would be forgotten by the fans by the time they returned.Pepper grew up playing softball and baseball in West Los Angeles with her older brother Joe, was scouted, recruited and joined the league in 1944, when she was 19. Among only a handful of players from the West Coast, she played for 10 seasons, helping her teams, including the Racine Belles, the Grand Rapids Chicks and the Fort Wayne Daisies, win several league titles. Pepper was known for her aggressive catching style, strong arm and discipline at the plate. "We played every night of the week, doubleheaders on Sundays and holidays, and traveled on about a 1938 school bus," she told the Virginian-Pilot newspaper in 1995. "When we left Grand Rapids, Mich., at midnight, we would ride almost 400 miles to Rockford, Ill., get there at 10 or 11 in the morning — if the bus didn't break down and we didn't have to push it — get into uniform and go out and play a Sunday afternoon doubleheader."

Ore-Ida Women's Challenge by Molly Schiot

The  Women's Challenge  bicycle race (most commonly known as the Ore-Ida Women's Challenge, after its leading sponsor of "Ore-Ida" brand frozen potato products) was held annually in and around southern Idaho, beginning in 1984 until its demise in 2002. During much of its 19 year history, it was the most prestigious women's cycle race in North America. From 1995, when it first obtained sanctioning from the Union Cyclist Internationale, the international governing body for cycling, it developed into one of the strongest races in the world, attracting numerous World and Olympic Champions. The race, which was run almost entirely by volunteers, set a very high standard in terms of technical administration and conduct of the race itself. Jim Rabdau, the race founder, served as chief organizer of the race throughout its entire history. By the late 1990s, the race was able to attract sufficient sponsorship money to offer the richest prize fund ever in women's cycling and, for a while, was the richest prize fund race in North America, men's or women's. At its peak, it offered $125,000 in prizes. However, cuts in sponsorship forced a reduction in prize money to $75,000 in its last year (2002) and no title sponsor could be found to replace the outgoing sponsor for the following year, forcing the cancellation of the race. Race organizers cited a downturn in the economy as the reason.

The Women's Challenge bicycle race (most commonly known as the Ore-Ida Women's Challenge, after its leading sponsor of "Ore-Ida" brand frozen potato products) was held annually in and around southern Idaho, beginning in 1984 until its demise in 2002. During much of its 19 year history, it was the most prestigious women's cycle race in North America. From 1995, when it first obtained sanctioning from the Union Cyclist Internationale, the international governing body for cycling, it developed into one of the strongest races in the world, attracting numerous World and Olympic Champions. The race, which was run almost entirely by volunteers, set a very high standard in terms of technical administration and conduct of the race itself. Jim Rabdau, the race founder, served as chief organizer of the race throughout its entire history. By the late 1990s, the race was able to attract sufficient sponsorship money to offer the richest prize fund ever in women's cycling and, for a while, was the richest prize fund race in North America, men's or women's. At its peak, it offered $125,000 in prizes. However, cuts in sponsorship forced a reduction in prize money to $75,000 in its last year (2002) and no title sponsor could be found to replace the outgoing sponsor for the following year, forcing the cancellation of the race. Race organizers cited a downturn in the economy as the reason.

BERYL BURTON by Molly Schiot

Beryl Burton dominated women’s cycle racing in the UK, winning more than 90 domestic championships and seven world titles, and setting numerous national records. She set a women's record for the 12-hour time-trial which exceeded the mens records for two years.  She was world champion five times (1959, 1960, 1962, 1963 and 1966), silver-medallist three times (1961, 1964 and 1968), and winner of bronze in 1967, 1970, 1971 and 1973. In 1967, she set a new 12-hour time trial record of 277.25 miles – a mark that surpassed the men’s record of the time by 0.73 miles and was not superseded by a man until 1969.   Burton, who had always had a somewhat odd heart arrhythmia, died of heart failure during a social ride, when she was out delivering birthday invitations for her 59th birthday party. 

Beryl Burton dominated women’s cycle racing in the UK, winning more than 90 domestic championships and seven world titles, and setting numerous national records. She set a women's record for the 12-hour time-trial which exceeded the mens records for two years.  She was world champion five times (1959, 1960, 1962, 1963 and 1966), silver-medallist three times (1961, 1964 and 1968), and winner of bronze in 1967, 1970, 1971 and 1973. In 1967, she set a new 12-hour time trial record of 277.25 miles – a mark that surpassed the men’s record of the time by 0.73 miles and was not superseded by a man until 1969. Burton, who had always had a somewhat odd heart arrhythmia, died of heart failure during a social ride, when she was out delivering birthday invitations for her 59th birthday party. 

JUSTIN(e) BLAINEY by Molly Schiot

In 1981, Justine Blainey won a spot on a Metro Toronto Hockey League Team (MTHL) called the Toronto Olympics. Despite making the team, she was denied the chance to play. This denial was attributed to MTHL regulations that did not permit women in the league. Blainey addressed a complaint to the Human Rights Commission but the Ontario Human Rights Code specifically allowed sexual discrimination in sports. Blainey chose to appeal the Ontario law. Initially, she lost the case in Ontario Supreme Court but won her case in the Ontario Court of Appeal in 1986. Charles Dubin, who was involved in the inquiry regarding Olympic sprinter Ben Johnson's steroid use, was the writer of the decision. Overall, she endured five different court cases before finally having her case heard by the Supreme Court of Canada in 1987.   Despite the legal issues, she managed to play for several other MTHL teams including the Scarborough Young Bruins, Etobicoke Canucks and East Ender Ti-Cats. Many coaches had her listed on team rosters as Justin Blainey.

In 1981, Justine Blainey won a spot on a Metro Toronto Hockey League Team (MTHL) called the Toronto Olympics. Despite making the team, she was denied the chance to play. This denial was attributed to MTHL regulations that did not permit women in the league. Blainey addressed a complaint to the Human Rights Commission but the Ontario Human Rights Code specifically allowed sexual discrimination in sports. Blainey chose to appeal the Ontario law. Initially, she lost the case in Ontario Supreme Court but won her case in the Ontario Court of Appeal in 1986. Charles Dubin, who was involved in the inquiry regarding Olympic sprinter Ben Johnson's steroid use, was the writer of the decision. Overall, she endured five different court cases before finally having her case heard by the Supreme Court of Canada in 1987. Despite the legal issues, she managed to play for several other MTHL teams including the Scarborough Young Bruins, Etobicoke Canucks and East Ender Ti-Cats. Many coaches had her listed on team rosters as Justin Blainey.

DORIS SAMS by Molly Schiot

Doris Sams played in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League from 1946 to 1953, during which she registered a perfect game and a no-hitter.  She was soon a star and shared the covers of Dell publishing’s 1948 major league yearbook with Ted Williams — he on the front, she on the back. She estimated that she was paid about $4,000 a season.  Sams took home several batting crowns, was named Player of the Year twice, and made five All-Star teams. Her contributions to the sport are highlighted in the AAGPBL permanent display at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY.  After retiring from baseball, Sams held an office job with the Knoxville Utilities Board. She never married and had no immediate survivors. In her interview with The Post-Dispatch, Sams said that a mannequin of Babe Ruth was on display near the women’s exhibit. “I look over to the right and see Babe Ruth,” she said. “I look over on the left and see Ted Williams. Then I look in the mirror and say, ‘What are you doing here?’ It’s all so unbelievable. I never ever dreamed our league would get this kind of recognition.”

Doris Sams played in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League from 1946 to 1953, during which she registered a perfect game and a no-hitter. She was soon a star and shared the covers of Dell publishing’s 1948 major league yearbook with Ted Williams — he on the front, she on the back. She estimated that she was paid about $4,000 a season. Sams took home several batting crowns, was named Player of the Year twice, and made five All-Star teams. Her contributions to the sport are highlighted in the AAGPBL permanent display at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY.  After retiring from baseball, Sams held an office job with the Knoxville Utilities Board. She never married and had no immediate survivors. In her interview with The Post-Dispatch, Sams said that a mannequin of Babe Ruth was on display near the women’s exhibit. “I look over to the right and see Babe Ruth,” she said. “I look over on the left and see Ted Williams. Then I look in the mirror and say, ‘What are you doing here?’ It’s all so unbelievable. I never ever dreamed our league would get this kind of recognition.”

Dorothy Harrell by Molly Schiot

A five time All-Star, Harrell played for the Rockford Peaches for eight seasons.  A gifted shortstop and slap hitter, Harrell was instrumental in helping the Peaches win four championship titles.  She is regarded as one of the best shortstops, male or female, to ever play the game.  At Seattle's Safeco Field, her image and achievements are celebrated on a 10 foot banner, between baseball legends Roberto Clemente and Brooks Robinson. 

A five time All-Star, Harrell played for the Rockford Peaches for eight seasons.  A gifted shortstop and slap hitter, Harrell was instrumental in helping the Peaches win four championship titles.  She is regarded as one of the best shortstops, male or female, to ever play the game.  At Seattle's Safeco Field, her image and achievements are celebrated on a 10 foot banner, between baseball legends Roberto Clemente and Brooks Robinson. 

VERA CASLAVSKA by Molly Schiot

Czech gymnast Vera  C áslavská dominated the sport during the 1960s, winning seven Olympic gold medals in individual events. She is the only gymnast, male or female, to have won gold in each discipline.  A vocal supporter of the Czech democratic movement,  C áslavská opposed the Soviet influence on her home country, often looking away when the national anthem was played at events.  As a result of her outspoken stance, the new Soviet regime barred her from travelling or attending sporting events, effectively forcing her into retirement.  The ban was later lifted with the help of the IOC and  C áslavská went on to hold several distinguished positions, including President of the Czech Olympic Committee.

Czech gymnast Vera Cáslavská dominated the sport during the 1960s, winning seven Olympic gold medals in individual events. She is the only gymnast, male or female, to have won gold in each discipline.  A vocal supporter of the Czech democratic movement, Cáslavská opposed the Soviet influence on her home country, often looking away when the national anthem was played at events.  As a result of her outspoken stance, the new Soviet regime barred her from travelling or attending sporting events, effectively forcing her into retirement.  The ban was later lifted with the help of the IOC and Cáslavská went on to hold several distinguished positions, including President of the Czech Olympic Committee.

GRETE WAITZ by Molly Schiot

A nine-time winner of the New York City marathon, the Norwegian schoolteacher is credited with bringing women's distance running to an international stage. She set a world record in 1978 in her first NYC marathon, despite it being her first time running the full 26.2 miles. A pioneer of the sport, Waitz organized races, worked as a running coach and a community advocate. In 2007, she created the Active Against Cancer foundation, to sponsor runners and race money for cancer treatment. Waitz passed away from the disease in 2011.

A nine-time winner of the New York City marathon, the Norwegian schoolteacher is credited with bringing women's distance running to an international stage. She set a world record in 1978 in her first NYC marathon, despite it being her first time running the full 26.2 miles. A pioneer of the sport, Waitz organized races, worked as a running coach and a community advocate. In 2007, she created the Active Against Cancer foundation, to sponsor runners and race money for cancer treatment. Waitz passed away from the disease in 2011.

MAE FAGGS by Molly Schiot

A three-time Olympian, Mae Faggs was a gold medalist at the 1952 Olympics when she ran on the 4x100m relay team that set a world record of 45.9 Her running experience began at age 15 after she was recruited to run as a member of the New York City Police Athletic League. A year later, she qualified to represent the U.S. in the 200 meters at the London Olympics. After graduating from Bayside High School in New York, she became Hall of Fame coach Ed Temple's first recruited athlete at Tennessee State University. While running for the Tigerbelles, she qualified for her second Olympic team in both the 100 meters, in which she finished sixth, and the 200 meters, in which she failed to qualify for the final. She ran the lead-off leg on the world-record setting 4x100m relay team. At the 1956 Olympics, she won a bronze medal in the 4x100m relay. At the 1955 Pan-American Games, she was also a gold medalist in the 4x100m relay team and took a silver medal in the 200 meters. She won 11 National AAU titles, six of them in the indoor 220-yard sprint. After retiring, Faggs became a schoolteacher.

A three-time Olympian, Mae Faggs was a gold medalist at the 1952 Olympics when she ran on the 4x100m relay team that set a world record of 45.9 Her running experience began at age 15 after she was recruited to run as a member of the New York City Police Athletic League. A year later, she qualified to represent the U.S. in the 200 meters at the London Olympics. After graduating from Bayside High School in New York, she became Hall of Fame coach Ed Temple's first recruited athlete at Tennessee State University. While running for the Tigerbelles, she qualified for her second Olympic team in both the 100 meters, in which she finished sixth, and the 200 meters, in which she failed to qualify for the final. She ran the lead-off leg on the world-record setting 4x100m relay team. At the 1956 Olympics, she won a bronze medal in the 4x100m relay. At the 1955 Pan-American Games, she was also a gold medalist in the 4x100m relay team and took a silver medal in the 200 meters. She won 11 National AAU titles, six of them in the indoor 220-yard sprint. After retiring, Faggs became a schoolteacher.

MARIA JOSE MARTINEZ PATINO by Molly Schiot

Prior to a 1985 competition, celebrated Spanish hurdler Martínez Patiño was forced to undergo gender testing.  Despite passing previous sex-determination tests and receiving a Certificate of Femininity, Martínez Patiño's results revealed she had androgen insensitivity syndrome (AIS) and a Y chromosome. Martínez Patiño was ruled ineligible for future competitions, including the 1988 Olympics, and lost several athletic scholarships. She was reinstated two and a half years later by the International Amateur Athletics Federation. Retired from the sport, Martinez-Patino received her PhD and is now a university professor. 

Prior to a 1985 competition, celebrated Spanish hurdler Martínez Patiño was forced to undergo gender testing.  Despite passing previous sex-determination tests and receiving a Certificate of Femininity, Martínez Patiño's results revealed she had androgen insensitivity syndrome (AIS) and a Y chromosome. Martínez Patiño was ruled ineligible for future competitions, including the 1988 Olympics, and lost several athletic scholarships. She was reinstated two and a half years later by the International Amateur Athletics Federation. Retired from the sport, Martinez-Patino received her PhD and is now a university professor. 

VIOLET PALMER by Molly Schiot

Before becoming an NBA official, Violet Palmer refereed high school and college-level games, racking up nine years of collegiate officiating experience, as well as five NCAA Final Fours and two NCAA Championship games. Then the NBA began to take notice. She was recruited by the NBA to try out for a position in the league. "You give me a shot ... you know how you crack the door? I just kicked it right open." The Compton, California, native played basketball for her school's teams in junior high, high school, and college. Her passion earned her a full athletic scholarship to California Polytechnic State University, where she won two NCAA Women's Championships. She believes it's that love of the game that contributed to her success in the NBA. Palmer remains the only female referee among 62 of the best referees in the world, a chosen few given the opportunity to officiate at the highest level. 

Before becoming an NBA official, Violet Palmer refereed high school and college-level games, racking up nine years of collegiate officiating experience, as well as five NCAA Final Fours and two NCAA Championship games. Then the NBA began to take notice. She was recruited by the NBA to try out for a position in the league. "You give me a shot ... you know how you crack the door? I just kicked it right open." The Compton, California, native played basketball for her school's teams in junior high, high school, and college. Her passion earned her a full athletic scholarship to California Polytechnic State University, where she won two NCAA Women's Championships. She believes it's that love of the game that contributed to her success in the NBA. Palmer remains the only female referee among 62 of the best referees in the world, a chosen few given the opportunity to officiate at the highest level. 

First Lady Betty Ford  by Molly Schiot

Growing up in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Ford (nee Bloomer) was known for her athletic prowess - often playing hockey and football with local boys. She later studied dance, training under Martha Graham in New York City before opening her own studio. After a three year marriage to William Warren, Bloomer married Gerald Ford - making her one of only three divorcees to become First Lady. A leader in the 1970's women's movement, Ford was pro-choice and a vocal proponent of the Equal Rights Amendment.  

Growing up in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Ford (nee Bloomer) was known for her athletic prowess - often playing hockey and football with local boys. She later studied dance, training under Martha Graham in New York City before opening her own studio. After a three year marriage to William Warren, Bloomer married Gerald Ford - making her one of only three divorcees to become First Lady. A leader in the 1970's women's movement, Ford was pro-choice and a vocal proponent of the Equal Rights Amendment.  

SAVOY HOWE by Molly Schiot

In 1993, Toronto based Savoy Howe participated in the city's first ever female boxing event.  Howe made headlines that same when she became the first out lesbian in women's boxing.  Howe started the Toronto Newsgirls Boxing Club in 1996 to introduce women to competitive boxing.  A role model in the LGBT community, she promotes the sport as an outlet for lesbians and transgendered people to receive support and feel empowered.  Howe currently operates the only all-female gym in Canada.

In 1993, Toronto based Savoy Howe participated in the city's first ever female boxing event.  Howe made headlines that same when she became the first out lesbian in women's boxing.  Howe started the Toronto Newsgirls Boxing Club in 1996 to introduce women to competitive boxing.  A role model in the LGBT community, she promotes the sport as an outlet for lesbians and transgendered people to receive support and feel empowered.  Howe currently operates the only all-female gym in Canada.

EVA KLOBUKOWSKA by Molly Schiot

A member of the Polish track and field team, Klobukowska won a gold and bronze medal in sprinting at the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games.  A mandated sex gender test three years later at the European Cup championships revealed a chromosomal disorder (Barr Body positive) that led to Klobukowska having "one chromosome too many".  While the extra chromosome did not provide a competitive advantage, Klobukowska was banned from professional sports and forced to return her medals.  Had she been tested a year later, she would have remained eligible under a new rule that any athletes with a Barr Body cell would be permitted to compete.

A member of the Polish track and field team, Klobukowska won a gold and bronze medal in sprinting at the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games.  A mandated sex gender test three years later at the European Cup championships revealed a chromosomal disorder (Barr Body positive) that led to Klobukowska having "one chromosome too many".  While the extra chromosome did not provide a competitive advantage, Klobukowska was banned from professional sports and forced to return her medals.  Had she been tested a year later, she would have remained eligible under a new rule that any athletes with a Barr Body cell would be permitted to compete.