Updated: Mar 7, 2021
Pat Summitt is the most successful coach in the history of women's basketball. Summitt was just 22 years old when she named the head coach of the women's basketball program at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. She was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2000. Summitt finished her coaching career with 1,098 wins out of 1,306 games coached. Sadly in 2016, Pat passed away due to complications of early-onset Alzheimer’s. But her competitive spirit and courage lives on through the players she coached during her 38 seasons at the helm of the Lady Vols Basketball Team. These athletes include Tamika Catchings, Candace Parker, Nikki McCray, Kara Lawson, and many more. Pat was more than just a coach she was a mother to those who she coached and focused on their on-court development but also who they were as young women off the court.
Brandi Chastain is a two-time FIFA Women's World Cup champion, two-time Olympic gold-medalist, coach, and sports broadcaster. She played for the United States women's national soccer team from 1988–2004. In her 192 caps on the team, she scored 30 goals playing primarily in the defender and midfielder positions.
She is one of the most recognizable figures in American sports. This picture was taken right after she scored the winning goal at the Women's World Cup soccer tournament final against China on July 10, 1999. The image of Chastain kneeling on the field shirtless, fists raised in victory, graced the covers of Sports Illustrated, Time, and Newsweek The game provided women's soccer in the United States a much-needed boost, drawing a record 40 million viewers.
Brandi is not done yet she has big dreams, recently Chastain said that in her "bucket of wishes", she'd like to coach a U.S. youth national team, and hopefully someday, be the head coach of the U.S. women's national team.
Misty May-Treanor is a retired professional volleyball player for Team USA. She and her partner Kerri Walsh Jennings took home the gold three times at the Olympic Games in 2004, 2008, and 2012. The bond between May-Treanor and Walsh Jennings helped make them unstoppable, and they're still largely considered the best duo in the history of beach volleyball. At one point, they held an 89-game winning streak. Misty is known for her amazing athletic ability but also for being a director of volleyball operations at Long Beach City College, an International Volleyball Hall of Fame inductee, and even a writer. In 2010 she published her memoir, Misty: Digging Deep in Volleyball and Life.
Kim Ng is the first woman to serve as general manager for a Major League Baseball Team. Ng is the current GM for the Miami Marlins. She is also the first woman to serve as a GM in either the NBA, NFL, NBA, or NHL. Kim played third base and shortstop through her college years at the University of Chicago and was named MVP Infielder. There, she juggled being an athlete with other extracurricular activities, including positions as sports editor of the yearbook and student newspaper, all while working towards a degree in public policy. Kim credits her student-athlete experience to teaching her how to multi-task and work well with others in her daily life. Teamwork doesn’t end on the field it extends into all facets of daily life. After graduation Ng worked her way up in the front office of several MLB teams. Spending time working for the Chicago White Sox, New York Yankees, and Los Angeles Dodgers before becoming the GM at the Marlins.
“Women have made notable advances in the men’s sports industry during 2020 and Kim Ng is just another glaring example of how far we have come but how far we still have to go. MLB most recently got a C for gender hiring—hails Nov. 13, 2020, the day that Ng’s new position was announced, as the most noteworthy day for baseball since Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in 1947.”
Kim Ng stated recently, “throughout my life, sports have had a tremendous impact on me. I’m not really sure who I would be without sports.”
Ng continues to inspire young girls all across the world with her glass ceiling-breaking accomplishments and nothing can stop me attitude.
Allyson Felix is an Olympic track and field sprinter who specializes in 100 meters, 200 meters, and 400 meters. At 200 meters, she was the 2012 Olympic gold medalist, 2 time Olympic silver medalist in 2004 and 2008, and a 3-time world champion. For the 400 meter distance, What is the 2015 world champion, 2011 world silver medalist, and a silver medalist in the 2016 Olympics. In addition to these accomplishments Felix, has also won an additional five Olympic gold medals as a member of Team USA relay teams she earned three at the 4 x 400 m distance in 2008, 2012, and 2016 in addition she also one too at the 4 x 100 m distance in 2012 and 2016.
In addition to her athletic accomplishments, Allison is also an advocate for athletes.
In 2014, she traveled to Brazil for the U.S. Department of the State. While in Brazil she conducted clinics, speeches, and other events for 510 youth, many of whom had disabilities or came from marginalized communities. The program she worked with was designed to remove barriers and stigmas and create activities that will benefit audiences with and without disabilities and also speak to Young and the at risk. About the importance of life in sport their values, discipline, respect, and overcoming adversity. In 2019 Felix even gave a speech on Capitol Hill.
Felix exemplifies exactly what it means to be more than an athlete she helps out in her community, is a mom, and continues to inspire young female athletes around the world with her mission to create change outside of her sport of Olympic sprinting.
Lindsey Vonn is a retired Olympic and World Cup alpine skier for the US Ski Team. She is one of six women to have won in all five disciplines of alpine skiing, super-G, downhill, slalom, giant slalom, and super combined. Throughout her career she won 82 World Cup races, 3 Olympic medals (1 gold, 2 bronze), and 8 World Championship medals (2 gold, 3 silver, and 3 bronze).
During 2019, HBO covered her final World Championship season and then released a documentary covering her journey from a child prodigy to one of the most decorated American ski racer. In addition to the documentary, Vonn has also released two books. One in 2016 Strong Is The New Beautiful and another in 2019 Rise: My Story.
During the 2021 Cortina World Cup, Vonn made her debut as an NBC commentator and hopes to attend the 2022 Olympics in a different way, on the mic instead of on her skis. Lindsey has recognized that women’s sports is good business and how important it is to invest in women. She is a member of the ownership group for Angel City FC. She is also an activist for athlete mental health. In a recent CNN article, Lindsey revealed the challenges she faced as an Olympian and the struggles after retirement.
Kelley O’Hara is a defender on the US women’s national soccer team as well as the host of the Just Women’s Sports podcast.
O’Hara began her career as a forward at Stanford. Now a converted defender, she has been to 3 FIFA World Cup’s (2011, 2015, 2019) and 2 Olympic Games (2012, 2016). She was one of three USWNT players to have played in every minute of the 2012 Olympic Games when they took home the gold medal.
She has played for 3 different NWSL teams, Sky Blue FC, Utah Royals FC, and announced on December 2, 2020, O’Hara was traded to the Washington Spirit for the upcoming 2021 NWSL season. She will now be playing for her home team, as she is a resident of Washington D.C.
As the host of the Just Women’s Sports Podcast, Kelley who “always thought hosting a podcast would be fun” aims to have open and candid conversations about the lives of the female athlete guests she brings on to the podcast.
She has gone through multiple injuries in her career and has been very open about her mental health and struggles with having to take time off due to injury. Kelley wrote a letter to her 14 year old self that was featured in The Players’ Tribune titled The Only Way Is Through. She used this letter to reflect on her journey from a young soccer phenom from Georgia to a standout defender on the USWNT. She closed out the letter by stating that “you have to focus on the things you can control. Because no matter what happens, through the good and the bad, you can always control what you do next. How you react to adversity. Your strength comes from who you are in the valleys of life.”