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Women’s Sports Foundation 36th Annual Salute, A Great Night For Women In Sports

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A night to most certainly remember, the Women’s Sports Foundation held their Annual Salute for the 36th time at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City October 20. The event honors those female athletes who have set the bar for women’s athletics, but also encourages young girls and boys to follow their dreams and to do whatever it takes to achieve them.

The Annual Salute award honors athletes with these awards:

Sportswoman of the Year:  Serena Williams (Tennis) in the individual category; Carli Lloyd (Soccer) in team category. The award is bestowed upon athletes who have distinguished themselves in their sports field through their supreme athletic performances over the past year.

Billie Jean King Contribution Award: Dr. Don Sabo, Ph.D. a Professor of Health Policy at D’Youville College.  Dr. Sabo’s pioneering research is a catalyst for the advancement of girls and women in sports and uncovers the lifelong benefits of participation on their health and well being.

Wilma Rudolph Courage Award: Eleven-time Paralympic medalist Tatyana McFadden (Track & Field, Cross-Country Skiing). McFadden has defied obstacles since she was a young girl to become one of the most dominant athletes in Paralympic Track & Field and Cross-Country Skiing, while also advocating for equal access for students with disabilities.

“It is such a humbling experience being here, being surrounded by all these talented women. The Women Sport’s Foundation helped me so much to be where I am today, in high school they were the ones that paid for my law suit and to have their support to this day, I couldn’t ask for anything more. “

Tatyana and her mother helped pass Maryland Fitness and Athletics Equity for Students with Disabilities Act (2005) that mandates that schools provide competitive opportunities for students with disabilities in interscholastic athletic programs.

It was an important night for more than just the winners; every athlete in attendance felt an alliance to the foundation.

Hilary Knight a female hockey player and a member of the NWHL stated,  “Being part of something such as the Annual Salute is a very unique opportunity. Women’s Hockey is still somewhat in its infancy stage and it’s fun to collaborate with other athletes.  My friend Sasha DiGiulian, who is a climber, we know we want to bring our sports together and make it fun for all. “

Meryl Davis, winner of Sportswoman of the Year in 2014 was thrilled to be back “it is amazing; we all share the same passion that brings us to this origination and this event each year. At the same time we have all shared such different experiences, because all of our sports are so drastically different, but you know no matter we all have each other’s support.”

The Women Sport’s Foundation would not be what it is today without the leadership and dedication of Billie Jean King. King founded the organization in 1974, with the goal to shape the publics attitude about women’s sports and athletes, and to get girls active, ensures equal opportunities for girls and women, and supports physically and emotionally healthy lifestyles. The Women’s Sports Foundation has relationships with more than 1,000 of the world’s elite female athletes and is recognized globally for its leadership, vision, expertise and influence.

When asked how the organization has grown and evolved King responded “We have given over 6 million dollars in scholarships and grants and we want to improve upon that. To this day girls receive less in scholarship money then boys, and it should be the same, fairness between the sexes. This event tonight is a celebration of where we are and where we want to be.”

Women in professional sports is becoming more and more popular, it is organizations like the Women Sport’s Foundation that have made is possible.

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