New York, NY (June 22, 2023) — The Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF) is pleased to announce several award honorees for its upcoming 2023 Annual Salute to Women in Sports® which is recognized as one of the biggest nights in women’s sports. United States Tennis Association’s (USTA) Chief Executive of Professional Tennis, Stacey Allaster, to receive the Billie Jean King Leadership Award; Athlete Unlimited’s Co-founders, Jon Patricof and Jonathan Soros, to receive the Champion for Equality Award; and University of Washington’s long-distance runner and Indigenous people’s advocate, Rosalie Fish, to receive the Wilma Rudolph Courage Award. The Foundation’s signature Sportswoman of the Year® Awards (Team and Individual) will open for voting later this summer and be revealed during the Annual Salute. All honorees will receive their awards at the event on Thursday, October 12, 2023, at Cipriani Wall Street® in New York City. The Annual Salute is presented by WSF National Partners Delta Air Lines, ESPN, Gatorade, Michelob Ultra, NBC Sports, and TIAA.
The Annual Salute is renowned for being an exciting, festive event that celebrates women athletes and the girls they inspire. As the Foundation’s largest annual fundraiser, it is also crucial for spurring support of WSF’s imperative mission and important work. The event serves as a reminder of how far women’s sports have come, and how much farther there is to go to reach true equity.
Last year’s Salute, along with the Foundation’s year-long programming, commemorated Title IX’s 50th anniversary, a milestone of the landmark law that WSF is synonymous with protecting and advocating for. This year’s event will highlight the 50th anniversary of several significant milestones in WSF Founder Billie Jean King’s fight for gender equity in sports, including: 50 years of equal prize money at the US Open; the creation of the Women’s Tennis Association; and Billie Jean’s victory over Bobby Riggs in the iconic “Battle of the Sexes.” Next year, 2024, will see WSF celebrate its own 50th anniversary.
“The Annual Salute to Women in Sports proudly honors the leaders and superstar athletes who join us in fueling the movement for true equity in sport,” said WSF CEO Danette Leighton. “We are inspired by our 2023 honorees for their legacy of steadfast leadership, bold platform innovation, and courageous advocacy in being a voice for others. Each is making a powerful impact for girls and women in sports and beyond and understands the vital urgency of protecting and progressing equity – which drives the WSF mission. It’s going to be an impactful night!”
In partnership with the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative, the Billie Jean King Leadership Award recognizes an individual or group who demonstrates outstanding leadership and makes significant contributions to the advancement of women through achievements in sport and the workplace. Stacey Allaster, Chief Executive of Professional Tennis for the USTA, has been a been a passionate and dogged advocate for gender equality in tennis for over 30 years – from the $1 billion she generated for female players as chairman and CEO of the Women’s Tennis Association, to her brilliant leadership as the first female tournament director of the US Open in its 140-year history.
“Receiving the Billie Jean King Leadership Award is in itself the achievement of a lifetime, particularly given the opportunity I had to lead the Women’s Tennis Association, which Billie founded,” said Allaster. “However, knowing her as I do, I know that this is not just recognition for the past, but more importantly, it’s added motivation to continue to advocate for all women, which Billie Jean has so valiantly and unselfishly championed. On this 50th anniversary of equal prize money at the US Open Tennis Championships, I humbly accept the challenge of continuing Billie’s dream that all girls and women will have equal access and opportunity in sport and in life.”
The Champion for Equality Award acknowledges an individual/individuals or organization that shows unwavering commitment to gender equality and to the advancement of girls and women in sports. Jon Patricof and Jonathan Soros, Co-founders of Athletes Unlimited, launched this innovative new model of pro sports in 2020, that places power in the hands of athletes. Their efforts to push for change and build out opportunities for more women’s sports sponsorships and media coverage have been transformative in the movement for more representation, equity and inclusion in sports and beyond.
“Jonathan and I are deeply humbled and grateful to receive the Champion for Equality Award,” said Patricof. “From day one, Athletes Unlimited has been built by, with, and for athletes to create a more equitable and inclusive model for professional sports. We are proud to be advancing this mission every day and to work with committed partners like the Women’s Sports Foundation towards our shared goal of creating new opportunities for girls and women – on and off the field of play.”
The Wilma Rudolph Courage Award recognizes a female athlete or a team who exhibits extraordinary courage in their athletic performance, demonstrates the ability to overcome adversity, makes significant contributions to sports and serves as a role model. Rosalie Fish is a long-distance runner at the University of Washington, a member of the Cowlitz tribe, descendent of the Muckleshoot tribe, and an advocate for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW). Throughout her athletic journey, she has advocated for all Indigenous people, and raised awareness about violence against Indigenous women by dedicating her races to MMIW and running with a symbolic red handprint on her face to draw attention to this important issue.
“I am incredibly honored and humbled to receive the Wilma Rudolph Courage Award,” said Fish. “Getting to know the people at the Women’s Sports Foundation has introduced me to an organization of driven and passionate people who are devoted to equity. Being connected to my Indigenous community gives me the strength to defeat my fear, and our love for our people overcomes all obstacles. Thank you to the University of Washington for supporting me in my journey in advocacy.”
More information about WSF’s Annual Salute to Women in Sports, including table and ticket details and sponsorship opportunities, can be found here.
About the Women’s Sports Foundation
The Women’s Sports Foundation exists to enable girls and women to reach their potential in sport and life. We are an ally, an advocate and a catalyst. Founded by Billie Jean King in 1974, we strengthen and expand participation and leadership opportunities through research, advocacy, community programming and a wide variety of collaborative partnerships. From its inception to Title IX’s 50th anniversary in 2022, WSF invested over $100 million in these impact efforts, helping to shape the lives of millions of youth, high school and collegiate student-athletes, elite athletes and coaches. We’re building a future where every girl and woman can #KeepPlaying and unlock the lifelong benefits of sport participation. All girls. All women. All sports® To learn more about the Women’s Sports Foundation, please visit www.WomensSportsFoundation.org.
Women’s Sports Foundation
Women’s Sports Foundation