Everybody has role models, but there are 6 females that stand out to me. Serena Willams, Skylar Diggins-Smith, Ronda Rousey, Alex Morgan and Simone Biles are some of the toughest athletes in history. They have set records and have compiled hundreds of awards and medals between all of them. These six athletes have opened doors for women for years. Look at these profiles to see what I mean.
- Serena Williams
I must start out with the oldest female athlete because I need to give credit to her first. Serena Williams has been winning competitions in tennis since 1999 with a U.S. Open appearance. That same year, she won the doubles title with her sister Venus, also an athletic icon. The winning did not stop there of course. Williams trains and competes now and still wins titles. She is the oldest woman to win a major in the current era of tennis.
Throughout her career, Serena has officially won 33 single titles. That is a total of 23 first places and 10 runner-ups. She is also a rich queen because of the prize money she gets from all of her wins. She has won $73.4 million from the Women’s Tennis Association and will continue to accumulate more in the future.
Williams is a mother and a wife, showing her ability to juggle many things at a time. She proves to be a family person time and time again. From her immediate family to her close relationship with her sister, Williams’ life revolves around her loved ones. Luckily for women, she has adopted us into her family as well. Williams supports girls and women with any life endeavors. She currently funds business ideas started and run by women to show them that they can do anything they set their mind to. Thank you, Serena, for being our role model and a killer tennis star.
- Skylar Diggins-Smith
The next athlete is none other than Notre Dame’s own Skylar Diggins. After winning Indiana Miss Basketball in 2009, she came to Notre Dame and became the second-highest all-time leading scorers 2,357 points. She even won the Nancy Lieberman Award which goes to the nation’s top point guard each year. Diggins is the only Notre Dame player to earn that award and she won it two years in a row. She played so well that she won it twice!
After college, Diggins went on to be drafted 3rd overall by the Tulsa Shock. She now plays for the Dallas Wings in Texas. Diggins continues to break records and has excellent performances even in the WNBA (Women’s National Basketball Association). She is a four-time WNBA all-star and won the most improved player award in 2014.
Diggins is not just a threat on the court but also off the court. She has an endorsement deal with Puma which makes her the first athlete to be signed to Puma Basketball. Diggins married her college sweetheart in 2017 and they now have an adorable baby boy. She truly is the triple threat: athlete, wife and mother.
- Ronda Rousey
Ronda Rousey proves that being ladylike can mean getting down and dirty. She is an Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) fighter that wins quite frequently. In fact, her career has consisted of twelve wins with three of those being from knockouts. Winning is nothing new for Rousey. At 17, she was the youngest judoka fighter to qualify for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. Rousey won another battle by being the first female fighter to sign with the UFC in 2012.
She is not only knocking out people in the ring but also fighting against global warming. Rousey tries to buy mostly organic food. She saves the environment as she stays active and performs as one of the best athletes in the UFC. Find you a women who can do both: Ronda Rousey.
- Danica Patrick
Danica Patrick may be retired, but her career in professional racing still leaves a lasting legacy on the sport. She set records becoming one of the earliest women in the field of professional driving. Patrick’s victory in the 2008 Indy Japan 300 is still the only win by a woman in an IndyCar Series race. She alone put women on the map of professional race driving. In 2005, prior to her victory in Japan, Patrick was named the Indianapolis 500’s rookie of the year.
She retired a few years ago but is still recognized by people all over the world. In fact, she was voted Favorite Female Athlete at the Kids’ Choice Awards in 2008, 2012 and 2013. Her impact is lasting even after she left the world of professional racing. She lived life in the fast lane on the track, and now she is quickly pushing women forward in a sport that has been open to women for only a few years.
- Alex Morgan
Alex Morgan may wear number 13 for the Orlando Pride and the U.S. national team, but she is anything other than unlucky. She represents her home team and the entirety of the United States with her soccer skills. She helped the women’s Olympic team win a gold medal in 2012. Morgan even co-captains the U.S. national team, and her leadership skills allowed them to win the Women’s World Cup this year.
Morgan has a total of 107 goals and scored her first one in during the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup. During that competition, she was the youngest player on the U.S. national team that placed second overall. To begin her career, her teammates nicknamed her baby horse because of her youth and running style. She now performs like a stallion and can outrun nearly all of her competitors.
Not only is Morgan a warrior for women on the field by breaking records, but she also sets standards off of the field. Her and Megan Rapinoe,one of her U.S. teammates, were the first two female players in the U.S. to sign the common goal campaign. This is an initiative that has players donate 1% of their wages to support soccer related charities. Morgan is making it possible for young women and men to succeed in soccer just like she is currently doing.
- Simone Biles
The last athlete I am going to discuss—the youngest on the list—is definitely one of the most accomplished. Simone Biles is a women’s artistic gymnast who has more medals than most people ever will, and she is only 22 years old. She competes in four categories: vault, uneven bars, balance beam and floor exercise which shows her versatility and tough work ethic.
Biles has won five Olympic medals in 2016 and 14 world gold medals, which is the most gold medals awarded in gymnastics history. For the Olympics, she was selected to compete with the U.S. gymnastics team named the Final Five. Biles was part of the last team of five to be in the Olympics and final team to be picked by Marta Karolyi – a long-time national team coordinator of U.S. gymnastics.
She made history at such a young age and continues to win awards for her performances. Biles was named to BBC’s 100 women in 2016 for being not only a phenomenal athlete but a wonderful woman as well. She also became the Sportswoman of the Year presented by the Women’s Sports Foundation in 2016. All of her accolades are stunning, but it is even more so because Biles was adopted at a young age. Her birth parents couldn’t provide the environment she needed, but she was adopted by a great family. I think she is an inspiration to all young ladies, but especially to those that have been adopted. Biles shows everyone that you can use your differences in background to highlight your skills in other areas of life.
These six women show all of us how to be fit, healthy and happy. They have been trailblazers and continue to open up doors for women all over the world.