Saturday, December 30, 2017

2017 REAL SPORTS Most Important Moments in Sports: Sports Person of the Year

It’s been four decades since an American woman has won the New York City Marathon.

In 2017, Shalane Flanagan did so in two hours, twenty-six minutes and 53 seconds.

Flanagan, a 36-year-old Olympic medalist, beat three-time defending champion Mary Keitany of Kenya.

Flanagan holds the American record times in the 3000 meters, 5000 meters and 15K road race.

She also won
the bronze medal at the 2008 Olympics in the 10,000 m (since upgraded to silver

REAL SPORTS congratulates Shalane Flanagan on an outstanding performance and reminds readers everyone: Never underestimate the drive and determination of an athlete.

Photo Credit: Creative Commons/CCHO photographer

2017 Most Important Moments in Sports Edition: Moment #1

#1 Norway Men Choose Equality with Women; The USA, Other Countries, and FIFA Do Not

In October 2017, it was announced that the Norway Football Association leadership and the men who play for the Norwegian National Team agreed to provide the same financial compensation, regardless of gender, for players representing their country.

While the Norwegian women have consistently outperformed their male counterparts in international competitions, their compensation differential was substantial. 

The solution came about in part because of the contribution of 550,000 kroner by the male players from commercial national team appearance fees. The contribution helped increase the female’s financial pool to 6 million kroner, from its previous 3.1 million kroner total.

REAL SPORTS editorial board chose this as the #1 Most Important Moment in Sports for 2017 because of the why wouldn’t we pay men and women equally for representing our country mindset of the Norwegians.

“Norway is a country where equal standing is very important for us, so I think it is good for the country and for the sport,” Norway’s players’ union head Joachim Walltin said (via the BBC and The Washington Post).

In contrast, the USA female players agreed to a new five-year agreement with USA soccer in April 2017 after more than a year of negotiations, which included the U.S. Senate siding with the players and calling for equal pay just prior to the 2016 Olympics.  Despite filing a wage discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, citing female players got paid up to 40 percent less than men and were submitted to challenging working conditions (fields not ready for play, among other issues); the women failed to achieve parity. 

The women did though negotiate two years of back pay for unequal per diems and better benefits for players as well as salary and bonus improvements.

Friday, December 29, 2017

2017 Most Important Moments in Sports edition: Moments #4, #3, and #2

#4 National Women’s Hockey League achieved greater credibility in 2017 with two investment transactions. In October, the New Jersey Devils signed a three-year partnership with the Metropolitan Riveters. In December, Pegula Sports and Entertainment took it a step further and purchased the Buffalo Beauts. Pegula is no newbie to sports ownership; they also own the NHL Sabres, NFL Bills, and National Lacrosse League Bandits.  The Pegula’s bought a winner, as the Beauts are the reigning 2017 Isobel Cup Champion.

#3 Women playing ice hockey for Team USA used the IIHF Women’s World Championship as the perfect timing vehicle to pressure USA Hockey to address the players concerns over compensation and financial benefits. With the pressure on, Team USA won both battles: livable wages and insurance, and their fourth consecutive world championship beating archrival Canada 3-2 in overtime.

#2 Mississippi State, coming off a Sweet 16 birth in the 2016 NCAA Tournament, took their game right at UConn in the national semi-finals and came out on top with an overtime buzzer beater shot by Morgan William, the 5’5” Bulldogs junior.  The win ended the UConn Huskies record 111-game winning streak.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

2017 Most Important Moments in Sports edition: Moments #7, #6, and #5

#7 Aditi Ashok, the first Indian woman to win a Ladies European Tour (LET) title in 2016, repeated as a LET winner in 2017 by winning the Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Open.. Ashok also earned her Priority List Category 17 status for the 2017 LPGA Tour season. The 19-year-old also qualified for the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship on the LPGA, becoming the first from India to play in the prestigious meet. 

#6 Twenty-one years into the league, the WNBA has its second four-time champion with the Minnesota Lynx (the first was the Houston Comets, which won the league’s first four titles). Sylvia Fowles was named MVP for the Finals. 

#5 Serena Williams
continued her winning ways. In 2017, while eight weeks pregnant, Williams claimed her 23rd major singles title by defeating her sister Venus to capture her seventh Australian Open. Williams went the entire tournament without dropping a set.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

2017 Most Important Moments in Sports edition: Moments #10, #9, and #8

2017 ushered in three new members to the coveted Division I 1,000 Win Club, joining Pat Summitt (1,098-208) and Mike Krzyzewski (1,082-330). Tara VanDerveer of Stanford joined on February 3, 2017. Sylvia Hatchell of North Carolina, and Geno Auriemma of Connecticut both hit the mark on December 19, 2017. REAL SPORTS recognizes their achievements collectively for moments eight through ten.

Friday, December 23, 2016

REAL SPORTS magazine, The Authority in Women's Sports since 1997, unveils its 2016 selections for the Most Important Moments in Sports and Athlete of the Year.  In its 19th year of publishing, REAL SPORTS continues its tradition of highlighting the world of women's sports.

Monday, December 28, 2015

2015 Sportsperson of the Year and Most Important Moments in Sports

Publisher’s Note:

Maya Moore has been a thrill to watch over the years, and it’s an honor to celebrate her winning ways as this year’s REAL SPORTS Sportsperson of the Year.

This year’s Most Important Moment is the calling out of the inability of the WNBA to gain traction since its founding 19 years ago. The WNBA, as the most globally visible team sport, has yet to find its groove. The timing of Adam Silver’s comments deflated some, but if women’s sports fans are truly reflective, they will see the truth in his words. A fresh approach is needed to enable the WNBA to thrive on its own terms, where it can be a profitable league while also serving as a mission-driven organization.

View the 2015 Top 10 Most Important Moments in Sports and Tribute to Maya Moore, 
REAL SPORTS 2015 Sportsperson of the Year Poster

The next president will inherit a league that has lost its relevance to all but its most-staunch fans and one that is wrestling with the public words of Gilbert Arenas and non-spoken words of others.  The league needs to chart its own course with focused profitability and sustained growth. Doing so will require rebuilding the WNBA brand and fan engagement, if the league is truly destined to be relevant in the sports entertainment and lifestyle arena.

(C) ISI Photos by Steven Lineman
In closing, I also want to acknowledge and thank Abby Wambach for her outstanding career and congratulate her on her retirement.  2015 turned out to be the year the USWNT recaptured the Women’s World Cup and in doing so, Abby’s role on the team changed from the go to star to the elder stateswoman. As the all-tie goal scorer in international soccer for men or women with 184 goals, her impact though is measured across the 15 years that she played internationally.

All the best,
Amy Love

REAL SPORTS publishes this annual Most Important Moments in Sports edition and Sportsperson of the Year as a commitment to the history of women’s sports.  This nonprofit effort pays tribute to the passion exhibited by the 300,000 fans that engaged REAL SPORTS, The Authority in Women’s Sports, when it was a printed publication.