Sprinting towards the goalOn February 1st, we celebrate the 31st anniversary of National Girls & Women in Sports Day, a national observance celebrating the extraordinary achievements of women and girls in sports. The theme this year is Expanding Opportunity. It recognizes the extraordinary progress sparked by Title IX and the ongoing effort to ensure access to sports to girls and women.  Despite the legislation’s impact, only 40% of high school girls are currently playing sports, leaving three-in-five girls without the opportunity to compete. Research demonstrates that girls who play sports have better health, higher self-esteem, stronger leadership skills, greater academic achievement and economic opportunity.

Up2Us Sports is proud that nearly 40% of our coaches are women and nearly 50% of the youth we serve are girls. Every year, we work to create more opportunities for young women to coach as well as help more young girls reach their potential by having a coach trained in positive youth development.

In keeping with this years’ theme, we asked our female Ambassadors, Board Members and Leadership Council Members what opportunities sports has given them. Read on and be inspired by their passion, talent and commitment to the message of NGWSD and the mission of Up2Us Sports.

 

AMBASSADORS

Sasha With Red Bull HatSasha DiGiulian – World champion rock climber, world ranking leader in first (female) ascents

Sports gave me the opportunity to be myself and to follow my heart.


Kim SwimKim Vandenberg – 2008 Olympic swimming bronze medalist

Sports gave me the opportunity to overcome self doubt, develop the ability to goal set, and the honor to give back to the community.


Sugar Rodgers.croppedSugar Rodgers – Guard for New York Liberty, member of USA Basketball Select Team

Sports gave me the opportunity to enjoy life!


Olympic gold-medallist Claressa Shields laughs with coaches, Ed Kendall , rear center, and Jason Crutchfield as they help wrap her hands before an evening boxing class at the Berston Field House in Flint, Mich. on Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012. Shields, who won the first women's boxing gold medal at the London Summer Olympics, is currently training for the National Police Athletic League title. (AP Photo/The Flint Journal, Griffin Moores) ORG XMIT: MIFLI704Claressa Shields – Two-time Olympic boxing gold medalist, first American woman to win Olympic boxing gold

Sports gave me the opportunity to dream.


Pam ShriverPam Shriver – 1988 Olympic tennis gold medalist, member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame

Sports gave me the opportunity to learn how to compete, travel the world learning about different cultures, earn a living, save for my future, and keep my body and mind strong and fit.

 

BOARD & LEADERSHIP COUNCIL MEMBERS 

Sue Hunt – Chief Marketing Officer at Universal Tennis

Sports gave me the opportunity to raise amazing kids.


IMG_1843Jody Bilney – Chief Consumer Officer at Humana, former Division-1 tennis player for Clemson University

“Sports gave me the opportunity to watch my sweet girls grow into strong women”

 

Jody has twin daughters who followed in her footsteps and played collegiate sports. They each contributed as well.

Rachael Bilney – former Division-1 basketball player for the University of Richmond

“Sports gave me the opportunity to find my confidence”

 

Samantha (Bilney) Radford – former Division-1 basketball player for the University of Richmond

“Sports gave me the opportunity to take challenges face on and overcome them”


What opportunities did sport provide you? Share with us by filling in the blank below and posting on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram:

 

Sports gave me the opportunity to _________________ #MyCoachTaughtMe #NGWSD

Learn more about National Girls and Women in Sports day by visiting www.NGWSD.org.