Top 10 Reasons the Ladies Loved Sports in 2012
2012 brought us the Summer Olympics in London and an historic election for marriage equality, making it a guaranteed great year in sports. After these and other important moments in women’s athletics this year, we look to 2013 for even more excitement!
10) 30-year-old Christmas Abbott became the first female NASCAR pit crewmember. She made her debut in the Snowball Derby in Decemberas a front tire changer.
9) Iraqi War veteran Liz Carmouche became the first openly gay fighter to join the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) circuit. The first fight ever between two women will take place on February 23, as Carmouche will take on Ronda Rousey.
8) The U.S. women's gymnastics team – Jordyn Wieber, Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas, Kyla Ross and McKayla Maroney – won the gold medal in London with an overall score of 183.596. The “Fierce Five,” as they became known, were some of the most celebrated role models in the Olympic games for young girls across America.
7) 2011 WNBA Finals MVP Seimone Augustus helped the US women’s team bring home the Olympic gold this past summer. She also came out publicly in support for gay marriage, and revealed her plans to marry longtime girlfriend LaTaya Varner. On Election Day, Minnesota (where Augustus plays professionally for the Lynx) voted down Amendment 1, a constitutional amendment that would have defined marriage as a union solely between a man and a woman.
6) U.S. women's soccer took the gold in the London Olympics, defeating Japan 2-1 in the Final. The victory was especially satisfying for the Americans, having been upset by Japan in the 2011 World Cup Final. With the exception of the 2000 Sydney Olympics, the United States has won the gold in women’s soccer since it became an Olympic sport in 1996.
5) The Stanford Cardinal women’s basketball team defeated the Baylor Lady Bears 71-69 at the Rainbow Wahine Classic in Honolulu. The upset snapped Baylor’s 42-game winning streak; the Lady Bears went undefeated last season on their way to a national championship. Baylor’s all-star Brittney Griner had 22 points in the loss.
4) After leading the United States women’s soccer team to a gold medal in the London Summer Olympic Games, out lesbian Pia Sundhage stepped down as the U.S. head coach. A native Swede, Sundhage will be returning home after signing a four-year contract to coach the Swedish national team.
3) Playing in the Summer Games together for the last time, Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings won their third straight Olympic gold medal. The historic pair defeated Jennifer Kessy and April Ross 21-16, 21-16 in an all-American final. Walsh Jennings and May-Treanor end their Olympic careers undefeated, having lost just one of 43 sets at the Summer Games. They are the only team in history to have won three Olympic beach volleyball medals of any kind.
2) Pat Summitt announced she’ll be stepping down as the Tennessee Lady Vols head basketball coach, less than eight months after being diagnosed with early onset dementia. Summitt has won 1,098 games and eight NCAA titles as the Lady Vols head coach, making her the all-time winningest coach in NCAA basketball history. Summit will not retire, but rather become head coach emeritus, with assistant coach Holly Warlick moving up as head coach.
1) Earlier this year, U.S. Olympic midfielder Megan Rapinoe toldOut Magazine that she is a lesbian and has been in a committed relationship with an Australian soccer player for the past three years. After the American squad went on to win the gold in London, Olympic alternate Lori Lindsey, who Rapinoe credits as having provided the final push for her own outing, came out as well. At its 41st Anniversary Gala & Auction, the L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center honored Rapinoe with its Board of Directors Award.