Earlier this week, when Kacy Catanzaro became the first woman to ever complete the American Ninja Warrior course and move on to the finals, we all cheered. Might Kacy is awesome, but she’s certainly isn’t the first lady to break new ground in the world of sports. Unfortunately, the amazing feats of women tend to get overshadowed and eclipsed by a media that only highlights their sex appeal and treats their athleticism as though it is just in service to their appearance. This was sadly evidenced by the overwhelming amount of “Sexiest Athletes” lists I came across when researching this article. But I not going to care about that. You don’t. And the athletes certainly don’t. Let’s take a look at sports and admire these kick-ass women instead:
This UFC fighter just won Best Female Athlete at the ESPY Awards and it’s no surprise – she is a pioneer and a ferocious competitor.
Alice Coachman was the first black woman to win an Olympic gold back in 1948 for track and field.
Eri Yoshida is known as the Knuckle Princess and is the first female professional baseball player, having been drafted by a Japanese men’s professional baseball team at the age of 16.
This here was the first woman to play for the NHL in an exhibition game during which she blocked seven of nine shots.
This 19-year-old is the reigning Olympic, World Cup, and world champion in slalom.
Ana Polonia Silvestre (Carmen Rosa)
This lady is crazy amazing. She’s a Bolivian wrestler who kicked open the door to the sport for women in her country and perhaps might make her way over to the political arena.
Babe Didrikson Zaharias
This woman did it all: Olympic medals in track and field, won a total of 82 professional and amateur golf tournaments, and played in three PGA tournaments. She also won the women’s Grand Slam. She attempted to qualify for the US Open but her application was rejected on the basis that the tournament was for men only.
Maya Moore was also up for Best Female Athlete at the ESPYs this year. Among her endless awards, she’s won two NCAA titles, is a WNBA Championship winner twice over, a gold medal Olympian, and a WNBA MVP.