Not even 30 years ago, a paltry two percent of female American college students participated in sports. That's an almost unthinkable reality these days. While it's true that male athletes have historically dominated score boards and record books, their female counterparts are holding their own - trophies, that is. These 12 women went head-to-head against the patriarchy and levelled the playing field.More
On June 8, 1975, boxer Jackie Tonawanda was the first woman to fight in New York's Madison Square Garden. She went up against Larry Rodania — and knocked him out in the second round. After that, she was dubbed "the female Muhammad Ali."
On August 30, 2003, Katie Hnida became the first woman to score points in an National Collegiate Athletic Association Division 1-A college football game as kicker for the New Mexico Lobos at the University of New Mexico. In a game against Texas State University, Hnida kicked two points in the fourth quarter. Hnida was only the second woman to ever dress in a college football uniform in the U.S. Today, the number of women asked to play in the NCAA remains low, but Hnida helped prove that women can score points alongside the guys.
In 1973, pros Billy Jean King and Bobby Riggs faced off in a tennis game that became known as "The Battle of the Sexes." Fifty million people in the U.S. and 90 million worldwide watched 29-year-old King play against 55-year-old Riggs at the Houston Astrodome. At stake? A winner's prize of $100,000. King made a stunning comeback after falling behind during the first set. She won all three sets, winning 6 to 3 in the third set. Female tennis plays are now more accepted, but similar "Battles of the Sexes" have taken place since King bested Riggs, including in 2013 when Chinese tennis pro Li Na beat Novak Djokovic 3-2.