Gertrude Ederle became the first woman and only the sixth person to swim the English Channel. In rough seas, she swam 35 miles in 14 hours and 31 minutes, setting a world record. In the 1924 Olympics, she won a gold medal in the 400-meter freestyle relay.
Babe Didrikson Zaharias became the first woman to make the 36-hole cut to qualify to play against men in a PGA Tour event. One of the founding members of the L.P.G.A., she was also an all-American basketball player and Olympic track and field medalist.
At the Rome Olympics, Wilma Rudolph was the first woman to win three gold medals in track and field. As a child she wore a brace on her leg and overcame her disabilities though years of arduous physical therapy.
I do think it’s important that young women know [what Title IX did]. Every generation passes the baton down. Now, it’s your turn.
—Billie Jean King
The amendment read in part, “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” It had a far-reaching impact on women in sports.
Billie Jean King defeated Bobby Riggs in a tennis match deemed the “Battle of the Sexes” in Houston in front of more than 30,000 spectators. King won six Wimbledon singles championships and four United States Open titles but her victory over Riggs was the event that most energized women’s tennis.
Women’s basketball became one of the biggest beneficiaries in post-Title IX opportunities, a fact exemplified by Cheryl Miller. She led the University of Southern California women’s basketball team to NCAA titles in 1983 and 1984, and then spurred the United States women’s team to basketball gold in the 1984 Olympics.
Joan Benoit becomes an Olympic champion at the 1984 Games, when the women's marathon is first introduced as an Olympic sport. In 1979, she set a course record at the Boston Marathon.
Women’s soccer was born in the 1970s, grew in the 1980s and flourished in the 1990s. In 1999, the United States women’s soccer team beat China for the World Cup. That event drew a sellout crowd of more than 90,000. The sport serves as an affirmation of the gains made since the Title IX passage.
The sisters Venus and Serena Williams faced off for the United States Open title, with Venus taking the match.
The University of Connecticut women’s basketball team won 90 consecutive games, going two straight seasons without a loss from 2008-2010. Toppling the men’s record of 88 games set by U.C.L.A. from 1971-74, the women won their second straight national championship.