New York, NY (October 13, 2021) — This evening, the Women’s Sports Foundation celebrated the extraordinary achievements of athletes and leaders in women’s sports, at its Annual Salute. Recognized as the biggest night in women’s sports, the event honored history-making athletes and executives– Allyson Felix, Jordan Larson, Kim Ng, Naomi Osaka and Larry Scott –in a national broadcast on Yahoo Sports, preceded by an exclusive reception for donors and supporters at the New-York Historical Society. The Salute was presented by WSF partners Athleta, espnW, Gatorade, NBC Sports Group and Yahoo Sports.
In a year that saw the first women coaches win Super Bowl rings, a former WNBA player become a franchise co-owner, and Team USA women in Tokyo winning 58% and 60% of the Team’s Olympic and Paralympic medals, respectively, there is much to celebrate. The power, impact and popularity of women’s sports and athletes continue to grow – with athletes serving as inspiration and role models, motivating the next generation of young girls to #KeepPlaying. WSF research has shown that sport participation provides many life-long benefits including health and wellness, goal-setting and mastery, discipline, confidence and leadership skills. While the Salute welcomes everyone to revel in the celebration, it also serves to remind people of the ongoing need for equitable access, inclusion and opportunity in sport for girls and women, and rallies all to take action in supporting the Foundation in its mission.
“The Women’s Sports Foundation is an ally, advocate and catalyst for girls and women to reach their highest potential in sport and life,” said Billie Jean King, WSF Founder. “I am inspired by this incredible group of honorees and proud to recognize their record-setting and glass-shattering achievements, and encouraged by the girls around the globe who are boldly blazing new paths.”
The coveted Foundation’s awards and this year’s honorees included:
Sportswoman of the Year Award – presented to an athlete (in both individual sport and team sport) who exhibited exceptional athletic performance over the last 12 months.
- Individual Sport, Allyson Felix (Track & Field) – World record holder, 18-time World Championship medalist, 11-time Olympic medalist, and the most decorated American track & field Olympian in history.
- Team Sport, Jordan Larson (Volleyball) – Three-time Olympic medalist and captain of the history-making USA Women’s Volleyball Team.
Wilma Rudolph Courage Award – presented to 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.
- Naomi Osaka – Four-time Grand Slam champion, social justice activist and mental health advocate.
Billie Jean King Leadership Award presented with the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative – 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.
- Kim Ng – General Manager (GM) of the Miami Marlins, the highest-ranking woman in Major League Baseball and the first woman GM of all the professional men’s sports teams in the North American major leagues.
Champion for Equality Award – acknowledges an individual or organization that shows unwavering commitment to gender equality and to the advancement of women and girls in sports.
- Larry Scott – Former Commissioner of the Pac 12 Conference, former Chairman and CEO of the WTA Tour.
More information about the honorees and their awards can be found here.
The evening’s festivities were a hybrid of virtual and in-person celebration. In addition to the award honorees, the Salute broadcast featured programs including the recently launched Power of She Fund: Child Care Grant, with Athleta, which supports mom-athletes; and the girl-serving community group The Cycle Effect, which empowers girls through mountain biking and mentorship. WSF also announced their upcoming President-Elect, three-time Olympian and New Jersey Devils Manager of Player Development Meghan Duggan, who will take over the helm in January 2022 from current President, World Rugby Hall of Famer and Mixed Martial Arts athlete Phaidra Knight. Champion athletes attending the event at New-York Historical Society event included: Grete Eliassen, Aja Evans, Rachel Garcia, Jessica Long, Tatyana McFadden, Maggie Steffens and more.
“I look forward to the Salute every year to applaud and shine a well-deserved spotlight on everyone’s commitment and accomplishments,” said Phaidra Knight, WSF President. “Across every level of sport, women continue to excel and make history. The grit, power and determination displayed throughout the year by women in sports is exactly what the next generation of girls needs to see to inspire their own limitless possibilities.”
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. The Women’s Sports Foundation has positively shaped 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