April is African American Women's Fitness Month. Encouraging a physically active lifestyle is imperative to fight leading causes of death among African American women in the United States including heart disease, stroke, and cancer.
This week we want to recognize just some of the African American female athletes who forever made history in their sport!
Serena Williams: @serenawilliams was named America’s Greatest Athlete by The New Yorker and media often refer to her as the “Queen of the Court.” Winner of 6 U.S. Opens and 5 Wimbledons. Ranked her World No. 1 in singles on six separate occasions by the Women's Tennis Association between 2002 and 2013. Most recently, she earned her 20th Grand Slam title at the French Open.
Laila Ali: @thereallailaali had an undefeated record of 24 of 24 matches won including 21 knockouts, Laila Ali has made the alleged insult “fight like a girl” into a bona fide badge of honor. She is committed to giving back to her community and wrote a motivational book called Reach! Finding Strength, Spirit, and Personal Power that encourages girls to pursue their goals.
Alice Coachman: First Black woman to win an Olympic gold medal. Specializing in the high jump, she certainly leaped over all the racism thrown her way. Each year between 1939 and 1948, she won a national championship award. In 1948, she was the only American woman to bring home an Olympic gold medal in athletics.
Sheryl Swoopes: @airswoopes22 is often called the “female Michael Jordan”, she was the first player signed to the WNBA and has won three Olympic gold medals. Swoopes is a three-time WNBA MVP, and remains on every top WNBA player list ever made. She scored 955 points in the 1992–93 season alone.
Dominique Dawes: @daweser is a phenomenal gymnast, Dawes was a 10-year member of the U.S. national gymnastics team and member of the gold-winning 1996 Olympic team in Atlanta. She’s also the first Black woman to win an individual Olympic medal in artistic gymnastics. Between 2004 and 2006, Dawes served as president of the Women’s Sports Federation and in 2010.
Celebrating these women in history can inspire other young, female athletes to pursue their passions and never let poor representation stop them. We need to remember to celebrate women of different backgrounds throughout the year every year, not just during a single month.