Year after year we hear about the great moments in sports, but few of those moments include women. Women have attained remarkable success in sports that have not always been known as women’s sports. Here are some of my favorite moments from 2014, showing the promise and impact of women in sports.
Becky Hammon just finished a storied career in the WNBA. Undrafted out of college, Hammon signed with the New York Liberty. In her first season, she backed up WNBA legend Teresa Weatherspoon as the Liberty went on to win the Eastern Conference Finals before losing to the Houston Comets in the WNBA Finals. Hammon is currently the league’s second all-time in 3-point field goals made, fourth all-time in assists, and seventh in total points. One of the biggest stories of the year is how, after ending her playing career, she became the first full-time female assistant coach the NBA, working for Gregg Popovich and the defending champion San Antonio Spurs.
Watch the NBA feature on Hammon
Philadelphia native Mo’ne Davis was one of only two females to participate in the 2014 Little League World Series, where she became the first female to earn a win and to pitch a shutout. Davis took the media by storm, gracing the cover of Sports Illustrated and the Heartpower page of STACK Magazine, the first-ever Little League player to earn those spots. Her impact will likely inspire more boys and girls to play baseball. Pitching at 70 miles per hour makes it cool to “throw like a girl.”
We Need to Talk on CBS Sports Network
We Need to Talk is the first sports talk show hosted entirely by females. CBS did an amazing job picking the 12-member cast. The women talk about all sports, displaying their knowledge and expertise even in sports for which women analysts have not always been welcome.
Michele A. Roberts
The executive director of the NBA Players Association, Michele Roberts is the first female to head a major sports union in North America. After the 2011 NBA lockout, the NBPA went looking for new leadership to represent the players’ interests and rights. Roberts made an immediate impression by developing a strong relationship with Commissioner Adam Silver and fostering a smoother relationship between the players and the league. She was known as a powerful trial lawyer and commended for her ability to connect with jurors.
UConn’s Undefeated Women’s Basketball Team
The University of Connecticut women’s basketball team and head coach Geno Auriemma are no strangers to championships, but the 2014 season is special, because the Huskies’ nine national championships are the most ever in NCAA Women’s sports history. Only eight teams have gone undefeated in a season. The UConn women have done it five times.
When Lauren Hill accepted a basketball scholarship at Cincinnati’s Mount St. Joseph, she was one of the top recruits for the Division III school. But her dream was cut short when she was diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer. Hill was told she had only a few weeks to live and would probably never play in a college basketball game.
With the country behind her, Hill raised over $300,000 for cancer research and awareness. She then defied the odds (and her doctors) by actually playing her first game at Mount St. Joseph. Her story inspired many people throughout the world, because despite being told she would not be able to play the sport she loved, she continued to do so, even while undergoing hospice care. Hill recently announced she will end her basketball career but will join the MSJ coaching staff as an honorary coach.
Skylar Diggins Friend Zones Drake
Skylar Diggins has transcended women’s basketball on a global level. She was the first female athlete signed to Roc Nation Sports, which is headed by 19-time Grammy winner and sports agent Jay-Z, and the first female athlete to appear on the cover of STACK Magazine. After a rocky rookie season, she took the WNBA by storm by doubling her average in points. Off the court, Diggins became an international celebrity. One big moment was at 2014 ESPY Awards, when Drake wrote an entire segment dedicated to Diggins. Most women would have caved in and melted over the thought that Drake was into them, but Skylar quickly placed him in the dreaded “friend zone” and kissed him on the forehead.
Check out Skylar and Drake GIFs here and here, and try Skylar’s complete bodyweight workout at STACK.com.
Stefanie Dolson Trips at the White House
Stefanie Dolson was the undisputed leader of the 2014 UConn women’s basketball team, leading the Huskies to their second straight national championship. She made headlines by tripping off the platform during a photo op at the White House when the team went to visit President Obama.
The greatness happens at 0:11 of the following clip. The incident was hilarious. Almost anyone else would have been embarrassed, but Dolson reacted as well as anyone could.
The French-born tennis star has had an accomplished career, winning two Grand Slam titles at Wimbledon, the Australian Open and a silver medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics. Mauresmo was hired by 2013 Wimbledon champion Andy Murray as his tennis coach.
Women’s Ski Jumping
In 2011, the International Olympic Committee announced that the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia would host the first women’s ski jumping event. Although it was only one event, and the men compete in three ski jumping events, I am sure that women will continue to fight to compete in more events and prove the doubters wrong.
Kaillie Humphries and Elana Meyers Taylor
North American bobsledders Kaillie Humphries and Elana Meyers Taylor became the first women to compete in the four-man bobsleigh event in the World Cup in Canada. The two had to compete in three second-tier events to qualify. The pair had already made history as the first females to win medals in the four-man international bobsled event in the North America Cup. In September, the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation ruled that four-man bobsledding was gender-neutral, allowing men and women to compete against each other.