Womens athletics

Women in Sports: "Female Firsts"

  • Babe Zaharias

    Babe Zaharias
    Babe became the first female to play on the PGA Tour in the Los Angeles Open on January 7, 1938. She also became the first American to win the British Women’s Amateur, the first woman to win both the British and U.S. Women’s Amateur (1947), and the first woman to win the Western Women’s Open three times (as an amateur and professional). She won many tournaments and has many awards dedicated to her great athleticism.
  • Diane Crump

    Diane Crump
    Diane Crump became the first female jockey to ride in the Kentucky Derby on May 2, 1970 aboard a horse named Fathom finishing in 15th place. She also became the first female jockey to break through the gates of the pari-mutuel race in the United States at Haileah Park, Florida on Feb. 7, 1969. Diane Crump is a horse trainer and now owns a business in horse breeding.
  • Janet Guthrie

    Janet Guthrie
    Janet Guthrie became the first woman to drive in the Indy 500 on May 29, 1977 where she finished 29th as a rookie (because of mechanical problems). She competed the next year in 1978 and finished in ninth place. Janet Guthrie also became the first woman to compete in a NASCAR Winston Cup superspeedway stock car race and was also first woman and Top Rookie at the Daytona 500 in the same year.
  • Shirley Muldowney

    Shirley Muldowney
    Shirley Muldowney is known as the "first lady of drag racing." She became the first woman to win a national drag racing championship in Ontario, California on October 9, 1977. She won the Winston World Points Championship that year and again in 1980 and '82, making her the first driver, man or woman, to win the sport's most prestigious title three times. Shirley had many accomplishments in her drag racing career and is now a 9 Time Hall of Fame Award Inductee.
  • Libby Riddles

    Libby Riddles
    Libby Riddles became the first woman to win the Iditarod dog sled race in Nome, Alaska on March 20, 1985. She was also named the 1985 Sportswoman of the Year by the Women’s Sports Foundation and honored by the Iditarod veterinarians with the 1985 Leonhard Seppala Humanitarian Award for her humane treatment of her dogs. Libby Riddles is now an inspirational speaker and has published three books about her experiences.
  • Nancy Lieberman

    Nancy Lieberman
    Nancy Lieberman also known as "Lady Magic" became the first woman to play in a regular-season men's professional game. The United States Basketball League's Springfield Fame downs Staten Island 122-107. Not only was Nancy a WNBA player but she has been a coach, general manager, broadcaster for ABC, NBC and ESPN, motivational speaker, author and the first female coach of a men's team under the NBA umbrella. She is now the assistant general manager for the Dallas Mavericks.
  • Manon Rheaume

    Manon Rheaume
    The first and only woman ever to play in a National Hockey League exhibition game. Manon Rheaume is considred a hockey legend and the most famous female hockey player. She has accomplished many other firsts including first girl to play at the International Pee Wee Hockey Tournament, first woman to play in a major junior game, and first woman to win a game in professional roller hockey.
  • Ila Borders

    Ila Borders
    Ila Borders became the first woman to win a men's pro baseball game in Duluth, Minnesota on July 24, 1998. She pitched six shutout innings for the minor-league Duluth Dukes in a 3-1 victory over the Sioux Falls Canaries. Borders also pitched her first professional game, for the Northern League's St. Paul Saints, on May 31, 1997. In 2003, Borders was inducted into the Baseball Reliquary.
  • Katie Hnida

    Katie Hnida
    Katie Hnida became the first woman to play Division I football in the Las Vegas Bowl. Hnida, a walk-on junior kicker for New Mexico, attempted an extra point in a 27-13 loss to UCLA. The kick was blocked. Her shoes and uniform are in the College Football Hall of Fame. Katie has continued her football career, most recently becoming the first woman to play professional arena football with the Ft. Wayne Firehawks in 2010.
  • Kelly Kulick

    Kelly Kulick
    Kelly Kulick became the first female to win a Professional Bowlers Association tour title (45th Tournament of Champions). Kelly also became the first woman to earn a spot into the Tournament of Champions by winning the PBA Women's Series World Championship in August 2009. In 2001, she was named the Professional Women's Bowling Association Rookie of the Year. In 2000, she was the U.S. national amateur champion and was inducted into the New Jersey Sports Writers Hall of Fame.