50 Women Who Broke New Ground in 2021   

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4Sports Sensations

Women's athletics was rich with new achievements in 2021. GOAT Simone Biles landed the daunting Yurchenko double pike — a move never before attempted by a woman in competition. Soccer player Carli Lloyd, at age 39, was the oldest woman to make the U.S. women's Olympics team. Diede de Groot is the first player to complete the golden slam in wheelchair tennis, which involves winning four majors and the Paralympic gold.

Kristen Hayden became the first Black woman to win a U.S. national senior diving title. Boxer Claressa Shields became the first fighter, man or woman, of the four-belt era to win an undisputed championship in two weight classes. Golfer Amy Bockerstette is the first person with Down syndrome to compete in a national collegiate athletic championship.

Jennifer King became the first Black female full-time coach in the NFL. Sarah Thomas was the first female referee to officiate a Super Bowl, and Maia Chaka became the first Black female official in the NFL. Lisa Byington is the first woman to be a full-time television play-by-play announcer for any major men’s professional sports team, with the Bucks.

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Written By

Julia Travers

Julia Travers is a writer who often covers social and cultural topics. Find her at NPR, Art News, YES! Magazine and other outlets. See Full Bio

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