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Five Major Moments for Women in the Sports Industry This Year Already

The sports industry has always been known to be predominantly male. Whether it be players, coaches, officials, or agents, people always expect the big things happening to be from a male’s doing. That is rapidly changing. Women are making their way in the sports industry one accomplishment at a time, and we’re here for it. On Mon. March 8 we celebrated international women’s day, however the celebration doesn’t end here. Here are five accomplishments that have happened for women in the sports industry in the few months of 2021 so far. These women are an inspiration, a role model, and changing the sports industry for the better day by day. 

March 5, 2021

Maia Chaka becomes the 1st black female official in the NFL. Chaka is just the second woman to become an NFL official following Sarah Thomas’ debut as the first female official in the NFL back in 2015. Chaka breaks barriers by not only being the second female official, but the first black woman to officiate in the NFL.

February 7, 2021

Sarah Thomas becomes the first woman to officiate a Super Bowl. Super Bowl LV was quite different from the last, being held during a global pandemic. Fans were limited and masks were worn, however the biggest change was within the officiating staff for the game. What’s normally a male dominated position, changed for the better when Sarah Thomas stepped onto the field during Super Bowl LV. Sara Thomas became the first female official within the NFL back in 2015, however she made her first Super Bowl debut in 2021 during the matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and Tamps bay Buccaneers.

January 29, 2021

Eileen Gu becomes the first Chinese athlete in X-Games history to win a gold medal. Gu is a 17-year-old free skier who broke through to become the first rookie and first Chinese female athlete to become an X-Games champion on the halfpipe. Gu is from San Francisco however her mother is a Chinese immigrant. The accomplishments have just begun for Gu, be on the lookout for her as she will be a gold-medal contender competing for China (her mother’s birthplace) in Beijing 2022.

January 25, 2021

Natalie Sago and Jenna Schroeder become the first female duo to officiate the same NBA game. The NBA was one of the earlier all-male U.S. professional leagues to allow women to officiate back in 1977 when Violet Palmer and Dee Kantner made their debuts. Although there had been woman officials before, the league had never had two officiate the same game until now. In the Monday nights matchup (1/25/21) between the Charlotte Hornets and the Orlando Magic, Sago and Schroeder made history by being the first female duo to officiate the same game. The two were joined by male official, Sean Wright, but it was the first time in NBA history that the officiating staff was majority female for a game.

January 18, 2021

A’ja Wilson unveils statue in her honor at her alma mater, the University of South Carolina, the same campus her grandmother wasn’t allowed to step foot on because of segregation. The significance of the date, Jan. 18- Martin Luther King Day, made the celebration even more special for the South Carolina women’s basketball legend, A’ja Wilson. Wilson said in a public interview, “If she (her grandmother) was here today to see her granddaughter has a statue where she once couldn’t walk… it goes to show how you just plant seeds, and that’s what it’s all about.”

Mel Matts UNH English/Journalism & Italian Studies
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