Positive Sports News

International panel of women saluted at annual gala

NEW YORK — Some of the most prestigious women in sports gathered last Wednesday to celebrate the 32nd annual Salute to Women in Sports Foundation Awards Gala at New York City’s Cipriani Wall Street. The event handed out awards to an international group of women athletes including Abby Wambach, Yani Tseng, and the Visa women’s ski jumping team.

“It is remarkable to have this many influential, powerful and strong women in one room – there is really no other event that compares to the Women’s Sports Foundation’s Annual Salute,” Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF) founder Billie Jean King said at Wednesday’s gala. Honorees and special presenters included sports broadcaster Bonnie Bernstein, the emcee for the evening, Maya Moore, Michelle Kwan, Joe Torre, WSF president, Laila Ali and others.

Five distinct awards were presented at the event.

The Visa Women’s ski jumping team was awarded the Wilma Rudolph Courage Award. Women’s ski jumping was added by the International Olympic Committee this past April and will be part of the competition at the 2014 Winter Games in Russia. The award is given to a female athlete – or in this case athletes – who demonstrate the ability to overcome adversity, make significant contributions to the sports and serve as an inspiration and role model for others. The award’s first recipient was Jackie Joyner-Kersee in 1996.

Tseng was named the WSF sportswoman of the year for an individual sport. Tseng, currently the top-ranked female golfer in the world, became the youngest player ever, male or female, to win five LPGA titles, at the age of 22.

Wambach won the team sport sportswoman of the year award. It joins a multitude of honors the Western New York native brought home over the past 12 months, winning US Soccer Female Athlete of the Year (for the fourth time) and the Women’s Professional Soccer Best XI last October.

Winter Vinecki, a triathlete, won the 2011 ANNIKA Inspiration award, a collaboration effort by WSF and golf legend Annika Sorenstam, who presented the award to the 12-year-old. Vineck, who has participated in triathlons since the age of five, founded Team Winter, a non-profit organization dedicated to funding prostrate cancer research, in honor of her late father, who died from a rare, aggressive form of the cancer. She has raised more than $300,000 for Team Winter.

Visa was awarded the Billie Jean King Contribution award, honoring the company for its sponsorship of women’s sports at all levels.

Along with awards, the WSF also unveiled work it is doing to highlight and celebrate the upcoming 40th anniversary of Title IX, including imploring the female athletes in attendance to participate in the “Get Your Game On, Girls!” program, which keeps the promise of Title XI alive.

A commemorative bracelet was also announced. Partnering with Maui Divers, the internationally recognized designer, the WSF created a limited-edition, handcrafted, custom piece whose proceeds will help provide programs that ensure girls have the opportunities in sports and careers that they aspire to attain.  The bracelet is a 7mm sterling silver cuff featuring the recessed Roman numeral “IX.” The inside of the bracelet is engraved with “Women’s Sports Foundation.” Maui Divers Jewelry will donate $40 of each sale to WSF’s mission in support of our grant and outreach programs.

The WSF, founded in 1974, is the leader in promoting sports, health and education for girls and women.  With King as its founder and ongoing visionary, the WSF continues to have a profound impact on female athletics, from its vigorous advocacy of Title IX legislation to providing grants and scholarships, grassroots programs for underserved girls, and groundbreaking research.  An agent for change, the foundation has relationships with more than 1,000 of the world’s elite female athletes and is recognized globally for its leadership, vision, strength, expertise and influence.

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Copyright © 2011 The Good in Sports, Inc. All rights reserved.

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