Top five kick ass female athletes
It should come as no surprise to anyone that a fair amount of inequality exists in modern day society Race, religion, income, and even a person’s ideas can determine the level of opportunity that falls at their feet throughout their lifetime.
While enlightened social movements have been dragging society kicking and screaming towards the bright light of equality for centuries, there is still much work to be done, and anyone with even a shred of honesty to their character should be readily able to admit that. (Wait, what? I thought Obama made inequality illegal in 2008?)
While Ronda Rousey’s emergence as the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s first female champion isn’t about to erase hundreds of years of gender oppression, or make equal wages and representation appear out of thin air, at the very least it can be viewed as a step in the right direction.
After all, no one should be denied their right to be punched in the throat repeatedly.
In honour of Dana White and the UFC’s decision to allow equal-opportunity beatdowns, here’s a look at five trailblazing or otherwise dominant female athletes who have broken records while breaking down the walls of gender inequality.
5. Marion Jones
Marion Jones deserves a place on this list for a number of reasons. First of all, as a track and field star, she was dominant for years. She won three gold medals and two bronze at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, not to mention high finishes at a half dozen other high-profile meets.
Secondly, she played professional basketball for the WNBA’s Tulsa Shock, although she only lasted one season.
Finally, she was stripped of all of her Olympic medals and other post-2000 track accomplishments when she admitted in 2007 that she had been using performance-enhancing drugs. See? Women can cheat at sports just as good as men can.
4. Christine Sinclair and Mia Hamm (tie)
Christine “Sincy” Sinclair probably earned her spot on this list ten times over in 2012 alone.
After 13 years on Canada’s national women’s soccer team she led them to Olympic bronze this past summer, and was awarded the Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada’s athlete of the year. Her ass-kicking performance at the Olympics is already being credited with growing the sport of soccer in Canada, something the game has been in dire need of in the great white north for years.
No mention of women’s soccer would be complete, however, without mentioning American superstar Mia Hamm, who has scored more goals in her career than any American player, male or female.
3. Hayley Wickenheiser
While many people, myself included, may not agree with Wickenheiser’s current decision to play hockey at the University level, there’s a very good reason for that logic.
She’s widely regarded as the best female hockey player to ever play the game, and probably ranks among the best to ever play the game period. In four appearances at the Winter Olympics, Wickenheiser has picked up three gold medals and one silver. She also lays claim to the bragging rights of being the first female hockey player (goalies excluded) to play in a professional men’s league.
Not content with being utterly dominant on the ice, Wickenheiser also played for Canada’s national softball team at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia, where she led the team in batting average. Because not being a dual Olympian is for chumps.
2. Venus and Serena Williams
Where to even start with these two? To be honest, I’m not even sure how much they’ve done in terms of breaking down gender barriers, but they are simply too ridiculously good to not mention on a list of dominant female athletes.
Venus (seven Grand Slam titles) and Serena (15) have pretty much owned women’s tennis for a decade-and-a-half, each having collected four Olympic gold medals and countless other titles along the way.
If you want to talk about equality, the sisters have also allegedly faced a fair amount of racism over the years, but that doesn’t really surprise me – tennis strikes me as the kind of sport that rich, white country-club types would hate getting their asses beat at.
Also, one of them is named Venus, and that’s pretty badass in itself in my books.
1. Danica Patrick
It could very well be that the timeliness of Danica Patrick’s recent NASCAR success has awarded her the top spot on this very prestigious list, but I’ve got a different theory informing my (totally scientific) method of ranking.
On Feb. 24, Patrick became the first female driver in NASCAR history to lead a green flag lap at the Daytona 500 after winning the pole position with a qualifying time of 45.817 seconds. With her eighth-place finish at the Daytona, she became the highest-placing female driver in the race’s 55-year history. But what strikes me most about Patrick isn’t just the fact that she’s a female driver, it’s the very sport that she’s excelling at.
Not to generalize, but I have a feeling there are more than a few NASCAR fans who couldn’t even spell the word equality, let alone appreciate its importance in modern society.
To push the boundaries of what true equality can and should be for our future generations, we’ve got to demand more from ourselves in all aspects of life. No half-assing it, and no compromises. Only by getting into the so-called “dirty” areas of social inequality can we begin to really clean up the mess.
A woman driving NASCAR, like a woman punching another woman in the face, isn’t going to reverse all of society’s unsavoury shortcomings overnight, but you can’t go anywhere without taking that first step. Or in this case, throwing that first punch.
Photo courtesy of mkrob.com